Nicole Avena, Ph.D. is a research neuroscientist and an expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction. She received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Psychology from Princeton University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. Dr. Avena’s research suggests that overeating of palatable foods can produce changes in the brain and behavior that resemble addiction, which has jumpstarted an entire new field of exploration and discovery related to the obesity epidemic. She has published over 50 scholarly journal articles, and her new book, Why Diets Fail, is forthcoming from Ten Speed Press. Her research achievements have been honored by several prestigious groups, including the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Food can be more than just calories and nutrients. Eating for pleasure has become a common behavior for many individuals, and this can undoubtedly contribute to being overweight or obese. Some individuals feel compelled to eat high-calorie, tasty foods, and they also exhibit behaviors and emotional changes that are similar to what one would see in a drug addict. However, these people aren’t dependent on drugs, but could they be addicted to food?