By Dr Ashley Gearhardt
Webinar recorded Thursday March 29
The idea of “food addiction” has been around since the 19th century, but scientific and public interest in this concept has grown alongside our rapidly changing food environment. Evidence is emerging that the highly processed and rewarding foods in our food supply may have an addictive potential, however this is a controversial concept. Eating disorder and addiction perspectives overlap in many domains (e.g., the importance of emotion regulation, the importance of craving), yet there are also important areas of disagreement. This presentation will provide an outline of the addiction perspective, review current evidence and gaps in the literature regarding the role of addictive processes in eating behavior, and finish with a discussion of treatment implications.
Ashley Gearhardt, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan and Director of the Food and Addiction Science and Treatment Lab. She also earned her B.A. in psychology from The University of Michigan as an undergraduate. While working on her doctorate in clinical psychology at Yale University,
Dr. Gearhardt became interested in the possibility that certain foods may be capable of triggering an addictive process. To explore this further, she developed the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) to operationalize addictive eating behaviors, which has recently been linked with more frequent binge eating episodes in clinical populations, increased prevalence of obesity and patterns of neural activation implicated in other addictive behaviors. She has published over 60 academic articles and her research has been featured on media outlets, such as ABC News, Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR.