Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 192–201 | Cite as

Food Addiction and Its Potential Links with Weight Stigma

  • Jessica Reid
  • Kerry S. O’Brien
  • Rebecca Puhl
  • Charlotte A. Hardman
  • Adrian Carter
Food Addiction (A Meule, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Food Addiction


Purpose of Review

Weight stigma and discrimination are significant issues facing people who are overweight. There is growing acceptance that obesity is caused by a neurobiologically driven addiction to some foods. This review examines the evidence that obesity is due to a food addiction and the impact that this may have on attitudes towards excess weight.

Recent Findings

There is limited evidence that food addiction explanations may reduce external stigma and self-blame. However, these positives may come at the expense of adverse impacts on overweight person’s self-efficacy and eating. The “addict” label may also further exacerbate weight stigma.


Current research on the impact of food addiction explanations on stigma is scarce and inconsistent. There is almost no research examining the clinical impact of food addiction on self-efficacy, eating, or treatment seeking. More research clarifying these issues is essential given the growing acceptance of “food addiction” explanations in society.


Food addiction Obesity Stigma Weight bias Discrimination Self-efficacy 



Dr. Puhl reports research funding from Weight Watchers, Inc., outside the submitted work.

Dr. Carter reports grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council during the conduct of the study.

Dr. Hardman reports grants from American Beverage Association, personal fees from International Sweeteners Association, outside the submitted work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

ᅟThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Reid
    • 1
  • Kerry S. O’Brien
    • 2
  • Rebecca Puhl
    • 3
  • Charlotte A. Hardman
    • 4
  • Adrian Carter
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences and the School of Psychological SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Department of Human Development & Family StudiesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  5. 5.University of Queensland Centre for Clinical ResearchThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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