Book claims food can be as addictive as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol

By on October 4th, 2012

About two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which has spurred awareness of food addiction around the country. But a new book claims food can be just as addictive as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

“Food and Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook” is the first book to compile academic essays describing the science behind this controversial eating disorder.  

Yale public health and policy researcher Kelly Brownell, the book’s primary editor, brought together experts in nutrition, addiction, psychology, epidemiology and public health to review their individual research and publish their findings. The book posits that certain foods hijack the brain in ways similar to drugs and alcohol, and that the effect is sufficiently strong to contribute to major diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Food addiction is already a subject of ongoing research at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute. Mark Gold, who co-edited the book with Brownell, is an addiction expert and a professor at UF’s College of Medicine. He said specialists are beginning to investigate the problem of food addiction after brain imaging studies and multidisciplinary research supported the fact that food addiction is a serious issue.

Gold said the nation is enveloped in a ‘globesity’ epidemic – a global obesity epidemic – and that public health approaches and preventions are necessary. He added that looking at food, drugs, alcohol and addictive substances the same way makes it easier to treat food addiction tendencies.

“If we develop brain imaging models and laboratory models that show the similarities between food and drugs, then we should be able to make treatments that are used for drug abuse and apply them to food addicts,” Gold said.

George Pappas edited this story online. 


This entry was posted in Health and Science, National, Technology, University of Florida and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

More Stories in Health and Science

Photo by Sarah Kimbro.

CDC Hopes This Year’s Flu Shots Will Be More Effective

Experts predict that this year’s flu shot will be more effective at combatting the flu strain than in year’s past. They recommend visiting clinics or local drug stores to get vaccinated in early October, before the peak of flu season.

Dorothy Mitchell (far right) listens to Herman Hale, the director of nursing at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County, explain that keeping the 911 dispatcher on the phone while administering CPR can help them best assess the situation before they arrive. The Florida Department of Health partnered with several organizations to train citizens and employees of Florida counties in Hands-Only CPR.

Marion County Offers Free Hands-Only CPR Training

Marion County is one of 67 counties offering free Hands-On CPR training through the Florida Department of Health for World Heart Day. Partnering with the American Heart Association, the goal is to raise awareness of heart disease and shed light on how CPR can double or even triple the survival rate of a victim.

Peanut Corporation Owner Faces Life Sentence For Salmonella Outbreak

Steve Parnell, the owner of the Peanut Corporation of America was sentenced to 28 years in prison due to a salmonella outbreak. The outbreak was due to the company not following food sanitation rules, said Keith Schneider, a professor in UF’s College of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Flavored Hand Sanitizers Dangers

Hand Sanitizer Leads to Increased Cases of Alcohol Poisoning

Hand sanitizer is supposed to stop people from getting sick from the flu, but small children are becoming sick from drinking the stuff, which smells good and comes in bright colors that appeal to them.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Guide Helps Transgender Community Connect With Health Care Providers

A new comprehensive guide published by TransAction Florida seeks to connect members of the transgender community with qualified doctors and other health care providers and resources.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments