Food Addiction and Bulimia Nervosa: New Data Based on the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0

Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2016 Nov;24(6):518-522. doi: 10.1002/erv.2470. Epub 2016 Aug 30.


Previous research on 'food addiction' as measured with the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) showed a large overlap between addiction-like eating and bulimia nervosa. Most recently, a revised version of the YFAS has been developed according to the changes made in the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition. The current study examined prevalence and correlates of the YFAS2.0 in individuals with bulimia (n = 115) and controls (n = 341). Ninety-six per cent of participants with bulimia and 14% of controls received a YFAS2.0 diagnosis. A higher number of YFAS2.0 symptoms was associated with lower interoceptive awareness, higher depressiveness, and higher impulsivity in both groups. However, a higher number of YFAS2.0 symptoms was associated with higher body mass and weight suppression in controls only and not in participants with bulimia. The current study is the first to show a large overlap between bulimia and 'food addiction' as measured with the YFAS2.0, replicating and extending findings from studies, which used the previous version of the YFAS. Compensatory weight control behaviours in individuals with bulimia likely alleviate the association between addiction-like eating and higher body mass. Thus, the large overlap between bulimia and 'food addiction' should be taken into consideration when examining the role of addiction-like eating in weight gain and obesity. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Keywords: Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale; Yale Food Addiction Scale; bulimia nervosa; food addiction; impulsivity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Body Weight
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Quality of Life
  • Weight Gain