• Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular Clinical Consult
  • Adult Immunization
  • Hepatic Disease
  • Rare Disorders
  • Pediatric Immunization
  • Implementing The Topcon Ocular Telehealth Platform
  • Weight Management
  • Monkeypox
  • Guidelines
  • Men's Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Allergy
  • Nutrition
  • Women's Health
  • Cardiology
  • Substance Use
  • Pediatrics
  • Kidney Disease
  • Genetics
  • Complimentary & Alternative Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Oral Medicine
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases
  • Pain
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Geriatrics
  • Infection
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatology
  • Technology
  • Cancer
  • Nephrology
  • Anemia
  • Neurology
  • Pulmonology

Highly Processed Food is Produced to Be as Rewarding as Humanly Possible, Says Food Addiction Expert


"People don't seem to really lose control of foods that are naturally sweet, like fruit, or high in natural fats, like salmon, in quite the same way that they do with the foods that are manmade, engineered, and often industrially produced to be as rewarding as humanly possible."

Most people, said Ashley Gearhardt, PhD, associate professor of psychology in the clinical science area at the University of Michigan, aren't triggered to overeat foods that don't contain rapidly absorbed refined carbohydrates and fats. It's the "highly processed" foods that, for some people, seem to have a reward effect in the brain that is comparable to that seen with alcohol or nicotine.

Gearhardt, the developer of the Yale Food Addiction Scale, and lead investigator of a new study on addictive eating behavior in adults aged 50 to 80 years, spoke with Patient Care® about the definition of highly processed foods and the particular dangers of addictive food behaviors in the older adult population.

Gearhardt's lab at the University of Michigan (U-M) teamed with the National Poll on Healthy Aging, based at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and under the direction of Jeffery Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH, to look more closely at a population rarely included in research on food addiction. The National Poll on Healthy Aging (NPHA) surveys are fielded twice per year using a sample of approximately 2,000 respondents aged 50 to 80 years drawn from a nationally representative probability-based panel of U.S. households. The NPHA is supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M's academic medical center, in Ann Arbor.

More from the Patient Care conversation with Drs Gearhardt and Kullgren:

When is a Nacho Like Cocaine? Author of the Yale Food Addiction Scale Explains

PCP Perspective: Should Primary Care Add Screening for Food Addiction to the To-Do List?

One in 8 Older US Adults Meet Criteria for Food Addiction: Experts Explain

Subclinical Food Addiction Common Among Older Adults, Women Twice as Vulnerable as Men: Expert Interview

For more information:

Food and Addiction Science and Treatment Lab (Dr Gearhardt's lab)

The Yale Food Addiction Scale

The National Poll on Healthy Aging

Related Videos
New Research Amplifies Impact of Social Determinants of Health on Cardiometabolic Measures Over Time
Where Should SGLT-2 Inhibitor Therapy Begin? Thoughts from Drs Mikhail Kosiborod and Neil Skolnik
Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.