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.

CBT, iCBT, and Virtual Reality in the Battle Against Eating Addiction

July 17, 2024
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the most effective treatment for eating addiction, has been enhanced with iCBT and Virtual Reality.

A Vagus Nerve Review

June 25, 2024
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The vagus nerve connects the brain to the heart, lungs, digestive tract, and several other entities. Why is it so important?

A Birds-Eye View of BED

June 20, 2024
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Here’s an overview of the current treatment options for Binge Eating Disorder, including a perspective on which approaches are likely to be most effective.

Beware the Coax Coach

June 18, 2024
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Many holidays share common traits, such as being the occasion of much overconsumption of not only food but other substances.

Everything You Know About Binge Eating Is Wrong

June 13, 2024
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Binge Eating Disorder sufferers tend to have very little insight into what drives them, or how to bring their self-sabotage to an end.

A Very Heterogeneous Group

May 23, 2024
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Dr. Meule warns about making unwarranted assumptions about certain eating disorders and their relation to classically-framed addiction.

How GLP-1 Medications Are Changing Consumer Habits and Industry Dynamics

May 1, 2024
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The rise of GLP-1 medications is reshaping consumer habits and posing challenges to various sectors of the food and beverage industry.

Tempest in a Very Large Teapot

March 7, 2024
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Learn more about the voluntary demotion of superstar Oprah Winfrey from her almost decade-long seat as a Weight Watchers board member.

Landmark — Junk Food Legally Defined

March 5, 2024
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There’s a proven correlation between increasing child obesity and the ever-mounting abundance of ultra-processed foods in stores and family kitchens.

Relating to the Classics

February 29, 2024
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One might think the synergy between sporting events and recreational eating could not go back much further, but one would be mistaken.

Like a Horse and Carriage

February 27, 2024
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It is in the best interest of Big Junk Food to normalize the consumption of crap on every possible occasion, and the industry’s publicity machine is excellent.

Selling Crap to Kids, Part 12

February 15, 2024
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We have seen that researchers easily obtain from children confessions about how they harass their parents to get their substances of choice.

Selling Crap to Kids, Part 11

February 13, 2024
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Manufacturers had built “arsenals of data profiling services” using artificial intelligence and machine learning to advertise junk food to kids.

Avoid the Winter Holiday Blues

December 18, 2023
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When we see those fallen victim to compulsive eating, let’s try not to be the negative relatives, or even the slightly less toxic, ostensibly positive ones.

Goodbye to Addiction?

November 27, 2023
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Some experts lean into the idea that some people’s brains just have “different wiring” which is responsible for various brain disorders, including addiction.

How to Help an Addict

November 10, 2023
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Nobody chooses to become an addict, although once that happens, the disease will convince them that the condition was always inevitable.

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 8

November 9, 2023
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One of the murkier areas of addiction theory is how it relates to the basic biological drives inherent in an organism. Let’s take a look.

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 7

November 8, 2023
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Often, success depends on the person being prepared to jump in there with a positive displacement behavior to take the heat off.

New Drugs — Does Lifestyle Intervention Still Count? Part 3

October 23, 2023
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Tirzepatide, a medication combining semaglutide with another GLP-1 agonist, known as Mounjaro, is approved for type 2 diabetes but widely used for weight loss.

New Drugs — Does Lifestyle Intervention Still Count? Part 2

October 20, 2023
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Do the new, remarkably effective GLP-1 obesity medications eliminate the need for obesity interventions?

New Drugs — Does Lifestyle Intervention Still Count? Part 1

October 19, 2023
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Today’s question is: Do the new, remarkably effective GLP-1 obesity medications eliminate the need for obesity interventions such as BrainWeighve?

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 6

October 18, 2023
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Random, reactive displacement behaviors usually only make things worse, while conscious displacement can create a space for positive change.

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 5

October 17, 2023
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A perplexing aspect of the displacement mechanism is why it becomes excessive and destructive in some individuals.

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 5

October 17, 2023
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It’s possible the destructive displacement behavior may become the sole coping avenue, may be self-reinforcing, and may reach a “point of no return.”

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 4

October 16, 2023
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The advantage of an interactive app is that you can hear it from peers who will attest to the fact that this works, and they want you to know it.

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 3

October 13, 2023
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Displacing thoughtlessly can lead to undesirable results, ranging from useless to addictive. Displacing consciously can give a person a chance to reset.

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 2

October 12, 2023
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If reverting to a displacement behavior can prevent some violence in the animal world, maybe that is all part of the Big Scheme of Things.

In Search Addiction’s Roots, Part 1

October 11, 2023
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Dr. Pretlow has published “A Unified Theory of Addiction,” a paper presenting evidence that the universal source of addiction is the displacement mechanism.

Areas of Confusion

October 10, 2023
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Aside from feeding food obsession and encouraging such disorders as anorexia, electronic socializing can spill over into other potentially problematic areas.

The Mystery of Tarrare

October 6, 2023
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Tarrare was a real historical character who looked like an addict and behaved like an addict — but probably was not.

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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