Sign In
  • ENG

Impulsive behaviour may lead to food addiction

Impulsive behaviour may lead to food addiction

Written by Editorial Team |Published : January 28, 2014 2:57 PM IST

eating girlLike alcohol or other drugs, impulsive behaviour may lead some people to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

Researchers have found that people with impulsive personalities were more likely to report higher levels of food addiction - a compulsive pattern of eating that is similar to drug addiction - and may lead to obesity.

'The notion of food addiction is a very new one. We think it's possible to think about impulsivity, food addiction and obesity using some of the same techniques used for alcohol or other drugs,' said James MacKillop, associate professor of psychology at University of Georgia's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Also Read

More News

Certain types of food hijack brain circuits and lay the foundation for compulsive eating habits that are similar to drug addiction, he added.

The study used two methods to determine levels of food addiction and impulsivity among 233 participants.

Researchers then compared these results with each participant's body mass index, which is used to determine obesity.

'Our study shows that impulsive behaviour was not necessarily associated with obesity, but impulsive behaviours can lead to food addiction,' MacKillop said.

The research would help experts plan treatments and interventions for obese people who have developed an addiction to food, paving the way for a healthier lifestyle, said the study published in the journal Appetite.

Foods that are high in fat, sodium, sugar and other flavoured additives appear to produce cravings much like illicit drugs.

'We would now work to see how those intense cravings might play a role in the development of obesity,' added MacKillop.

Symptoms of food addiction

Food addiction affects an individual physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. The mere thought of food, availability of food or actually eating food gives them immense pleasure. Some symptoms which can be seen in food addicts are:

  • Reduced tolerance for food i.e. marked increase in the amounts of food consumed over time.
  • Intentional over-eating over a long period of time even when not hungry.
  • Pre-occupation with food and spending a lot of time/activity to purchase food or obtain food.
  • Persistent attempts at cutting down consumption of food that he/she is addicted to.
  • Eating when upset or depressed.
  • If food is not available, they show physiological or psychological withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in alcohol or tobacco withdrawal.
  • Avoiding social, recreational and professional gatherings in order to avoid foods being served at these gatherings.
  • Consumption of large amounts of food, even after knowing that it's not good for health.

With inputs from IANS.

For more articles on diseases and conditions, check out our diseases & conditions section and for videos, check out our YouTube Channel. Don't miss out on the latest updates. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

Total Wellness is now just a click away.

Follow us on