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.

The Advantages of a Mobile Application for Weight Loss

August 16, 2022
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In their study, Drs. Prelow and Glasner have shown that a smartphone application can short-circuit the displacement mechanism when used during peak stress.

What Is Drive-Reduction Theory?

July 18, 2022
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It seems that in its simplest form, drive-reduction theory has to do with physiological (bodily) needs. It’s more complicated though.

Displacement — Definitions and Examples

July 6, 2022
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Displacement behavior is a biobehavioral mechanism that allows an animal to deal with situations that cannot readily be faced, avoided, or thwarted.

Addiction and Consequences

June 8, 2022
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Addiction can foster some really twisted thinking, and people who are hooked on eating are no exception. Children are not exempt, either.

Shame and Guilt, Guilt and Shame

June 7, 2022
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Guilt is an arrow; shame is a thick obscuring fog. Guilt is objective and can be disproven; shame is subjective and can only be dispelled.

Similar Emotions, Different Results

June 6, 2022
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Guilt as an emotional “first responder” can be beneficial. It can serve as a “note to self” that behavior needs to be corrected.

Deep Emotions, Useful and Otherwise

June 3, 2022
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Shame can trigger a dependency on alcohol or drugs as a method of escape, which is no help when dependency on a substance is the underlying problem.

Painful Emotions Complicate the Problem

June 2, 2022
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Many people spend their lives drowning in guilt and shame about something or other, and that is a problem in itself.

Moral Factors in Addiction

June 1, 2022
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Maintaining an addiction will cause a person to give up the activities they used to care about unless purposes can be combined.

If It Isn’t Addiction, What Is It?

May 24, 2022
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We have been talking about the concepts of food addiction and eating addiction, and what a person might contribute to the likelihood of becoming addicted.

Happiness Quotient vs. Obesity, Continued

May 23, 2022
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Some countries have a fortunate genetic heritage that leaves their feel-good genes unfettered, making them happy countries. Let’s look at the inner workings.

Happiness Quotient vs. Obesity

May 20, 2022
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Do certain genes exert influence over a person’s likelihood of developing an addiction to food and/or eating? It does seem likely.

Feel-Good Genes and Addiction, Continued

May 19, 2022
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Heredity influences the body and brain to have certain attitudes and behaviors around food and eating. This is significant for many reasons.

What Goes On In There?

May 18, 2022
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What other substances and processes can influence our moods and cravings? And how does displacement behavior resemble addictive behavior?

Feel-Good Genes and Addiction

May 17, 2022
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As it turns out, the topic of genetics and the long-cherished hope of discovering “the” obesity gene might throw some light on this puzzle from another angle.

Inherency, Addiction, and People

May 16, 2022
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So, there can be several kinds of people: addicted but not obese; addicted and obese; obese but not addicted; neither obese and nor addicted.

Inherency and Food Addiction — Some Thoughts

May 13, 2022
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If treating eating addiction according to an addiction model is effective, it seems sensible to do that while still figuring out the big picture.

Inherency and Food Addiction and Factors

May 12, 2022
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One part of the multi-faceted conversation says that all or some foods can contain substances that act like hard drugs in the human body.

Inherency and Food Addiction — Oh No! More Wrinkles

May 11, 2022
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To what extent is the propensity to become food-addicted (or eating-addicted) inherent in the person?

Inherency and Food Addiction — More Wrinkles

May 10, 2022
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Let’s talk about overdoses of ingredients that may be fine in small amounts, like salt, plus a vast assortment of chemical additives.

Inherency and Food Addiction, a Wrinkle

May 9, 2022
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While there may be little evidence for the presence of addictive substances in natural foods, the food industry has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Inherency and Food Addiction, Some Interesting Points

May 6, 2022
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If some foods are addictive, why isn’t everyone hooked on them? In the realm of treatment, how do we get past the irrefutable fact that nobody can quit eating?

Inherency and Food Addiction, Continued

May 5, 2022
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There’s still no convincing proof that foods or food components should be considered addictive in the same sense as, for instance, cocaine.

Inherency and Food Addiction

May 4, 2022
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Debate continues about whether some foods can be addictive in the same sense as drugs or alcohol. Is the addictiveness inherent in the food or in the person?

Some Wrinkles in the Food Addiction Concept

May 3, 2022
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One belief is that what is called food addiction is actually a subset of drug addiction, but it’s not a blanket truth.

Different Schools of Thought

May 2, 2022
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By and large, it has been difficult to pinpoint addictive substances in the food itself, although, of course, some results have been quite clear.

Moderation Is or Is Not the Answer

April 29, 2022
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In discussions of food addiction and recovery, one of the first principles is moderation. However, some believe it works, and others say it is impossible.

Obesity and Addiction Debate Points

April 28, 2022
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We live in an environment that creates food addicts on purpose.

Obesity and Addiction Debates

April 27, 2022
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It appears to Dr. Pretlow, as well as to leaders in addiction science, that addiction and obesity both stem from one source.

Withdrawal’s Big Problems

April 26, 2022
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One school of thought holds that along with letting withdrawal happen, it is important to take active detox measures at the same time.

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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.

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