Alcoholism in parents can cause junk food addiction in children

These foods, such as ice cream, chocolate, pizza, and chips, contain unusually high amounts of refined carbohydrates and fats that can cause addictive reactions in some people.

The UM researchers wanted to know whether a major risk factor for addiction – a parent with a problem with alcohol – predicted an increased risk of addiction to highly processed foods.


Up to one in five people show a high level of addiction to processed foods, which is manifested by loss of control over intake, intense cravings, and an inability to cut back despite negative consequences. pole.

Is addiction an endless loop?

“People with a family history of addiction may be at increased risk of developing problematic relationships with processed foods, which is really difficult in a food environment where these foods are cheap, accessible, and affordable.” accessible and marketed,” said UM psychologist Lindzey Hoover, PhD student and lead author of the study.

But, addictive reactions do not end with food, as food addicts are also more likely to exhibit personal problems with alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and vapingfrom research.

Diets dominated by highly processed foods and excessive intake of addictive substances are the leading causes of preventable death in the modern world. This study demonstrates the need for interventions to reduce addictive eating and substance use simultaneously.

“Public health approaches to reducing the harms of other substances, such as limiting marketing to children, may be important to consider reducing the negative impact of food,” says Hoover. highly processed products.

Research appears in Psychology of addictive behaviors. Co-authored by Hayley Yu, UM psychology graduate student; Jenna Cummings, postdoctoral fellow in Population Health Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Stuart Ferguson, professor at the University of Tasmania; and Ashley Gearhardt, associate professor of psychology at UM.


1. Co-occurrence of food addiction, obesity, problematic substance use and problematic alcohol use history of parents – (

Source: Eurekalert

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