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Archived Seminar: Can Food Be Addictive?

Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminar presented by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Can Food Be Addictive?

Date: Sept. 4, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Our food environment has changed drastically in the last 50 years. Highly processed (HP) foods that strongly activate reward and motivation systems have become cheap, easily accessible, and heavily marketed. Rising levels of overeating and difficulties controlling food intake have accompanied these changes to our food system. There is growing evidence from animal models and biobehavioral research in humans that HP foods may be capable of triggering neurobiological and psychological responses that parallel those associated with drugs of abuse. This has led to a growing interest in the role of addictive processes in certain types of eating pathology. In this talk, the evidence that addictive processes may be playing a role in certain types of pathological eating will be evaluated and treatment and policy implications adolescents will be discussed.

Additional Details 

This is a free event hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and co-sponsored by the institute's Addiction Recovery Research Center and the Center for Transformative Research on Health Behaviors. The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Pioneers in Biomedical Research Program offers the expertise of a range of scientists who are exploring frontiers in biomedical research. These seminars are open to Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic faculty, students, and staff.


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Ashley Gearhardt, Ph.D.

Ashley Gearhardt, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor of Psychology, and Director of the Food Addiction Science and Treatment (FAST) Lab at the University of Michigan