One size does not fit all: Understanding the five stages of ultra-processed food addiction

Vera I. Tarman
Journal of Metabolic Health | Vol 7, No 1 | a90 | DOI: | © 2024 Vera I. Tarman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2023 | Published: 22 March 2024

About the author(s)

Vera I. Tarman, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


In recent years, research has demonstrated that ultra-processed foods are highly addictive. However, there has been limited discussion on the clinical syndrome of food addiction, and how exposure to addictive foods can result in a chronic progressive syndrome, which can be further understood in five distinct stages. Understanding these stages sheds light on why diagnosis and successful treatment may vary among individuals and why a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective.


addiction; mental health; obesity; low carb; metabolic health.


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