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Clinical Food Addiction Is Not Associated with Development of Metabolic Complications in Liver Transplant Recipients.

  • Saab, Sammy1, 2
  • Sikavi, Cameron2
  • Jimenez, Melissa2
  • Viramontes, Matthew2
  • Allen, Ruby2
  • Challita, Youssef2
  • Mai, Michelle2
  • Esmailzadeh, Negin2
  • Grotts, Jonathan1
  • Choi, Gina1, 2
  • Durazo, Francisco1, 2
  • El-Kabany, Mohamed1, 2
  • Han, Steven-Huy1, 2
  • Moreno, Elisa3
  • 1 Departments of Medicine, the University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
  • 2 Departments of Surgery, the University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
  • 3 Departments of Psychiatry, the University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Published Article
Journal of clinical and translational hepatology
Publication Date
Dec 28, 2017
DOI: 10.14218/JCTH.2017.00023
PMID: 29226100


Background and Aims: Given the increased risk of post-transplant metabolic syndrome (PTMS; defined by hypertension, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia), we aimed to identify the potential role of food addiction in the development of metabolic complications in the post-liver transplant population. Methods: Inclusion criteria included adult liver transplant recipients followed at our institution between June 2016 and November 2016. Participants were administered a demographic survey as well as the Yale Food Assessment Scale 2.0, a 35-item questionnaire used to assess frequency of food addiction in accordance with the DSM-V guidelines of substance use disorders. Demographic and clinical data were collected. Results: Our study included 236 liver transplant recipients (139 males, 97 females). The median (interquartile range [IQR]) BMI of participants was 26.8 kg/m2 (24.2, 30.4), and median (IQR) time since transplantation was 50.9 months (19.6, 119.8). The prevalence rates of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes mellitus were 54.7%, 25.0% and 27.1%, respectively. Twelve participants (5.1%) were found to have a diagnosis of food addiction. A diagnosis of food misuse was made in 94 (39.8%) of the transplant recipients. Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with prior data that indicate high prevalence of metabolic complications among liver transplant recipients. Food addiction was not predictive of metabolic complications within this population. Nevertheless, we found that this population was at high risk of demonstrating symptoms of food misuse, and they were not likely to appreciate the risks of pathologic patterns of eating. Given the increasing risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in this population, efforts should be made to identify risk factors for the development of PTMS.

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