"We already see such a large amount of people struggling with obesity, but kids are also eating a lot of unhealthy foods. The earlier people are exposed, the more likely they are to develop an addiction," said Gearhardt.
The study's authors also hope future studies can determine how the brain responds to food ads and whether certain foods are addictive. With that knowledge, they believe, advertising can be used to send healthier messages about food.
Addicted to Food," premieres on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The eight-episode series follows food addicts and others with eating disorders at a treatment facility with the goal of addressing issues that led to their problems with eating and finding their way to recovery.
Prager knows all about that long road to recovery. After years of therapy, he realizes now that food no longer controls him. He even wrote a book about it.
But as with most addicts, it's a battle he fights every day.
"There's no such thing as solving something forever. You have to take it one day at a time." To read Michael Prager's blog click here.
The following questions are part of the survey done by researchers at Yale University to help determine if you could have a food addiction.
Answer options for this section: 0 - Never 1 - Once per month 2 – 2-4 times per month 3 - 2-3 times per week 4 - 4+ times per week
1) I find myself consuming certain foods even though I am no longer hungry. THRESHOLD: 4
2) I worry about cutting down on certain foods. THRESHOLD: 4
3) I feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating. THRESHOLD: 3 or 4
4) I have spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods, instead of spending time in important activities such as time with family, friends, work, or recreation. THRESHOLD: 4
5) I have had physical withdrawal symptoms such as agitation and anxiety when I cut down on certain foods. (Do NOT include caffeinated drinks: coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, etc.) THRESHOLD: 3 OR 4
6) My behavior with respect to food and eating causes me significant distress. THRESHOLD: 3 OR 4
7) Issues related to food and eating decrease my ability to function effectively (daily routine, job/school, social or family activities, health difficulties). THRESHOLD: 3 OR 4
Answer options for this section: No Yes
IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS…
8) I kept consuming the same types or amounts of food despite significant emotional and/or physical problems related to my eating. YES or NO
9) Eating the same amount of food does not reduce negative emotions or increase pleasurable feelings the way it used to. YES or NO
TO MEET THE FOOD ADDICTION THRESHOLD PEOPLE NEED TO MEET THE THRESHOLD FOR EITHER QUESTION 6 OR 7 AND MEET THE THRESHOLD FOR 3 OR MORE OF THESE QUESTIONS (1-5, 8-9). IF YOU MEET THE FOOD ADDICTION THRESHOLD, THE RESEARCHERS AT YALE SAY YOU SHOULD SPEAK WITH A DOCTOR.