Category: Food Addiction

The food addiction paradigm is a primary cause of the childhood and adult obesity epidemic. Highly pleasurable foods, such as junk food and fast food, can be addictive. Posts in this section explore food addiction and its impact on obesity.

Thousand-Pound Sisters

March 30, 2021
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Sister Amy and Tammy Slaton became known in 2014 by taking part in the “Chubby Bunny Challenge.” Then they became stars of a TV reality show, “1000-Lb Sisters.”

‘Tis the Season to be Traumatized

December 24, 2020
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Let’s face it, for some people, having a less social holiday season this year could be a much-needed respite.

Government Alarm and Even Weirder Mukbang

December 11, 2020
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Just when it seemed that mukbang could not get any more bizarre, a new wrinkle appeared, featuring only the sound effects of eating for ASMR devotees.

Another Facet of Mukbang, Continued

December 10, 2020
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There are aural experiences that some people would do anything to escape, but others willingly listen to sounds that would send a misophone into a straitjacket.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Hand in Hand, Obesity and COVID-19

October 23, 2020
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One of the things the coronavirus does is force people to eat highly processed, nutritionally impoverished junk, even when they know better and don’t want to.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Holiday Excess vs. COVID-19

October 15, 2020

The pandemic might have one good effect, namely, reducing the amount of candy eaten around Halloween and thus helping fight childhood obesity.

Diets, Dieting, and a Best Diet?

October 13, 2020
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The ideal diet is said to be the Mediterranean diet, which consists of fish, along with plant-based foods and extra-virgin olive oil.

Food and Diets

October 12, 2020
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Your diet is whatever you happen to eat. Instead of “dieting” based on reducing calorie intake, eating healthy might be more effective.

Calories and Junk Food

October 9, 2020
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One contributing factor to the obesity epidemic is society’s refusal to acknowledge that fat, sugar, and salt can be as addictive as drugs.

When Is a Calorie Not a Calorie?

October 5, 2020

Not all calories are created equal, and other nutrition myths debunked.

Ultra-Processed Foods Are Frowned Upon

October 2, 2020
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A calorie is not just an energy unit, and all calories are not created equal. The evidence continues to pile up.

The Caloric Conundrum

September 28, 2020

The fetishization of calories by generations of weight-conscious eaters seems to have brought disaster. Even with the help of fancy technology, people just don’t seem able to keep energy consumption on a leash. There is a happy medium between compulsiv …

Did the World Really Need This Children’s Cookbook?

September 11, 2020
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What were the authors thinking? It is irresponsible to promote highly pleasurable foods in the midst of a global childhood obesity epidemic.

Pets Count on Us to Keep Them Healthy

August 28, 2020
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Pet obesity might serve as an ideal test bed for the treatment and prevention of child obesity, with focus primarily on parental behaviors.

European and International Congress on Obesity Goes Virtual

August 27, 2020
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Dr. Pretlow presents “The displacement mechanism: a new explanation and treatment for obesity” at the upcoming European and International Congress on Obesity.

American Society of Animal Science Reminder

July 9, 2020
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Like humans, pets eat in response to stress, and exhibit eating-related behaviors that look very much like addiction.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Cross-Addiction Creep

June 5, 2020
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Impacted by food shortages and isolation, some people who suffer from eating disorders are adopting new displacement behaviors as vessels for their anxiety.

Coronavirus Chronicles — It’s Hard to Maintain

June 4, 2020
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In the course of struggling with food issues during the pandemic, someone who never before experienced an alcohol or drug problem could develop one.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Displacement Is Substitution

June 3, 2020

Displacement activity occurs in many forms, of which eating is one. But what happens when there just isn’t any food?

Coronavirus Chronicles — People Still Confined and Troubled

June 2, 2020
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No two people have quite the same eating disorder. There are a thousand ways to suffer, and a thousand ways to cope — most of them detrimental.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Stuck at Home Inside Your Head

June 1, 2020
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For someone struggling with substance abuse isolation and boredom are very hazardous conditions, and recovery could be a matter of life or death.

Coronavirus Chronicles — The Curse of Uncertainty

May 29, 2020

It is a truism that a person can tolerate just about anything, if they know how long it will last. With COVID-19, we just don’t know the end point.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Uncertainty and Responsibility

May 22, 2020
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When relative isolation is combined with food insecurity or an eating disorder, things can really go haywire.

Coronavirus Chronicles — When Shelves Are Empty

May 21, 2020
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With the world swamped by a disease whose details are not yet fully understood, the circumstances are tailor-made to foster orthorexia.

Emotional Mastery, a Matter of Time

May 12, 2020
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When we experience unpleasant emotions, fighting or running away isn’t always possible — but displacement activities, like overeating, are.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Some Dark Expectations

May 11, 2020
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As the way we buy food keeps changing along with availability of certain types of food, how will the pandemic ultimately affect the way we eat?

Coronavirus Chronicles — Are We Really on Our Own?

May 8, 2020
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When food is available but the future is unclear binge eating and overeating are the maladaptations to watch out for.

Coronavirus Chronicles — The Bottom Part of the Iceberg

May 6, 2020
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Serious challenges are evident, as people stuck in isolation struggle with a wide variety of troublesome circumstances while dealing with eating disorders.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Food Insecurity, Just the Tip of the Iceberg

May 5, 2020

Unharvested food; food wasted in the broken supply chain; empty supermarket and pantry shelves; long lines of hungry Americans at the food banks, and on and on.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Eating E-Commerce; and a Classic Dish

April 30, 2020

Currently, for many Americans online grocery shopping had become a necessity, but the infrastructure (both digital and physical) simply isn’t there.

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources