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Food Addiction May Have Impact on the Brain

Study Shows People With Food Addictions Have Same Brain Activity Patterns as People With Other Addictions

Second Opinion

The study is an important one, says Gold, who is the Donald R. Dizney Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida.

"There is a considerable amount of controversy about what a food addiction is," he says. "One of the reasons this study is so important is they are correlating findings with brain changes rather than someone's belief." The new research used a validated scale to assess the addiction objectively, he says.

To him, the bottom line of the new research is this: "The more food addicted, the more likely you are to have changes in the brain that look as though you are on a drug."

The study may help explain why some obese people who obtain treatments that focus on the physical -- such as weight loss surgery -- aren't helped, Gold tells WebMD.

For those who are food addicted, paying attention to food cues is crucial, Gearhardt says. "Monitor what triggers for you your out-of-control behavior.”

Changing your environment in a food-obsessed society is difficult, she says, but not impossible. If driving past your favorite bakery on your way to work is too much temptation, for instance, find a new route to work, she says.

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