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Research Into Public Perceptions of Food Addiction

Research Into Public Perceptions of Food Addiction

Health Culture


Based on the fact that it is still unclear whether food can be addictive or not, the concept of food addiction has been considered to surround with a lot of controversies. According to the information from the research study conducted by Hebebrand et al. (2014), some of the behavioral factors that promote the development of food addiction among individuals include neurobiological predisposition, controversial marketing, and advertising practices among others. There are different research studies which have confirmed that the problems related to food addiction are commonly observed among those people suffering from obesity. Despite the fact that there are some involuntary factors which are lead to the development of obesity, such as genetic composition, Lee et al. (2013) determined that there is a significant percentage of people who saw the development of obesity as being caused primarily by the personal choices. For that matter, it is important for people to take personal responsibility for their eating.

The study performed by Ruddock and Hardman (2017) revealed that a majority of people believe that there are specific types of foods which are addictive and hence leading to the development of obesity. Additionally, the same study determined that a significant percentage of people believe that they are food addicts and hence are at higher risk of demonstrating increased patterns of aberrant eating. More interesting results were obtained by (DePierre, Puhl and Luedicke, 2013). In their study, they determined that there is a higher perception that food addiction can lead to the occurrence of different health problems than smoking. Furthermore, it was established that the individuals’ food choices were of great impacts than alcoholism. For that matter, food addiction has the ability to promote the development of stigmatization and hence perceived as a voluntary activity rather than a substance of addiction. This paper is focused on determining the public perception of food addiction, and the impacts of personal attitudes and lifestyle choices on an individual’s health


The type of research methodology employed in this study was determined by the nature of the data being analyzed. Most importantly, an explanatory cross-sectional quantitative approach was used in order to determine the validity of the null hypothesis of the study which stated that the general public does not perceive food addiction to be a reality and believe that food choice is a personal responsibility. In this study, the collection of the quantitative data was done through an online platform with the participants being adult members of the general public who have an access to the internet. With reference to the finds from the research study conducted by Hussein(2015, p.6), it is justifiable to note that the use of online approach in carrying out research survey is important because it has the ability to offer adequate information to the participants regarding the nature and importance of taking part in the study. A total of 65 participants were included in the study with a lower age limit of 18 years. Based on the fact that the questions in the questionnaires were written in English, only those participants who are fluent in English were included in the study.

Despite the fact that the use of the only survey is linked to the production of more accurate results, it is important to note that there are some specific problems which can be associated with the process. The most important one, as described in the research study conducted by Hussein (2015, p.4), is the possible misinterpretation of questionnaire contents by the participants. Nevertheless, this problem was minimized by making sure that all of the participants were provided with accurate instructions about the whole research process and how to answer the questions in the questionnaire. Furthermore, it is important to note that more participants could have been included in the study if a collect and drop technique could have been used. In this technique, the participants are expected to manually fill-in the questionnaires then present the duly filled hardcopies of the questionnaire forms. This technique is important since it provides even those potential participants who have no access to the internet connection to be involved in the study as long as they can read and understand the requirements of the questionnaires.

Data Analysis and Critical Commentary

The collected data were analyzed through the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). This data analysis technique is very important because it provides the researcher with the opportunity of importing data from other sources and organize them into a single unit. Furthermore, it also has the ability to analyze large volumes of data and produce results that can be easily understood and interpreted (Hussein 2015, p.5). In this section, the analysis of the results obtained from the SPSS will be conducted. These results will then be used to interpret their impacts on the development of social theory and health literacy on food addition.

From the analysis, it is seen that male gender happens to have a lot of cravings when it comes to different types of meals. Even though females are known to be good at consuming a lot of foods, when it comes to cravings then men top the list. From the chart above, it can also be noted that men top the list when it comes to normal food. Unlike for ladies, when it comes to junk food, it’s obvious as they don’t need competition.


Nourishment enslavement is a term that influences almost a decent number of a network. While portraying completely what nourishment fixation is, it isn’t just absence of control on suppers yet, in addition, it very well may be depicted as additional standard yearnings towards sustenance (Gearhardt, A.N. et al. 2009, p.24). I have chosen to lead an examination dependent on this subject as this is a developing sickness that most network doesn’t know about. The Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) as of now is the most broadly utilized estimation apparatus for inspecting side effects of sustenance compulsion, despite the fact that some contend that it may not satisfactorily catch the develop. In any case, numerous investigations which have analyzed the development, and used the YFAS, an approved and solid instrument depends basically on the symptomatic methods of material reliance in an instrument called DSM-IV-TR that is known to estimates conduct pointers of high cravings.

In the study, there are questions asked on how one realizes that he or she is experiencing this issue and the answers obviously will be very astounding. There are few signs that one can screen to know whether he or she is a sustenance someone who is addicted or not (Davis, C. et. at. 2011, p.10) These signs are, for example, additional customary desires for more sustenance, eating expansive segment than you foreseen and making up phony purpose behind you to simply have an essence of something.

Beginning with the desires that somebody may have towards dinners. This kind of confusion does not naturally mirror that somebody is experiencing nourishment enslavement. The level of desires is the thing that truly tells on whether somebody is someone who is addicted or not. Having desiring can be realized with a considerable measure of things, for example, tastiness. Then again, yearnings end up being an issue, when one wants for all the more even in the wake of eating a satisfying dinner. Another manifestation of being a nourishment someone who is addicted is taking of expansive parts of dinners than one foreseen (Rogers, P.J. et. al. 2000 p.3) To the majority of the general population, this may sound ordinary however it’s definitely not. There is dependably the correct bit with regards to dinners.

This ends up being a wreck when this correct bit has been misconceived and end up being excessive. For this case, it is beneficial for one to know the correct segment for him or her in order to be less demanding in recognizing any handicap with regards to being a nourishment someone who is addicted. The last indication is getting into a state where one makes counterfeit reasons just to have an essence of something (Corsica, J.A. 2010. P.30). There are sure lousy nourishment that one may choose to quit devouring them yet inside a brief timeframe they accompany counterfeit purpose behind them to simply expend them once more. This kind of turmoil can be said that is caused by desires. It is because of having to desires towards specific dinners that will make one have this kind of confusion.

Table 1.1: Graph showing the result on a completed survey

From the graph above, it’s evident that a good percentage is affected by cravings for food. The percentage being 45%, it interprets a lot when it comes the dangers that many people are exposed in of being affected with food addiction.

For one to have the capacity to control the condition of being nourishment someone who is addicted, they should be proficient. This implies they require higher learning for them to at any rate have a thought of what nourishment yearnings are. High instruction contributes a considerable measure when it comes distinguishing the indications of nourishment addictions effortlessly and working out for preventive measure. Notwithstanding, it ought not to be mixed up that on the off chance that you have enough learning you will now be free from being a someone who is addicted (Ziauddeen, H. et. al. 2013 p.22). Nourishment enslavement is a characteristic reason that can transpire. This alludes to both educated and unskilled individuals. Be that as it may, with regards to one being proficient, these aides from multiple points of view.

These ways can be, for example, effectively distinguishing the indications of being a fanatic and knowing how to control the condition. The vast majority of the general population winds up being influenced route astoundingly to recognize the indications past the point of no return. In this way, being educative with advanced education will help a considerable measure as one will be as of now acquainted with this condition. Another expert that accompanies high training is that individuals with high instruction will help a ton with regards to this study. As it is known, not a decent number get a kick out of the chance to draw in themselves in noting overviews which makes it difficult to distinguish the genuine issue.

