Take Part in a Food Addiction Survey

By Dirk Hanson 06/08/11

Researchers hope to shed light on the controversial connection between “food addiction” and other addictions like smoking and drinking.

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You are what you eat (or snort, smoke and swallow)
Photo via thinkstockphotos

Want to take part in a little bit of science? It won’t hurt a bit. Dr. W. Andrew Harrell and Dr. Jennifer A. Boisvert, two psychologists specializing in eating and weight problems, are inviting men and women age 18 and older to help them out by taking a 15-minute survey online. Dr. Harrell, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and the founder of Harrell and Associates, devised the survey with Dr. Boisvert to examine eating attitudes. They are attempting to shed light on the controversial connection between “food addiction” and other addictions like smoking and drinking. The survey is confidential, and starts here.

“Research suggests that people's response to high-sugar and high-fat foods may be similar to their response to drug use in that the brain's pleasure center is triggered. This response may also extend to alcohol and nicotine use. We want to learn more about how people's eating habits such as overeating and their ‘bad habits' such as smoking, drinking and using drugs may be connected in terms of their feeling rewarded or satisfied,” the psychologists said in a prepared statement.

We did our part, and took the test, and agree with the idea expressed on the test’s website: “A personal benefit of completing the questionnaire is that it may stimulate your thinking about your eating habits, attitudes and behaviors. This research will contribute to the advancement of our understanding of eating behavior, including body image and eating concerns in women and men, along with factors that might affect this behavior.”

It can’t hurt. And it’s drug- and calorie-free.

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]