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When was food addiction first identified?

Updated: May 19, 2023



According to a review article published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the term “food addiction” was first introduced in the scientific literature by Theron Randolph in 1956.


He described it as “a specific adaptation to one or more regularly consumed foods to which a person is highly sensitive [which] produces a common pattern of symptoms descriptively similar to those of other addictive processes.”


The article also states that food addiction is maladaptive and can threaten health, causing obesity, malnutrition, and other problems.


Download the full article.

Randolph, T. G. (1956). The Descriptive Features of Food Addiction. Addictive Eating and Drinking. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 17(2), 198–224. doi:10.15288/qjsa.1956.17.198



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