Title: Body Mass Index and Alcohol Consumption: Family History of Alcoholism as a Moderator
Creator: Gearhardt, A., & Corbin, W
Subject: Addiction, Food
Description: Recent research suggests that excess food consumption may be conceptualized as an addictive behavior. Much of the evidence comes from neurobiological similarities between drug and food consumption. In addition, an inverse relation between alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI) has been observed. Previous research has hypothesized that this inverse relation is attributable to competition between food and alcohol for similar neurotransmitter receptors. The current study explored this neurobiological hypothesis further by examining the influence of an indicator of biological risk associated with alcohol problems (family history of alcoholism) on the relationship between alcohol and food intake. Data from 37,259 participants in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) were included in the study. BMI, family history of alcoholism, gender, and race/ethnicity were assessed as predictors of typical drinking frequency and estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). An inverse relationship between alcohol consumption and BMI was demonstrated. An attenuation of family history effects on drinking behavior was evident for obese compared to nonobese participants. The results suggest a neurobiological link between alcohol use and food consumption, consistent with theories characterizing excess food consumption as an addictive behavior.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Source: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 2009, Vol. 23, No. 2
Title: Food Addiction An Examination of the Diagnostic Criteria for Dependence
Creator: Ashley N. Gearhardt, MS, William R. Corbin, PhD, and Kelly D. Brownell, PhD
Subject: Food, Addiction, Overeating, Obesity
Description: The evidence for food’s addictive properties is steadily growing. In addition to clinical and evolutionary plausibility, the possibility of addiction to food is supported by animal model research and increasingly by research with humans. Much as classic drugs of abuse “hijack” the brain, accumulating evidence with food suggests a similar impact, but with weaker effects. Although neurobiological evidence for food addiction is compelling, dependence as conceptualized with respect to alcohol and other drugs of abuse is fundamentally a behavioral disorder. Thus, we review the current state of food addiction research in the context of each of the diagnostic criterion for dependence (ie, tolerance, withdrawal, loss of control) and briefly explore other relevant addiction topics such as expectancies, reinforcement, and incentive salience. There is substantial evidence that some people lose control over their food consumption, suffer from repeated failed attempts to reduce their intake, and are unable to abstain from certain types of food or reduce consumption in the face of negative consequences. Although there is some evidence for other dependence criterion, further research is needed to examine tolerance and withdrawal to high-fat sweets, time spent in obtaining, using, and recovering from excess food consumption and the degree to which important activities are given up due to overconsumption. As science continues forward and both the public and elected leaders become aware that food may trigger an addictive process, this information will likely be used to inform policy. Thus, researchers need to carefully consider the implications of their work and the way in which the results may be interpreted.
Publisher: American Society of Addiction Medicine
Source: Journal of Addictive Medicine 2009, Vol. 3, No. 1
Title: Preliminary Validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale
Creator: Ashley N. Gearhardt, William R. Corbin, Kelly D. Brownell
Subject: Addiction, Food, Scale development, Obesity
Description: Previous research has found similarities between addiction to psychoactive substances and excessive food consumption. Further exploration is needed to evaluate the concept of ‘‘food addiction,’’ as there is currently a lack of psychometrically validated measurement tools in this area. The current study represents a preliminary exploration of the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), designed to identify those exhibiting signs of addiction towards certain types of foods (e.g., high fat and high sugar). Survey data were collected from 353 respondents from a stratified random sample of young adults. In addition to the YFAS, the survey assessed eating pathology, alcohol consumption and other health behaviors. The YFAS exhibited adequate internal reliability, and showed good convergent validity with measures of similar constructs and good discriminant validity relative to related but dissimilar constructs. Additionally, the YFAS predicted binge-eating behavior above and beyond existing measures of eating pathology, demonstrating incremental validity. The YFAS is a sound tool for identifying eating patterns that are similar to behaviors seen in classic areas of addiction. Further evaluation of the scale is needed, especially due to a low response rate of 24.5% and a non-clinical sample, but confirmation of the reliability and validity of the scale has the potential to facilitate empirical research on the concept of ‘‘food addiction’’.
Source: Appetite 2009, Vol. 52, No. 2
Title: Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward
Creator: Magalie Lenoir, Fuschia Serre, Lauriane Cantin, Serge H. Ahmed
Description: Refined sugars (e.g., sucrose, fructose) were absent in the diet of most people until very recently in human history. Today overconsumption of diets rich in sugars contributes together with other factors to drive the current obesity epidemic. Overconsumption of sugar-dense foods or beverages is initially motivated by the pleasure of sweet taste and is often compared to drug addiction. Though there are many biological commonalities between sweetened diets and drugs of abuse, the addictive potential of the former relative to the latter is currently unknown.
Publisher: PLoS ONE
Source: PLoS ONE, Issue 8
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