Food Addiction

Private Practice

Nutrition in Recovery is a private practice founded by David Wiss MS RDN, who recounts:

The vision was born in 2006 ago when I got sober and used nutrition and exercise as part of my personal recovery. I had made attempts at getting sober previously, but never felt comfortable in my skin, mostly plagued by lethargy and anxiety, which left me pessimistic about sobriety. I had always assumed nutrition was about fitness and weight, which is how it is presented by society. But when I began to exercise and eat a wide range of plant foods, something dramatic happened to my mental health. There were dramatic changes in my body which served as positive reinforcement, but the real outcome was that I became optimistic and found some inner-peace. My thoughts cleared up and so did my skin. My bowel movements became regular, and my heartburn went away. I woke up feeling refreshed in the morning, and when I read recovery-related literature, it was actually sinking in. Previously it seemed as though my eyes were just skimming the page. At that point I knew that nutrition is important for recovery from addiction and wondered why no one ever told me so. From there I was able to quit smoking and became a non-competitive athlete. I can remember being extremely excited to go to the grocery store and buy fresh food to experiment with in the kitchen.

After working as a personal trainer for a few years, I was accepted into a master’s program in nutrition where I completed training to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I worked at UCLA Medical Center and gained experience with eating disorders. The field of nutrition for addiction recovery was unchartered and I started a private practice immediately after passing my exam. I have not had a slow week since. I have run groups at many different treatment facilities and have trained other dietitians to do the same. I fell in love with academic research and began publishing scientific articles. I taught myself the basics of neuroscience, nutrition-related hormones, and gastrointestinal health. With this information I was able to conceptualize eating behavior in order to create real change in the people I work with. Most of my referrals come from previous clients, and mental health professionals who have seen my work transform people. Currently I am working on my PhD in Public Health from UCLA.

I am not attached to any particular food philosophy. I do not try to convert people to eat the way I eat, although I do eat strategically without much effort. I am a believer in using whole foods and developing life skills to cook and prepare food when possible. Supplements can be helpful, but they are designed to support behavior change. I specialize in helping people to make gradual and stepwise changes in their food choices. I am an expert in nutrition but can serve the role of a coach. I look at the entire dimension of wellness: food, beverage, exercise, supplements, sleep, sunlight, etc. I am recovered, and love to help other people become the same. I spend the first hour collecting information about you and from there will have a better picture of the direction we are headed. Some people need structure, other people just need a safe place to talk about food and body. Some people need tips for grocery shopping, other people just need some accountability for their recovery. I try to find the intersection between giving my clients what they want and giving them what they need. Let’s take a journey together and see where it goes!

About Nutrition in Recovery 1

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Journal Articles by David Wiss

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles by David A. Wiss MS RDN

(ORCID Link Takes You Directly To The Articles)

Wiss, D. A., Avena, N., & Rada, P. (2018). Sugar addiction: From evolution to revolution. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9(545). doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00545

Wiss, D. A., Schellenberger, M., & Prelip, M. L. (2018). Rapid assessment of nutrition services in Los Angeles substance use disorder treatment centers. Journal of Community Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-018-0557-2

Wiss, D. A., Schellenberger, M., & Prelip, M. L. (In Press). Registered dietitian nutritionists in substance use disorder treatment centers. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2017.08.113

Wiss, D. A., Criscitelli, K., Gold, M., & Avena, N. (2017). Preclinical evidence for the addiction potential of highly palatable foods: Current developments related to maternal influence. Appetite.doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.12.019

Wiss, D. A., & Brewerton, T. B. (2016). Incorporating food addiction into disordered eating: The disordered eating and food addiction nutrition guide (DEFANG). Eating and Weight Disorders. doi:10.1007/s40519-016-0344-y

Wiss, D. A., & Waterhous, T. S. (2014). Nutrition therapy for eating disorders, substance use disorders, and addictions. In Brewerton, T. D., & Dennis, A. B., Eating disorders, substance use disorders, and addictions (pp. 509-532). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Publishing.

