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Food Addiction Institute
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Research on the concept of food addiction (FA) has steadily grown and, based on a widely used self-report, FA is estimated to affect between 16–20% of the adult population. However, there are few interventions available for people with self-reported FA, and their efficacy is unclear. The primary aim of the review was to examine the efficacy of different interventions, including behavioural/lifestyle, medication and surgical approaches, for reducing symptoms and/or changing diagnosis of FA among adolescents and adults. A secondary aim was to examine the influence of sex as a moderator of intervention effects. A systematic search was performed from 2008–2020 to identify studies that used the YFAS to assess the effectiveness of interventions on FA. Nine studies were identified (n = 7 adults, n = 2 adolescents) including a total of 812 participants (range 22–256) with an average of 69% females per study. The types of interventions included medications (n = 3) , lifestyle modification (n = 3), surgical (n = 2) and behavioural (n = 1), with FA being assessed as a secondary outcome in all studies. Five studies in adults reported a significant reduction in FA symptoms or diagnosis from pre to post-intervention, two when compared to a control group and three in the intervention group only. Efficacious interventions included: medication (combination of naltrexone and bupropion, as well as pexacerfont), bariatric surgery and lifestyle modification. No significant changes in FA were reported in adolescent studies. Given few studies were identified by the review, there is insufficient evidence to provide clear recommendations for practice; however, some interventions show potential for reducing self-reported FA outcomes in adults. Future research should explore the longer-term efficacy of interventions and the effectiveness of treatments with sufficient sample sizes.
Food addiction is an emerging area of both clinical and research interest. The current review discussed several definitional and conceptual categorisations that have been put forth to quantify food addiction. However, the YFAS 2·0 concept predominates the literature. Similarly, evidence shows some similarities of food addiction with established eating disorders, particularly BED. Thus, the current review supports two main areas of contention that warrant much more research; considering food addiction as a substance-related addiction or a behavioural-related addiction and if food addiction is distinct from established eating disorders. Further research is needed to continue to delineate and clarify controversies about similarities and differences in food addiction with other concepts and established disorders.
Considering Food Addiction through a cultural lens (2021)
Leary M, Pursey KM, Verdejo-Garcia A, Burrows TL. Current Intervention Treatments for Food Addiction: A Systematic Review. Behav Sci (Basel). 2021 May 23;11(6):80. PMID: 34071059
Considering Food Addiction through a cultural lens (2021)

Response to treatment

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