The addiction potential of hyperpalatable foods

Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2011 Sep;4(3):140-5. doi: 10.2174/1874473711104030140.


Scientific interest in "food addiction" continues to grow due both to neurobiological and behavioral similarities between substance dependence and excessive food consumption. An important next step is to examine the addictive potential of highly processed foods. In this paper, we explore addiction-related changes in the modern food environment (e.g., increased potency, elevated speed of absorption), examine the historical and modern understanding of addictive substances as applied to hyperpalatable foods, and outline shared factors that increase the public health costs of both addictive drugs and certain foods.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Food / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*