Specter, S. E., & Wiss, D. A. (2014). Muscle dysmorphia: Where body image obsession, compulsive exercise, disordered eating, and substance abuse intersect in susceptible males. In Brewerton, T. D., & Dennis, A. B., Eating disorders, substance use disorders, and addictions (pp. 439-457). Heidelberg, Germany:Springer Publishing.

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Is There Science to Sugar Addiction?

Is There Science to Sugar Addiction???

I know, I know, I know…food addiction and sugar addiction are controversial topics, especially in the eating disorder community, where any kind of “diet” beliefs or behaviors are viewed as harmful. I agree that many of the proponents of sugar addiction and food addiction carry a very punitive “food negative” message. Is there a way to accept the science of food addiction AND be “eating disorder friendly” at the same time??? That takes skill. One has to be able to hold multiple things true at the same time, and separate emotions and personal bias from their work. But it can be done!!! In fact, it HAS TO be done!
The revolution is now.

Our latest publication: “Sugar Addiction: From Evolution to Revolution” has been recently published in the prestigious Frontiers in Psychiatry. I will say this was the hardest peer-review I have ever gotten through! It is published OPEN ACCESS so download it HERE. For those who work with eating disorders, there is a special section to address the controversies! Enjoy! Feedback always welcomed.

Is There Science to Sugar Addiction?

Want to learn more about Food Addiction? Check out our FAQ page on it.

Want to learn more about Eating Disorders? We got that too.

Nutrition in Recovery specializes in the nutritional management of addictions, eating disorders, body image, mental health, and weight management. We offer group education and individual counseling. We love to help people finally make peace with food and exercise. Nutrition in Recovery also offers general wellness services, sports nutrition, and medical nutrition therapy for various chronic diseases, including gastrointestinal issues. Whatever brings you into our office, we are prepared to help you on your journey to recovery.

We pride ourselves on being flexible with different food philosophies. We do not believe that any single food philosophy works for all people. In fact, we think that only having one food philosophy is not scientific. We are skilled in making an individual assessment in order to figure out the best treatment approach for you. We have a team of experts at Nutrition in Recovery and can therefore get you in touch with the best person for your specific needs.

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Recent Podcasts with David Wiss

Recent Podcasts with David Wiss

Nourished Brain Solutions podcast with Sarah Thomsen Ferreria MS, MPH, RD

Mindfully Nourished Solutions: Integrative Nutrition-Gut-Brain Connection

Linking Nutrition and Addiction (recorded July 9, 2018)

This conversation covers all of the basics linking nutrition to Substance Use Disorders and to recovery. This is a great example of how much can be covered in one hour on podcasts with David Wiss.

 

The Exploding Human with Bob Nickman

Gut Health & More (recorded August 10, 2018)

This conversation discusses the significance of maintaining a healthy gut for optimal health. We talk about testing that is available, and larger public health issues. There will be more podcasts with David Wiss in the future, so stay tuned!

2014

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Conflict of Interest in Nutrition Research

Conflict of Interest in Nutrition Research

There is a growing concern about bias and conflict of interest in the nutrition research landscape. Given the influence of systematic review and meta-analysis on nutrition policy, it has been suggested that industry sponsorship can undermine the integrity of nutrition research by investing heavily in studies that support their products and skew the systematic review process [1-3]. Out of 206 articles in a 2007 search, 111 declared financial sponsorship and the odds ratio of a favorable versus unfavorable result was 7.61 when comparing articles with all industry funding to no industry funding [2]. A systematic review of systematic reviews regarding the association between SSBs and weight gain found that those reviews with conflict of interest were five times more likely to present a conclusion of no positive association than those without [4]. A search of obesity-related arguments made by the food industry in major newspapers found suggestions that industry is “part of the solution” in 33% of the articles [5]. Other themes in the reframing of obesity included that government intervention is overreaching (25%), that products are not responsible (24%), that individuals are not responsible (15%), and that obesity is not a problem (3%) [5]. Not surprisingly, similar biases stemming from study sponsorship on the relationship between artificially sweetened beverages and weight have been found [6]. Dr. Marion Nestle has argued that corporate funding of food and nutrition research can seem more like marketing than science [7]. There exists an urgent need for improved disclosure practices and refined methods for evaluating studies used in systematic reviews. Given the obesity crisis and growing food addiction problem, reducing corporate sponsors from driving research agendas should be considered both a high public health and journal editorial board priority.

