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Food Addiction Does Exist

Update Date: Jun 12, 2014 07:16 PM EDT

Food addiction really does exist, according to researchers.

Scientists from the University of Luxembourg found that food addicts lack psychological inhibition. The latest study revealed that women with weight problems were more impulsive than their average counterparts.

Besides lacking contemplative will power, tests using images revealed that food addicts were also more stimulated by pictures of food.

"All addictions are similar in that the sufferer craves to excess the feel-good buzz they receive from chemical neurotransmitters produced when they eat, gamble, smoke, have sex or take drugs," lead researcher Claus Voegele, Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Luxembourg, said in a news release.

In the study images of fatty or sweet food (a burger, cake, pizza etc.) and non-food items (a sock, a mug, a shoe etc.) were flashed at random on a computer screen. Participants were asked to click as fast as possible on either the food or non-food pictures. The findings revealed that women with weight problems performed significantly worse than average.

Researchers noted that many women with weight problems reported that the test had triggered food cravings. This was true regardless of how recently they had eaten.

"This suggests that some people may have an instinctive, psychological predisposition to binge eating," Voegele said.

"People may over-eat to comfort themselves, because they are bored or just out of habit," he concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

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