top of page

The concept of "Food Addiction" has been based on criteria of Substance Use Disorder. Several studies suggested a relationship between food addiction and eating disorders, but little is known about its extent or role. We aim at exploring if food addiction is coincident with a specific eating disorder (binge eating disorder appears the closest)or it is a separate diagnostic entity that afflicts in comorbidity with eating disorders or other conditions like obesity or even in the general population.



Our data show that the prevalence of food addiction in binge eating disorder is higher than in other eating disorders except in bulimia nervosa. Moreover, it is a separate diagnostic reality and can be detected in people without mental illness and in the general population. Food addiction might have a prognostic value, since in comorbidity, and should be addressed to boost treatment efficacy and patient’s recovery.

Food addiction is a reality that gained more and more attention in the last years. Our work provides important evidences that FA is a separate entity from different eating disorders and afflicts each of them to a different degree. Some authors hypothesize that food addiction could have a prognostic value [26] and results from this systematic review allow the possibility to credit food addiction as worsening a comorbid eating disorder As a consequence, we strongly encourage the evaluation of the presence of food addiction in patients with eating disorders as well as in those with obesity to tailor their treatment with greater precision and address all the components that may influence patient’s response to treatment and his/her outcomes.

Disentangling binge eating disorder and food addiction:

Ester di Giacomo, Francesca Aliberti, Francesca Pescatore, Mario Santorelli, Rodolfo Pessina, Valeria Placenti, Fabrizia Colmegna & Massimo Clerici

This systematic review and meta-analysis analyzed observational studies with a comparative estimation on rates of subjects affected by binge eating disorder and food addiction.


Sample Size


Binge eating disorder shows higher comorbidity with food addiction compared to other eating disorders (OR = 1.33, 95% CI, 0.64–2.76; c2 = 4.42; p = 0.44;I2 = 0%), or each eating disorder [anorexia nervosa purging type (OR = 1.93, 95% CI, 0.20–18.92; p = 0.57) and restrictive type (OR = 8.75, 95% CI, 1.08–70.70; p = 0.04)], obese patients (OR = 5.72, 95% CI, 3.25–10.09; p =  < 0.0001) and individuals from the general population (OR = 55.41, 95% CI, 8.16–376.10; c2 = 18.50; p < 0.0001; I2 = 0%)but has decreased prevalence when compared to bulimia nervosa (OR = 0.85, 95% CI, 0.33–2.22; c2 = 0.35; p = 0.74; I2 = 0%).


Key Words

di Giacomo, Ester, et al. “Disentangling Binge Eating Disorder and Food Addiction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, vol. 27, no. 6, Aug. 2022, pp. 1963–70. Springer Link,


bottom of page