Along these lines, having individuals with higher learning in the network will contribute a ton as they comprehend the significance of the study. The accessible proficient individuals in a specific network are likewise anticipated that would lead others in taking an interest in the overview as the issue of confiding in an outside study dependably appear to be an issue to a large portion of the general population in a network. Sustenance fixation is something that need individuals where about, as it is something showing in people groups existence without them knowing (Meule, A. et. al. 2013 p.11) The most ideal approach to battle this, is to not just rely upon the on the educated individuals in the networks yet in addition telling everybody about this. This type of instruction should be possible from various perspectives, for example, holding classes, placing accentuation in schools and furthermore through adverts.

Other than making sustenance compulsion an open, it ought to be noticed that nourishment habit causes a condition of turmoil known as weight. Various specialist invests a large portion of their energy contemplating the reason for stoutness and it is most affected by a dietary issue. From the examination on what causes corpulence, it has been found that heftiness and nourishment enslavement depend on synthetic reliance. The longing to all the more likely see how and why individuals indulge or eat in an undesirable way is clear whether one should take not greater than 33% of grown-up population19 and a fifth of youths mostly in the USA are hefty and the pervasiveness of corpulence and excessive weight that expands considerably as from the 1970s. From the perspectives noted in the most recent decade about weight, there are conceivable roots causes including sustenance compulsion, has re-developed and has started to realize new proof in the help of nourishment reliance as a true blue dependence. The essential territories of the examination were in the fields of hereditary qualities, cerebrum imaging, opioids, cross fixation, serotonin glitch, and endorphin overstimulation. From the examination of the recorded territories, there will before long be adequate evidence that the human body can, in fact, end up dependent on sustenance.

Looking at alcoholic dependence and nourishment enslavement in spots, for example, USA, there are frequently numerous more blood relatives who additionally have addictions to liquor and additionally sedates than would be conceivable by the possibility. For quite a while it was accepted that under 10 percent of the US populace was alcoholic. In any case, in single families with one analyzed heavy drinker, as often as a possible portion of the blood relatives is alcoholic or generally dependent. These are actually the kinds of measurable examples which were first used to derive the presence of hereditary legacy of particular biochemical qualities.

Comparative factual proof backings the presence of a hereditary factor with respect to urgent indulging and nourishment habit. An overview of Overeaters Anonymous individuals directed in the mid-1990s found comparative rates of individuals who recognized as enthusiastic overeaters or sustenance addicts who had something like one blood relative additionally dependent on nourishment or liquor (Cocores, J.A. et. al.2009 p.12)This result was measurably profoundly impossible, except if there were some causal relationship inside the family. As of not long ago, there was a genuine logical discussion about whether the causal connection was hereditary or ecological.

Like with numerous different maladies, for example, psychological sickness, you could perceive how designs regularly kept running in families. Be that as it may, was this since some characteristic was passed on hereditarily, like eye shading? Or on the other hand, on account of dependence, would it say it was that at least one overwhelming drinking or indulging guardians passed their propensities and states of mind down to their kids by means of their child-rearing examples? It was a great nature versus sustain quandary. A few researchers contend that nature, i.e. hereditary qualities, was the reason. Different researchers contended that distinctive examples of sustain, parental impact or any number of social-ecological elements were to be faulted. Still, others contend that nourishment habit was a result of both nature and sustain.

Table 1.2: People’s reaction to certain meals

From the graph above, it shows a complete analysis of how people react when it comes to trying out new meals. Even though some meals tend to bring about food addiction, from above it is seen that a large percent often thinks otherwise about trying the meals.

Notwithstanding the nearness of certain compulsion like characteristics in dietary issue practices, the absence of cover in the indicative criteria between addictive scatters and dietary problems mirrors the unmistakable applied customs of the two conditions. Generally, when endeavoring to comprehend dietary problems, the spotlight has not been principally on nourishment itself, yet rather on the considerations and thoughts that people with dietary problems have about sustenance and about their very own bodies. Interestingly, substances with lots of cravings are noticeable in knowing the infection brought by fixation, especially as far as their capacity to “commandeer” the mind’s reward neurocircuitry. Obviously, any exhaustive hypothesis in regards to a confusion inspects the transaction between the person’s attributes and vulnerabilities, the properties of the objective of the turmoil and the social or natural factors that expansion the danger of turmoil.

