Food addictions have a neurochemical, thus physiological, basis, making them absolutely real. Those who claim they are something else tend to be unaware of the neurochemistry/physiology of addiction and/or the neurochemical effects of foods.
Genetic predisposing factors may be involved, including family history of alcoholism, diabetes, hypoglycemia, hypertension, and more. There are non-genetic predisposing factors, as well, including, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder (which alters neurochemistry) and body type. It does no one a service to encourage them to regard an addictive response to specific foods (sugar or saturated fats, for example) as if it were not an addiction when the brain response is often as genetic as eye color. We each got what we got. The good news is that changes in diet can alter neurochemical levels and result in beneficial modifications in cravings, appetite, mood and food preferences.
My dissertation was on Psychoactive Nutrition in the Treatment of Women with Binge-Eating Disorder (1999). Controlling sugar intake was found to have a profound effect on bingeing and craving. I would be happy to answer any questions.
Joan S. Kent
Ph.D., Psychoactive Nutrition
M.S., Exercise Physiology