This review summarizes evidence of "food addiction" using animal models of binge eating. In our model of sucrose bingeing, behavioral components of addiction are demonstrated and related to neurochemical changes that also occur with addictive drugs. Evidence supports the hypothesis that rats can become dependent and "addicted" to sucrose. Results obtained when animals binge on other palatable foods, including a fat-rich food, are described and suggest that increased body weight can occur. However, the characterization of an addiction-like behavioral profile in animals with binge access to fat requires further exploration in order to dissociate the effect of increased body weight from the diet or schedule of feeding.
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