A commentary on the associations among 'food addiction', binge eating disorder, and obesity: Overlapping conditions with idiosyncratic clinical features

Appetite. 2017 Aug 1;115:3-8. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Nov 2.


This commentary discusses the evidence linking patterns of compulsive overeating, such as binge eating and grazing, with a putative psychopathological condition known commonly as 'food addiction'. It also addresses their distinctiveness as independent - albeit overlapping - clinical entities. Discussions focus largely on their respective clinical features and neuropsychobiological associations. Despite semantic issues about the appropriateness of the food-addiction label, there is accumulating evidence that some vulnerable individuals display addictive symptoms in relation to their consumption of certain highly rewarding foods. It is also argued in this paper that despite a positive relationship between obesity and addictive tendencies towards food, it is over-inclusive to model obesity as an addiction disorder, especially given the multi-faceted etiology and current pervasiveness of weight gain worldwide.

Keywords: Binge eating disorder; Food addiction; Grazing; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Food Addiction / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Reward