London - Food addiction could be one of the reasons behind the rising number of individuals suffering from eating disorders and obesity, scientists have said.
Food is not included in the official diagnostic manual of addictive substances, but scientists believe excessive overeating shares many of the psychological characteristics associated with other addictions, such as gambling and compulsive stealing.
A project is under way to determine whether overeating can be categorised as a potentially addictive behaviour. This could lead to certain foods being classed as addictive, alongside alcohol and drugs, said Professor Julian Mercer of Aberdeen University.
“How and why food could be addictive is being explored to ascertain whether this is one of the reasons why people eat too much and develop obesity,” Mercer said.
In the next five years, the NeuroFast project will bring together experts from across Europe to determine if overeating should be treated similarly to other addictive behaviour.