In a world where the use of food is no longer restricted to survival needs, but rather expands to pleasure-related ones, researchers explain, and try to affirm a new etiology of hedonic and emotional overeating, binge eating, and obesity: food addiction.
Characterized by an increased appetite for palatable food, and a total loss of control over one’s eating behavior, food addiction leads to a state of pleasure and comfort. That known, it is caused by three major factors: the effect of food on the brain, emotional condition and environmental ones. According to neurobiological studies, researchers point out that food can be just like drugs and alcohol, a very powerful stimulator and modulator of the neuronal pathway of reward. In addition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V –Text Revision (DSM V-TR) affirms that features of binge eating disorder overlap with criteria for substance dependence.
The elemental behavior in a food addiction is a loss of control which is manifested by either more frequent and/or larger meals .Foods identified as having potential addictive properties include sweets, carbohydrates, fats, sweet/fat combinations, and possibly processed and/or high salt foods.
Reference: Zhanga Y. et al. Food Adiction and Neuroimaging.Current Pharmaceutical Design 2011;17:12