The neurobiological underpinnings of obesity and binge eating: a rationale for adopting the food addiction model (2013)

Biol Psychiatry. 2013 May 1;73(9):804-10. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.08.026. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Smith DG, Robbins TW.



Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [email protected].


The food addiction model of overeating has been proposed to help explain the widespread advancement of obesity over the last 30 years. Parallels in neural substrates and neurochemistry, as well as corresponding motivational and behavioral traits, are increasingly coming to light; however, there are still key differences between the two disorders that must be acknowledged. We critically examine these common and divergent characteristics using the theoretical framework of prominent drug addiction models, investigating the neurobiological underpinnings of both behaviors in an attempt to justify whether classification of obesity and binge eating as an addictive disorder is merited.

Copyright © 2013 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.