"Some people may have an instinctive, psychological predisposition to binge eating," said Claus Voegele, a professor of clinical and health psychology at University of Luxembourg in Luxembourg.

Women with weight problems were more impulsive than average in a food-related psychology test. "All addictions are similar in that the sufferer craves to excess the feel-good buzz they receive from chemical neurotransmitters produced when they eat, gamble, smoke, have sex or take drugs," Voegele added.

For the test, images of fatty or sweet food (a burger, cake or pizza etc.) and non-food items (a sock, a mug or a shoe etc.) were flashed at random on a computer screen.

The women were instructed to click as fast as possible on either the food or non-food pictures. Tests were run three hours after eating and just after meals.

The researchers found that several women with weight problems said the test had provoked food craving, regardless of how recently they had eaten.


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