For more information on Conflict of Interest in Nutrition Research, check out our Dietitians for Professional Integrity Homepage

Dietitians for Professional Integrity 2

  1. Katan, M.B., Does industry sponsorship undermine the integrity of nutrition research?PLoS Med, 2007. 4(1): p. e6.
  2. Lesser, L.I., et al., Relationship between funding source and conclusion among nutrition-related scientific articles.PLoS Med, 2007. 4(1).
  3. Lucas, M., Conflicts of interest in nutritional sciences: The forgotten bias in meta-analysis.World J Methodol, 2015. 5(4): p. 175-8.
  4. Bes-Rastrallo, M., et al., Financial conflict of interest and reporting bias regarding the association between sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: A systematic review of systematic reviews.PLoS Med, 2013. 10(12).
  5. Nixon, L., et al., “We’re Part of the Solution”: Evolution of the Food and Beverage Industry’s Framing of Obesity Concerns Between 2000 and 2012.Am J Public Health, 2015. 105(11): p. 2228-36.
  6. Mandrioli, D., C.E. Kearns, and L.A. Bero, Relationship between Research Outcomes and Risk of Bias, Study Sponsorship, and Author Financial Conflicts of Interest in Reviews of the Effects of Artificially Sweetened Beverages on Weight Outcomes: A Systematic Review of Reviews.PLoS One, 2016. 11(9): p. e0162198.
  7. Nestle, M., Corporate Funding of Food and Nutrition Research: Science or Marketing?JAMA Intern Med, 2016. 176(1): p. 13-4.
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Journal Publication: Nutrition Services in Los Angeles Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Rapid Assessment of Nutrition Services in Los Angeles Substance Use Disorder Treatment

One of our research studies “Rapid Assessment of Nutrition Services in Los Angeles Substance Use Disorder Treatment Centers” was recently published in the Journal of Community Health.

We assessed the prevalence of nutrition services in Los Angeles treatment centers and found that is was quite low! The article offers some important ideas about the addiction crisis.

Much thanks to Maria Schellenberger and Dr. Michael Prelip for their assistance with this research.

Link to article: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10900-018-0557-2
Direct download HERE

Journal Publication: Nutrition Services in Los Angeles Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of nutrition services and utilization of registered dietitian nutritionists at substance use disorder treatment centers in Los Angeles. This cross-sectional descriptive study utilized phone interviews with facilities within a 25-mile radius of the Los Angeles metropolitan area using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Services Locator to identify facilities that included a listing of substance abuse as primary focus of care (n=128). Facilities were asked if they offered any kind of nutrition services, the type of services that were offered, and the credential of the professional providing the services. We compared facilities that offered a residential level of care to those offering outpatient services only. The Fisher’s exact test was used to determine statistical significance. The study showed that only 39 sites (30.5%) offered any type of nutrition services on site, and the odds of a residential level of care offering nutrition services was 2.7 times higher than outpatient only facilities (p=0.02). Of the 39 facilities offering nutrition services, only 8 (20.5%) utilized a registered dietitian nutritionist. Overall fewer than 7% of the facilities utilized the services of a dietitian. Recovery programs for substance use disorder should consider using a registered dietitian nutritionist as a member of the treatment team, which may contribute to better clinical outcomes.

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Addiction Transfer via Nutrition During Pregnancy

Addiction Transfer via Nutrition During Pregnancy 

Ever wondered about the impact of nutrition during pregnancy? This presentation reviews the evidence from animal models.

Preclinical evidence for the addiction potential of highly palatable foods: Current developments related to maternal influence

by David Wiss, Kristen Criscitelli, Mark Gold, Nicole Avena

Abstract:

It is well established that obesity has reached pandemic proportions. Over the last four decades the

prevalence of obesity and morbid obesity have risen substantially in both men and women worldwide.