The coming of the nourishment enslavement develop spans these two conventions and, similar to substance compulsion, puts huge accentuation on the objective of the habit: particular kinds of sustenance, those that are exceptionally attractive and generally very prepared or refined, and their capacity to “snare” the ones with a particular psychosocial harm states. What sustenance fixation shares in a similar manner as dietary problems and with substance dependence are manifestations, for example, lost control, proceeding with the conduct notwithstanding negative characteristics, rehashed fizzled endeavors to chop down or stop the conduct, yearnings, passionate dysregulation (trouble with adapting, negative inclinations and sentiments), and impulsivity.

The capacity of specific nourishment fixings to drive addictive conduct has turned into a key focal point of general wellbeing worry because of their ruling and overabundant nearness in our country’s eating routine. At the point when very handled or expended in expansive amounts, certain sustenance fixings are thought to influence the mind and body in courses like addictive substances like nicotine, liquor, and different medications. For the two cases, the thing that distinguishes a substance or fixing addictive is the description of a highly concentrated portion or high power and a fast rate of ingestion; on account of nourishment, these characteristics regularly are showed in fat or refined sugars that have a high glycemic stack. A few individuals, particular sorts of sustenance May lead to movement mental responses and physiological much the same as addictive licit and illegal medications.

Very prepared and attractive nourishment fixings create a great feeling of joy by means of fast enactment of key areas in the cerebrum that are intended to react to compensating upgrades and fortify practices that guarantee their rehashed ingestion.

Specific sustenance fixings and desires for those fixings seem to identify with scattered eating in somewhat unique means. The examination presented that hankering for big size is related with high BMI, yet isn’t-voraciously consuming food, non-sugar starches and needing for desserts was related with pigging out, yet not high rated BMI (Avena, N.M. 2010, p.30). This recommends sustenance’s different starches and high in sugar might end up being more firmly connected with dependence as consuming meals than nourishments which are just excessive of fats. On the other hand, another examination proposes that prepared nourishment, all the more, by and large, is related with sustenance compulsion, especially if they handled nourishment is high in a glycemic stack.

From the investigation, there as of now is no information accessible to assess the commonness of sustenance compulsion on a worldwide level. Littler examinations have discovered that the percentage in some non-medical examples rates between 5-30 percent. Evaluations that incorporate medical examples, the ones with an analyzed dietary issue, as often as possible find higher rates of nourishment enslavement.



The field of compulsion has made considerable progress lately, with a developing comprehension of the elements that expansion the hazard that substance utilize will advance to fixation, the mental and physiological systems that guarantee its support despite antagonistic results, and best practices for counteractive action, intercession, and treatment. The logical proof indicating dependence as a wellbeing condition instead of an ethical fizzling has worn down the shame encompassing the sickness and has taken into consideration creative general wellbeing and clinical ways to deal with counteractive action and treatment.

People experiencing another driving general medical issue – overweight and corpulence – have confronted issues like the individuals who experience the ill effects of substance enslavement, including disgrace, disgrace and colossal trouble conquering a critical risk to their wellbeing and prosperity (Parylak, S.L. 2011 p.44). For a considerable length of time, dietary issues and corpulence were inspected basically with a perspective of people’s helplessness, with avoidance and intercessions concentrated on interfering with how people associates with their families. Exercises gained from substance habit, particularly the intensity of certain addictive substances to specifically influence a person’s cerebrum and conduct, have helped dispatch another and conceivably productive worldview for comprehension and tending to specific instances of weight and dietary problems. The sustenance enslavement display, similar to that of substance compulsion, depicts the manners by which nourishing fixings or properties that creates dependence within people that may be powerless when it comes to things they own and how others expend them in a way that instigates the addictive procedure (example. consuming specific kinds of profoundly agreeable, calorie-dense, and supplement poor sustenance on a discontinuous yet rehashed premise). It takes into account a clarification and a mediation system that includes instances of cluttered consumption of food that may not be satisfactorily represented by restorative symptoms or existing mental.

