Are you seduced by foods? | Tera Fazzino, PhD

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Ever wondered why you just can’t stop eating certain foods? Psychologist Tera Fazzino, PhD has the answer. Join me in Episode #298 to discover the science of hyper-palatable foods, how they’re making their way into your kitchen, and where they overlap with the tobacco industry in this insight-packed conversation.

“Almost 70% of the food supply in the United States is hyperpalatable.”

Dr Tera Fazzino is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment at the University of Kansas. Renowned for developing the first standardised definition of hyper-palatable foods, her work bridges clinical psychology and nutrition, making her an authoritative figure on the addictive nature of certain foods and their impact on obesity. Dr Fazzino’s insights are pivotal in understanding the challenges and solutions in our food environment, and she brings this knowledge to today’s conversation.

“…part of the problem of having an environment that is so saturated with these foods, is that they’re just so easy to get to… it’s the majority of our food supply.”

You’ll leave this episode with a better understanding of why hyper-palatable foods are so prevalent, what to look out for, and how you can better navigate the grocery store. Dr Fazzino also breaks down the policy-level change she would want to see to create a healthier food landscape for everyone.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Introduction to Hyperpalatable Foods and Brain Reward Systems (00:00)
  • Exploring Brain Reward Mechanisms Triggered by Hyperpalatable Foods (02:45)
  • The Influence of Hyperpalatable Foods on Brain Reward Functions (12:58)
  • Food Addiction Explored: A Psychological or Physical Issue? (17:01)
  • Identifying Susceptibility Factors in Food Addiction (20:59)
  • The Impact of Mental Health on Consuming Hyperpalatable Foods (23:44)
  • Comprehensive Analysis of Hyperpalatable Foods and Their Ingredients (26:38)
  • The Critical Role of Sodium in Food Palatability Enhancement (30:27)
  • Debating the Reduction of Sodium Consumption: Benefits and Challenges (35:26)
  • The Intriguing Connection Between the Tobacco and Food Industries (45:52)
  • Are All Ultra-Processed Foods Created Equal? A Critical Examination (58:24)
  • Identifying Hyperpalatable Foods Commonly Found in Homes (1:04:48)
  • Protein’s Interplay with Hyperpalatable Foods: A Detailed Study (1:09:39)
  • Examining Caloric Intake and Overeating Tendencies with Hyperpalatable Foods (1:16:48)
  • Unveiling the Hidden Mechanics of Hyperpalatability: Satisfaction vs. Energy Density (1:19:18)
  • Practical Strategies for Managing Hyperpalatable Food Consumption (1:22:59)
  • Global Health Impacts of Hyperpalatable Foods: An In-Depth Review (1:28:39)
  • Future Trends in Food Policy and Public Health Concerning Hyperpalatable Foods (1:33:18)
  • Replacing Sugar with Artificial Non-Nutritive Sweeteners: Pros and Cons (1:41:11)
  • Concluding Remarks on Hyperpalatable Foods and Health (1:44:14)

Thank you to Dr Tera Fazzino for joining us and sharing her invaluable insights in this episode. Her expertise sheds light on the complex world of hyper-palatable foods and their profound impact on our health and eating habits. I hope this conversation not only helps you understand the science behind food addiction but also empowers you with practical knowledge to make healthier choices in your daily life.

Learn more about Dr Tera Fazzino here, and discover her lab at

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More about Tera Fazzino, PhD

Dr Tera Fazzino is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment at the University of Kansas. She is a behavioural psychologist who conducts scientific research on obesity, highly rewarding foods, and addiction processes. Her work has contributed to the fields of clinical psychology, public health, and nutrition epidemiology. She developed the first standardized definition of hyper-palatable foods, which have commonalities with other substances such as alcohol and nicotine.

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