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What is the evidence that Food Addiction is real addiction to a substance?

Updated: Sep 4

Top 10 indications that evidence of food addiction matches evidence of other addictions


1. Neuro-functioning:

The brains of people who repeatedly eat processed foods are altered in similar ways. The dopamine and stress pathways are hyperactive while the learning, decision-making, memory, and restraint pathways not low functioning. This can be repaired.


2. Cue Reactivity:

Overeaters show a strong response to stimulation related to processed foods. Like other addictions, the brain floods with dopamine easily which is experienced at overwhelming cravings.


3. Cognitive Impairment:

Overeaters show diminished activity in learning, attention, decision-making, memory, restraint, and satiation pathways. This is similar to other addictions.


4. Pavlovian Learning:

The process by which the brain adapts to processed foods is similar to the process shown for addictive drugs. Cells ‘learn’ to release excessive dopamine in response to repeat exposure to substances and triggers.


5. and 6. Genetics and Epigenetics:

There are genetic similarities in over eaters to people who are vulnerable to developing drug addiction. However, environment has been shown to trigger the genetic dysfunction.


7. Conformance to DSM-5 Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Criteria:

Overeaters suffer characteristic similar to those of drug addicts. These include unintended use, failed attempts to cut-back, time spent, cravings, failure to fulfill roles, interpersonal problems, activities given up, physically hazardous use, use in spite of knowledge of consequences, progression, and withdrawal.


8. Behavioral Syndromes:

include poor impulse control, numbing, blaming, shame, denial, minimizing, normalizing, emotional avoidance, and relapse.


9. Muted Sense of Taste:

This occurs in both overeating of processed foods and in tobacco use.


10. Consequences:

evident of both food and drug addiction include physical illnesses, mental illness, financial difficulties, relationship problems, social problems, and employment problems.





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