Unmistakably, sometimes the word fixation can turn out to misused or abused; also, an alert is particularly required during utilizing it with regards to practices like eating and sex that must be occupied with more than once for survival. Be that as it may, when specific kinds of nourishment are over consumed in spite of negative consequences for well-being and survival, the idea of dependence winds up. As specialists and clinicians in both the enslavement and the dietary problems/corpulence fields keep on investigating the legitimacy of the sustenance habit develop, its physiological systems, what’s more, its chances to supplication to counteractive action, treatment and mediation, longing for straightforward, intense clarification and answer for the country’s mass issue needs to be offset in order to investigate these required issues into detail by means of a contemplated, intentional and deductively stable methodology.


  • Hussein, A., 2015. The use of triangulation in social sciences research: Can qualitative and quantitative methods be combined? Journal of comparative social work4(1), 1-12.
  • Gearhardt, A.N., Corbin, W.R. and Brownell, K.D., 2009. Preliminary validation of the Yale food addiction scaleAppetite52(2), pp.430-436.
  • Davis, C., Curtis, C., Levitan, R.D., Carter, J.C., Kaplan, A.S. and Kennedy, J.L., 2011. Evidence that ‘food addiction is a valid phenotype of obesity. Appetite57(3), pp.711-717.
  • Rogers, P.J. and Smit, H.J., 2000. Food craving and food “addiction”: a critical review of the evidence from a biopsychosocial perspective. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior66(1), pp.3-14.
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  • Parylak, S.L., Koob, G.F., and Zorrilla, E.P., 2011. The dark side of food addiction. Physiology & behavior104(1), pp.149-156.
SECTION B FEATURES OF FOOD ADDICTION Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree
Questions depicting enjoyment of food (EF)          
9.1 I love food
9.2 I look forward to mealtimes
9.3 I enjoy eating
Questions depicting emotional over-eating of food (EOE) – these two sections can be combined (EOE and EUE) if appropriate          
9.4 I eat more when I’m annoyed
9.5 I eat more when I’m worried
9.6 I eat more when I’m upset
9.7 I eat more when I’m annoyed
9.8 I eat more when I’m angry
9.9 I eat more when I’m anxious
Questions depicting emotional under-eating (EUE)          
9.1 I eat less when I’m worried
9.11 I eat less when I’m angry
9.12 I eat less when I’m upset
9.13 I eat less when I’m annoyed
9.14 I eat less when I’m angry
9.15 I eat less when I’m anxious
Questions depicting binge-like eating behaviour          
9.16 I eat to the point where I feel physically ill
9.17 Given the choice, I would eat most of the time
9.18 I am always thinking of food and I can’t think of anything else
9.19 When I see or smell food I like, it makes me want to eat
9.2 I only enjoy foods that compare with the taste of foods like chips, pizza, doughnuts, salty crisps, and ice cream
Questions depicting a lack of control          
9.21 When I think of food, I have to have it immediately
9.22 I cannot stop myself from continuing to eat after I feel full
9.23 I am always craving foods
9.24 I keep eating certain foods even though I know they are not good for me
9.25 I really want to cut down on certain foods but I can’t
9.26 If I miss a meal or can’t have food, I get very irritable
9.27 I often feel so hungry that I have to eat right away
9.28 I often feel hungry when I am with someone who is eating
9.29 If my meals are delayed, I get light headed
Questions depicting depression or mood swings          
9.3 I feel miserable when I can’t eat the foods I crave
9.31 I feel good for a short period after eating my favorite foods
9.32 I often regret giving in to my cravings
9.33 I want to punish myself for eating the wrong foods
9.34 My eating behaviors affect my work
9.35 I avoid social situations because of my eating behaviors and habits
9.36 I feel so bad about my eating that it distracts me from what is really important
9.37 My eating causes me a lot of distress
9.37 I get full easily
10 I usually or often read food labels?
10.1 If I do, I often read the information about nutrition
