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ISRN Obes. 2013 May 15;2013:435027. doi: 10.1155/2013/435027. eCollection 2013.

From passive overeating to "food addiction": a spectrum of compulsion and severity.

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1
Kinesiology & Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, York University, 343 Bethune College, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3.

Abstract

A psychobiological dimension of eating behaviour is proposed, which is anchored at the low end by energy intake that is relatively well matched to energy output and is reflected by a stable body mass index (BMI) in the healthy range. Further along the continuum are increasing degrees of overeating (and BMI) characterized by more severe and more compulsive ingestive behaviours. In light of the many similarities between chronic binge eating and drug abuse, several authorities have adopted the perspective that an apparent dependence on highly palatable food-accompanied by emotional and social distress-can be best conceptualized as an addiction disorder. Therefore, this review also considers the overlapping symptoms and characteristics of binge eating disorder (BED) and models of food addiction, both in preclinical animal studies and in human research. It also presents this work in the context of the modern and "toxic" food environment and therein the ubiquitous triggers for over-consumption. We complete the review by providing evidence that what we have come to call "food addiction" may simply be a more acute and pathologically dense form of BED.

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