The Atlantic

The Sugar-Addiction Taboo

When can you call a food addictive?
Source: Pichi Chuang / Reuters

Now that the holidays have come and gone, it’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Did I really need to eat the whole box of chocolates?” If you did it in one sitting, you may suffer from Binge Eating Disorder, a newly-sanctioned psychiatric diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V by the American Psychiatric Association. But even if you ate the box over several sittings, you might still suffer from its more controversial cousin—Food Addiction, not yet included in the DSM-V.

There’s been a lot of heat about food addiction, but . None other than Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in favor of the diagnosis. eschew the diagnosis while . Not surprisingly, the food industry has the notion. No one argues that food isn’t pleasurable, or even that food doesn’t activate the “reward center” of the brain. But can food truly be addictive? In the same way that alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs are?

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