Although there are many causative factors leading to excessive weight gain including genetics and

sedentary lifestyle, the transformation of the food environment has undoubtedly contributed to the

dangerously high rates of obesity. The current food landscape is inundated with food engineered to

contain artificially high levels of sugar and fat. Overconsumption of these types of food overrides the

homeostatic mechanisms, which under normal circumstances regulate appetite and body mass, leading

to hedonic eating. Evidence from the animal literature has illustrated nutrition-influenced perturbations

that occur within the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, as well as maladaptive behavioral responses that

result from chronic ingestion of highly palatable foods. These neurobehavioral adaptations are similar to

what is observed in drugs of abuse. Recent evidence also supports that maternal exposure to these foods

is capable of provoking neurobehavioral alterations in offspring. Therefore the purpose of this review is

to summarize the current developments on the addictive potential of highly palatable foods, as well as

illuminate the impact of maternal hyperphagia and obesity on the reward-related neurocircuitry and

addiction-like behaviors in the offspring.

Journal Article HERE

Recorded webinar below!

This is a mini-webinar reviewing recent evidence of the impact of highly palatable foods on the neurodevelopment of the offspring, using animal models. The video is 10:19 and is highly recommended for those interested in brain chemistry, hormones, and epigenetics. This is a sensitive topic. Feedback is always welcome!

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Impulsivity Video

Nutrition in Recovery is thrilled to announce our new monthly newsletter! Get the latest information on Nutrition for Addiction! Check out our seventh of many videos! This video is on impulsivity!

Nutrition in Recovery is a group practice of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and other health professionals who specialize in the treatment of addictions, eating disorders, body image, mental health, as well as general wellness.

We will be sending out a monthly Newsletter summarizing the latest research linking nutrition and mental health. Each newsletter will include a short video with some helpful hints and actions you can implement to improve mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing for yourself and for your clients. You will be among the first to hear the findings and insights from cutting-edge data, and we are providing references so you can do your own research if interested.

Within the next year you can look forward to the following topics being covered:

Night Eating Syndrome

Food Politics

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Attentional Bias

Vaping (E-cig)

Bariatric Surgery

Child Nutrition

Circadian Rhythms

Men and Eating Disorders

View last month’s video on Trauma & Disordered Eating

Nutrition in Recovery

Please SIGN UP HERE so you will not miss out on this revolutionary information!

Do you know someone who might be interested in the link between nutrition and mental health or any of the topics mentioned above? Please forward this to them so they can join us and don’t keep us a secret!

Thank you for all your support as we embark on the journey of improving the health and wellbeing of our clients and their loved ones.

Have thoughts about impulsivity? Reach out to us, we would love to hear your thoughts!

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Trauma & Disordered Eating Video

Nutrition in Recovery is thrilled to announce our new monthly newsletter! Get the latest information on Nutrition for Addiction! Check out our sixth of many videos! This video is on trauma & disordered eating!

Nutrition in Recovery is a group practice of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and other health professionals who specialize in the treatment of addictions, eating disorders, body image, mental health, as well as general wellness.

We will be sending out a monthly Newsletter summarizing the latest research linking nutrition and mental health. Each newsletter will include a short video with some helpful hints and actions you can implement to improve mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing for yourself and for your clients. You will be among the first to hear the findings and insights from cutting-edge data, and we are providing references so you can do your own research if interested.

Within the next year you can look forward to the following topics being covered:

Impulsivity and Decision Making
Night Eating Syndrome
Food Politics

View last month’s video on ADHD & Disordered Eating

Monthly Newsletter

Please SIGN UP HERE so you will not miss out on this revolutionary information!

Do you know someone who might be interested in the link between nutrition and mental health or any of the topics mentioned above? Please forward this to them so they can join us and don’t keep us a secret!

Thank you for all your support as we embark on the journey of improving the health and wellbeing of our clients and their loved ones.

Have thoughts about trauma & disordered eating? Reach out to us, we would love to hear your thoughts!

Read more

Nutrition for Opioid Overdose

Nutrition for Opioid Overdose

On September 15, 2017 The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics issued a statement to the CDC regarding Nutrition Interventions and Drug Overdose Response Investigation (DORI) Data Collections. The statement was written by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist David Wiss and essentially advocates the role of nutrition for opioid overdose.

