Eating can be addictive but foods high in fat or sugar are not to blame, a new study suggests.
An international team of scientists has found no strong evidence that particular chemical substances in foods are addictive.
It is the positive feelings that our brains associate with eating that makes some people develop a psychological compulsion to consume, the research found.
This is a behavioural disorder akin to conditions such as a gambling addiction, scientists said, and any measures to tackle the problem of obesity should focus on the individual’s relationship with eating.
The study, which examined the evidence for over-eating as a substance-based addiction, is published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
It found the brain does not respond to nutrients in the same way as it does to addictive drugs like heroin or cocaine.