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Eat Behav. 2015 Dec;19:98-101. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.07.005. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

Food craving as a mediator between addictive-like eating and problematic eating outcomes.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043, USA. Electronic address: majoyn@umich.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, 300 George Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is growing interest and debate about whether an addictive process contributes to problematic eating outcomes, such as obesity. Craving is a core component of addiction, but there has been little research on the relationship between addictive-like eating, craving, and eating-related concerns. In the current study, we examine the effect of both overall food craving and craving for different types of food on the relationship between addictive-like eating symptoms and elevated body mass index (BMI) and binge eating episodes.

METHODS:

In a community sample (n=283), we conducted analyses to examine whether overall craving mediated the association between addictive-like eating and elevated BMI, as well as binge eating frequency. We also ran separate mediational models examining the indirect effect of cravings for sweets, fats, carbohydrates, and fast food fats on these same associations.

RESULTS:

Overall food craving was a significant partial mediator in the relationships between addictive-like eating and both elevated BMI and binge eating episodes. Cravings for sweets and other carbohydrates significantly mediated the relationship between addictive-like eating and binge eating episodes, while cravings for fats significantly mediated the relationship between addictive-like eating and elevated BMI.

CONCLUSIONS:

Craving appears to be an important component in the pathway between addictive-like eating and problematic eating outcomes. The current results highlight the importance of further evaluating the role of an addictive process in problematic eating behaviors and potentially targeting food cravings in intervention approaches.

KEYWORDS:

BMI; Binge eating; Craving; Food addiction

PMID:
26262570
PMCID:
PMC4644434
DOI:
10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.07.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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