The official statement which is reproduced below can be viewed HERE

Re: Drug Overdose Response Investigation (DORI) Data Collections (Docket No. CDC-2017-0055)

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the “Academy”) appreciates the opportunity to submit comments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to the data collection published in the July 17, 2017 Federal Register regarding the Drug Overdose Response Investigation (DORI) Data Collections (Docket No. CDC-2017-0055). The Academy is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, with more than 100,000 members comprised of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered (NDTRs), and advanced-degree nutritionists. We are committed to improving the nation’s health through food and nutrition and providing medical nutrition therapy (MNT) and other nutrition counseling services to meet the health needs of all citizens, including those with eating disorders (EDs) or substance use disorders (SUD).

The Academy supports the proposed data collection as necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, particularly given the practical utility resulting from the collections. We respectfully offer recommendations below from Academy member David A. Wiss, MS, RDN, on behalf of our Behavioral Health Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group for potential improvements to the data collections and as support for the claim that nutrition can play a very important role in promoting wellness during the recovery process, thereby helping to reduce relapse and accidental overdose or death.

Eating Patterns and Substance Use Disorders

There are several studies that document substandard eating patterns during drug use, including inadequate intake leading to micronutrient deficiencies [1-6] and malnutrition [7-11]. Abnormal preference for sweetened foods and beverages have been documented in alcoholics [12-14] and other SUDs [15, 16] particularly opioids [17-25]. While micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition are often corrected by abstinence and recovery, dysfunctional eating patterns such as bingeing and night-eating are often exacerbated during sobriety. Early recovery should be considered a critical time to get nutritional support (e.g. dietary counseling) by a qualified professional such as an RDN.

The overlap between SUDs and EDs has received significant attention in the scientific literature [26-41]. Authors have recently begun to suggest that these disorders be treated concurrently rather than separately. In members’ personal experience working in both fields, patients will oscillate between treatments and are seldom treated concurrently. While it is true that RDNs are a requirement for ED treatment, there is no present requirement for RDNs in SUD treatment settings. Based on members’ experience working with SUD treatment centers, the use of RDNs is rare most likely because nutrition services are not covered by insurance for SUD. We note that the failure to address food and body image issues in SUD treatment is likely contributing to poor outcomes.

It is predictable that individuals entering treatment for SUD will find other substances to abuse, including food [42-45], caffeine [46, 47], and nicotine [46, 47]. While some would argue that it makes sense to allow unlimited access to such substances during early recovery, others believe that the lack of nutrition and health standards are contributing to poor treatment outcomes. Evidence suggests that gastrointestinal health is linked to mental health [48-51] with strong implications for anxiety and depression. Given what is known about the importance of gut health, it seems that improved health and nutrition should be considered a prime intervention for SUD recovery. RDNs in treatment settings are highly qualified to discuss health habits including caffeine and nicotine in the context of nutrition and gastrointestinal health.

Nutrition Education and Interventions During Treatment

Several studies have demonstrated links between nutrition education and positive outcomes in SUD treatment settings [52-57]. Some of the studies have suggested that nutrition education has led to reduced rates of relapse, but higher quality research with greater sample sizes are needed to confirm these findings. Given the opioid epidemic and alarming number of overdose and deaths, however, it seems unwise to wait for more data before using nutrition as an intervention strategy.

Nutrition interventions during recovery may promote abstinence and prevent or minimize the onset of chronic illness, improving resource allocation. A review article from the United Kingdom on the role of healthy eating advice as part of drug treatment in prisons concluded that “substance-misuse is a major factor in recidivism and if this could be reduced through improvement of nutritional status, it could be a cost effective means of helping to tackle this problem” [58]. Given the opioid epidemic, public health measures necessitating nutrition standards in treatment settings should be considered critical. There is a timely need for specialized nutrition expertise in SUD treatment centers, and RDNs are highly qualified for the job.

References

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  2. Hossain, K.J., et al., Serum antioxidant micromineral (Cu, Zn, Fe) status of drug dependent subjects: Influence of illicit drugs and lifestyle. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy, 2007. 2: p. 12.
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