10.2 I am usually interested in learning the ingredients of my food
10.3 From reading a food label, I can easily conclude whether the food will be healthy
10.4 I feel that I fully understand what someone means when they refer to carbohydrates?
10.5 I know the reasons why it’s important to eat vegetables
10.6 I get a lot of my health information from media
10.7 When reading about illness or health foods in media, I can easily assess if it’s true
10.8 I get most of my health information from my GP surgery or NHS
10.9 Health information help me decide what I should eat or on my lifestyle choices
11 I find food labels (on packets) easy to understand
11.2 I have a clear understanding of what type of food or lifestyle could prevent poor health
11.3 I always understand what my Doctor tells me
11.4 I know where to find information and help to be healthier
11 Does your mood impact the type of food you eat?
How likely is your mood to motivate you to eat more than you intended to?
How likely are you to eat to forget about negative emotions?
When you are happy, how likely are you to eat more?
My mood states (sadness, happiness, stress or anger e.t.c) often sabotages weight loss attempts
Do you eat much less, the same, or much more in response to emotions which you perceive as negative?
Do you eat much less, the same, or much more in response to stress which you perceive as negative?
12 Questions depicting Self Responsibility          
12.1 Obese people can lose weight if they wanted
12.2 Whether obese people gain, lose or maintain weight is entirely up to them
12.3 Obese people are unwilling to work hard or control their impulses.
12.4 When I see a person who’s overweight, I get angry at our society for allowing bad food choices to drive out the good ones.
12.5 The problem of current societies is that we blame the victim for things they cannot control.
12.6 Obese people have good self-control.
12.7 Obese people have total control over their weight
12.8 Obese people have no control over their eating
  Questions depicting Stigma          
12.9 Obesity is a sign of personal weakness.
12.10 Obese people are less competent than normal-weight peers.
12.11 Obese people should be ashamed of their bodies
12.12 Obesity is rarely caused by a lack of willpower.
12.13 On average, fat people are lazier than thin people
12.14 Fat people can’t do their jobs well and cost us all more for their health care.
12.15 It’s unfair when obese people make others pay for their lack of effort.
12.16 When I see a person who is overweight my heart goes out to them.
12.18 Obese people are to be blamed for their excess weight.
12.19 People who are overweight aren’t even trying to get healthier.
13 Indicate how strongly you believe each of the following factorscontributes to weight gain
13.1 Weight gain results from being addicted to food
13.2 Weight gain results from eating too much
13.3 Weight gain results from not exercising
13.4 Weight gain results from genetic factors
13.5 Weight gain results from food companies making tasty foods high in added salt, sugar and fat
13.6 Please choose only one intervention to prevent obesity:          
13.7 Researching how a person’s genetics may lead to excessive weight gain
13.8 Providing education to individuals to prevent eating too much
or to increase physical activity;
13.9 Changing the food or physical activity environments in which people live
13.10 Obesity should be treated as an addiction.
14 Food is the most affordable source of pleasure
14.1 I eat processed food in response to living in a chronically stressful environment
14.2 The most important factor when choosing food:
14.3 Taste
14.4 Cost
14.5 Calories
14.6 Healthfulness
15 Some foods (particularly those high in sugar or fat) can be as addictive as drugs (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, cocaine).
15.1 Obesity can result from being addicted to food
15.2 Some people can eat certain foods to the point where they can feel physically ill
15.3 Food addiction can cause avoidance of work and social activities
15.4 After some time eating the same amount of food doesn’t give as much
enjoyment as it used to.
15.5 Cutting down on certain foods can lead to agitation, headaches or anxiety.

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