Picture by Jeremy Carver, licensed by CC.

How many times have you heard someone claim they’re so addicted to chocolate? We’ve all probably joked about being hooked on a food we can’t get enough of. But in reality, food addiction is a real issue with serious consequences.

“While many people believe they are ‘addicted’ to certain foods, individuals who experience food addiction tend to consume these foods despite negative health consequences, such as diabetes and heart disease, and need to consume greater quantities of these foods in order to get the desired effect,” says Erica M. Schulte, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan, who researches food addiction.

But don’t confuse food addiction with binge eating disorder, which is more about an individual’s relationship to food, Schulte says. While binge eaters may eat compulsively to deal with emotions or pain, addicts are chemically hooked on certain foods, Schulte says. “The food addiction theory suggests a direct role of the food, akin to a substance, in driving forward addictive-like eating behavior,” she says.

Schulte and other researchers believe that about 10 percent of the U.S. population struggles with a food addiction. Despite this, the disorder is not recognized in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) — the handbook used by the American Psychiatric Association to make diagnoses and suggest treatments.

Read the full article "How do you know if you’re addicted to food?" at the New York Post.