Diet and opiate addiction: a quantitative assessment of the diet of non-institutionalized opiate addicts

Br J Addict. 1989 Feb;84(2):173-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1989.tb00566.x.


The diet, weight and height of 38 non-institutionalized chronic opiate addicts have been assessed and compared to those of a random sample of the 20-35 year old general population of Canton Geneva, Switzerland. A history questionnaire was administered by specially trained dietitians. Results show that, after adjustment for age and alcohol intake, male addicts have the same caloric intake as non-addicts. However, addicts tend to replace foods that are rich in fat and proteins with foods rich in sucrose and relatively poor in vitamins and minerals. Beer is the major component of their much larger alcohol consumption. On the other hand, the body mass index (kg/m2) of the male addicts is within the normal range, suggesting this may not be a good indicator of their unbalanced diet. This study gives a quantitative assessment, in terms of nutrient intake, of the typical craving for sweet described by opiate addicts.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Opioid-Related Disorders*
  • Opium*
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Switzerland


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Sucrose
  • Opium