'Food addicts' stimulated by images, lack willpower

Overweight women are more likely to be stimulated by images of food and tend to lack willpower, researchers from the University of Luxembourg discovered.

Food addiction might really exist, as the researchers found that these ladies behave differently to the average person. The researchers showed women pictures of unhealthy food products and non-food items on a computer screen. Some of the participants were asked to click on the non-food images as fast as possible when they flashed up on the screen, whilst the others had to click when the unhealthy food appeared, reports counselheal.com.

They found that overweight women performed much worse than the average respondent. Moreover, these women also began to have food cravings after the test, even if they had eaten very recently, reports dailymail.co.uk.

Claus Voegele, professor of clinical and health psychology at the university and lead researcher of the study, says that although nature might have some impact on people's eating habits, nurture does too.

"All addictions are similar in that the sufferer craves to excess the feel-good buzz they receive from chemical neurotransmitters produced when they eat, gamble, smoke, have sex or take drugs," he explains. "This suggests that some people may have an instinctive, psychological predisposition to binge eating."

He adds that there are other reasons for over-eating, such as boredom and comfort.