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Food Addiction is Real: Study

By Steven Hogg- 19 Jun '14 10:41AM
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  • Food Addiction is Real
  • (Photo : Flickr) Food Addiction is Real

Food addicts cannot dodge their cravings to eat more, finds a study.

Scientists from the University of Luxembourg found food addiction is real and typically affects women who are overweight. Their study involved female participants with normal body weight and obesity who were shown images of delicious food items and non-food objects like mug, shoes and socks. The subjects had to click on images the moment it appeared on the screen and underwent this psychology test soon after eating lunch and three hours later.

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The food images triggered impulsive responses in overweight women and their performance in the test was poorer that of than healthy weight subjects. These participants reported feeling hungry just by looking at food images irrespective how recently they had eaten their lunch or were completely satiated.

"This suggests that some people may have an instinctive, psychological predisposition to binge eating," said Claus Voegele, study author and professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Luxembourg in a news release.

Obesity is a serious health disorder that is linked to a variety of diseases like diabetes, heart problems, diabetes, blood pressure and cancer. Excessive eating or food addiction and poor eating habits increase the risk of these conditions.

People suffering from any form of addiction feel good due by the chemical responses received in brain's neurotransmitters after satisfying their desire to over-indulge in eating, gambling, smoking and taking drugs. Food addicts particularly feel excited by looking at food and lack fortitude to suppress their cravings.  

The authors added behaviors like eating food out of habit or strict control over the intake of fatty substances can give rise to binge eating disorders and anorexia nervosa, respectively.  They believe both nature and nurture contribute to the condition.

This research is published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

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