Research: Relationship between Food Addiction and Obesity.

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Is there a relationship between food addiction, binge eating disorder, and obesity?

Obesity - Fat Belly
Obesity – Fat Belly

I have often wondered if there was a relationship between being a binge eater, food addiction, and obesity.  I reviewed the textbooks and many online references, and the publications are mixed.  Some say there is a relationship and others, explicitly, say that there is not or at a minimum that there is a limited connection between these three concerns.   Anything that highlights a connection is significant in that it indicates a need to avoid the temptation of bringing triggers that might induce a binge.    

Research published on 14 Aug 2017 in the Journal of Behavioral Science looked at data from a questionnaire​[1]​The objective of this study was to determine the overlapping features of binge eating disorder and food addiction through a comparison of the individual scales of commonly used tools including the Binge Eating Scale and the Yale Food Addiction Scale.  This study demonstrated the overlap between binge eating disorder and food addiction.  The study also highlighted the possible unique differences between the forms of disordered eating.  Rates of food addiction among those with binge eating disorder is higher in individuals with obesity than in those who are not obese

The bottom line:  This study is one of the first investigations to look for potential overlap between these commonly used tools.  There appears to be a significant relationship between binge eating disorder and food addiction. Food cravings appear to be an important consideration when looking at weight loss or gain, particularly when someone is having lower than expected success with weight loss.  Approaches that might effectively target food cravings hold significant implications for advancing public health and clinical concerns relating to overeating.  More research is needed.  

[1]Burrows et al., “Food Addiction, Binge Eating Disorder, and Obesity: Is There a Relationship?”


  1. Burrows, Tracy, Janelle Skinner, Rebecca McKenna, and Megan Rollo. “Food Addiction, Binge Eating Disorder, and Obesity: Is There a Relationship?” Behavioral Sciences 7, no. 3 (August 14, 2017): 54. doi: 10.3390/bs7030054
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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