(Tribune Newspapers) [Kathleen] Callahan is one of a small but growing number of Americans who believe that some foods exert an addictive pull on them, and that eliminating problem foods is a better solution than traditional "moderation." Using the eating plan in the best-selling book "Eat to Live," which eliminates or severely restricts foods such as doughnuts and pizza and consists mainly of vegetables, fruits and beans, she has lost 60 pounds, she says, and gained control of her eating…
The science of food addiction has made rapid strides in recent years, with University of Florida College of Medicine assistant professor Nicole Avena and her colleagues showing that rats that binge repeatedly on sugar behave much like rats addicted to morphine or alcohol, exhibiting symptoms of bingeing, tolerance and withdrawal.
A 2001 study published in the Lancet found that obese people have abnormalities in brain dopamine activity similar to those seen in cocaine, alcohol and opiate addicts. And a subsequent study published in 2011 in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that that people with higher food addiction scores respond to pictures of a chocolate milkshake with more activity in brain regions associated with motivation to eat and less activation in brain regions linked with self-control.
Scientists also note the anecdotal evidence that food has addictive aspects.[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]