Published on 1 November 2022

Following an international study improved education available for people described as “food addicts”.

A low carb diet and improved education around what you eat could provide support for people described as “food addicts”.

A recent clinical study into treating food addiction with a low carbohydrate and psychoeducational programme was carried out for the first time anywhere in the world.

Researchers hope their findings, recently published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, will help people reduce their risk of developing related health complications, including type 2 diabetes.

Around 20% of the general population is known to have a food addiction which can cause a range of serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, chronic fatigue and pain and sleep disorders.

The study was led by UK-based Consultant Clinical Health Psychologist and author Dr Jen Unwin.

More than 100 people diagnosed with food addiction in the UK, North America and Sweden took part in the study to see if they benefitted from 10 to 14 weeks of online group intervention.

Woman talks with mental health professional.

Dr Unwin said: “Everyone is familiar with carb addiction and yet incredibly this is the first time in the world there has been a clinical study like this one.

“Our international teams have studied what happens when food addicts were given the chance to participate in an online group intervention.

“They learned about addiction concepts, the biochemistry of the brain, self-assessment screening, an abstinent individual low carbohydrate or real food plan and relapse prevention and recovery protection planning.

“Excitingly, across all three countries the participants achieved significant reductions in food addiction symptoms and bodyweight and a significant improvement in mental wellbeing.”

Dr Unwin will share more detailed information about the study with hundreds of healthcare professionals at the Diabetes Professional Care conference which will take place at Olympia London on 16-17 November.

Dr Unwin said: “I’m delighted to be the first psychologist to be invited to speak at the Diabetes Professional Care conference.

“I’m excited to be able to share the results of our study at the conference because improving the outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes depends on behaviour change, diet and exercise.”

Dr Unwin has also written a book called Fork in the Road which helps readers to identify if they have a carbohydrate addiction and gives them the tools to change their lives.

This year’s Diabetes Professional Care will be held from 16th to 17th November at Olympia London

Healthcare professionals can register to attend now by clicking here 

Diabetes Professional Care is supported by DRWF as registration sponsor

Read the report in Frontiers in Psychiatry


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