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The Relationship between Food Addiction and Type 2 Diabetes

1 January 2017


Aims: To assess the relationship between food addiction (FA) and psychological distress in a sample of adults with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes (t2d). To compare results of those with prediabtes/t2d to results from a sample of adults without diabetes diagnoses. To replicate previous research on the relationship between FA, psychological distress, and t2d using an updated FA scale reflecting DSM-5 criteria.

Methods: A quasi-experimental replication study of 150 subjects divided between those with prediabetes/t2d (N = 76) and those without diabetes (N = 74) completed a web-based questionnaire. FA was measured using the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0 (YFAS 2.0), psychological distress was measured using the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), and additional questions assessed health status, eating behaviors, and psychological wellbeing.

Results: A novel finding highlighted people with prediabetes/t2d endorsed higher average FA scores than did people without diabetes, representing a large effect size (d = 0.88). Participants with pre-diabetes/t2d were 8.45 times more likely to meet FA criteria than were participants without diabetes. A replication finding indicated that participants with pre-diabetes/t2d had higher average depression, anxiety, and stress scores than did those without diabetes.

Conclusions: Consistent with previous findings, FA and psychological distress were positively correlated in adults with prediabetes/t2d using the updated YFAS 2.0. Further, a significantly greater proportion of those with prediabetes/t2d endorsed FA than did those without diabetes diagnoses, suggesting a need to consider models of substance use disorder treatment when providing care to patients with prediabetes/t2d.


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