“Imagine the last 50 years was an experiment. The food industry posed the hypothesis: Processed food is better than real food.“

With these words Professor Robert Lustig from the University of California told the story on how the consumption of processed food and sweets has doubled to one third of the total food consumption in the US.

Processed Food

The difference between processed food and real food are huge. Processed food do not have enough fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids (wild fish), micronutrients and too much Trans-fats and branched chain amino acids, Omega-6 fatty acids, additives, emulsifiers, salt and sugar.

Research has shown that out of the 600.000 items in the American food supply, 74 percent have added sugar. Furthermore, of 4.000 packaged items in the American food supply, the amount of salt is 50 percent higher than official regulations.

“In the USA, the food industry grosses $1 trillion per year – $450 billion is gross profit. In the USA, health care costs total $2.7 trillion/year – 75 percent of which is chronic metabolic diseases and 75 percent of which is preventable. Thus, $1.4 trillion/year is wasted.  We lose triple what the food industry makes,” Lustig explains.

“In conclusion, the processed food experiment has succeeded in getting the consumption of unhealthy food rising, and it has succeeded in cash flow for the companies, but it has failed dramatically when it comes to health. And there is only one answer: Real food,” said Lustig.


Obesity and eating disorders have stubbornly refused to respond to treatment since the 1990’s. This book organizes the evidence for a possible answer, i.e., that the problem could be one of addiction to processed foods. In a Processed Food Addiction (PFA) model, concepts of abstinence, cue-avoidance, acceptance of lapses, and consequences all play a role in long-term recovery. Application of these concepts could provide new tools to health professionals and significantly improve outcomes.

Processed Food Addiction: Foundations, Assessment, and Recovery describes PFA recovery concepts in detail. The material bridges the research into practical steps that health professionals can employ in their practices. It contains an evidence-based chapter on concepts of abstinence from processed foods. It rigorously describes PFA pathology according to the DSM 5 Addiction Diagnostic Criteria. It applies the Addiction Severity Index to PFA so that health practitioners can orient themselves to diagnosing and assessing PFA. It contains ground-breaking insight into how to approach PFA in children.

Because the book is evidence-based, practitioners can gain the confidence to put the controversy about food addiction to rest. Practitioners can begin to identify and effectively help their clients who are addicted to processed foods. This is a breakthrough volume in a field that could benefit from new approaches.