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“Food Addiction A Myth”

Food addiction is a concept that researchers use to describe compulsive eating habits in humans, which may resemble addiction-like behaviors. However, there is no universally accepted clinical definition of “food addiction,” and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not list it as a condition. Some researchers propose food addiction as a potential underlying cause of obesity in the U.S. and liken it to the addictive behaviors that people with substance abuse often display. Environmental cues, which include the sight, smell, and even appearance of foods, may trigger food cravings. Research indicates that some individuals may be more likely than others to experience addiction to palatable foods — meaning foods that are high in fat and sugar. Researchers have identified some behaviors associated with this concept. These include compulsive overeating, even in the absence of hunger; cravings for high fat and sugary foods; difficulty in controlling food intake; and binge eating and disordered eating patterns. Data from 2009, 2011, 2016, 2018, and 2019, among others, have highlighted that palatable foods — or even foods in general — stimulate the same parts of the brain and share the same neuronal activities as illicit substances.

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