Many of the clinical criteria for addiction/dependence focus on the consequences of continued use or on failure to discontinue use. If there are no negative consequences of eating food and there are no failed attempts to discontinue eating large amounts or certain types of food, there is no diagnosis of addiction. On this basis, most healthy, normal-weight people would not be diagnosed as food addicts and food would not be considered an addictive substance, because, for the most part, it produces positive rather than negative consequences.
Food addiction diagnoses are positively associated with BMI and, therefore, increased in obese individuals and even more in obese patients with BED. Moreover, this relationship between body mass and food addiction may be non-linear. Interestingly, participants who received a food addiction diagnosis did not differ in body mass from non-food addicted participants. This result could also be confirmed in a sample of obese individuals seeking bariatric surgery where food addicted participants (40%) did not differ in BMI from non-food addicted participants.