Sophie Stangl '15 Integrated Health Sciences Major
Food Addiction in College-Aged Females
Addiction to highly refined foods, specifically sugar, may result in excessive caloric intake, which enhances comorbidity risks, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that women limit "added sugar" intake to 25 g per day (1).
Purpose: To determine the relationship between food addiction and sugar consumption.
Methods: IRB approved the study, and IT Services sent out a recruitment email to 1992 college-aged females. Participants gave their informed consent and completed two surveys: the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) (n=160) and the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour dietary recall (ASA24) (n=57). The YFAS questionnaire categorized individuals into two groups based on the DSM-IV substance abuse criteria: food dependents, or food addicts, and non-food dependents, or non-food addicts. The ASA24 analyzed participants' dietary recalls of all foods/beverages consumed in the last 24 hours. T-tests and ANOVAs compared nutrition intakes of food dependents with non-food dependents.
Results: The YFAS categorized the respondents as 31.3% food dependent (n=50) and 68.8% non-food dependent (n=110); 13 food dependents and 44 non-food dependents completed the ASA24. Only 35.6% of participants (n=57) complete both surveys. The range of "added sugar" consumed was 0 - 395 grams. Food addicts consumed 77.5 ± 101.5 g of "added sugar" and non-food addicts consumed 51.5 ± 36.5 g of "added sugar"; however, there was no statistical difference between groups (p=0.158). Food dependents consumed less sodium than non-food dependents, 2308 ± 681 mg and 2980 ± 1051 mg sodium respectively, which was statistically significant (p=0.034).
Conclusions - A food addiction diagnosis did not correlate with a higher "added sugar" intake in this study (p>0.05), and food addicts consumed a significantly lower amount of sodium than non-food addicts (p=0.034). A surprising percent of college-aged females were categorized as food addicts (31.3%), which is higher than other reports (8.8%). Most food addicts and non-food addicts (70%) are consuming more than the American Heart Association's recommended amount of "added sugar" (<25 grams per day).
1. American Heart Association. (2014). Added sugars. American Heart Association. 1-2. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Sugars-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp
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