Nutrition News

Nutrition for Addiction Recovery Video

Nutrition for Addiction Recovery Video

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

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.

We will only send out one video per month and you can unsubscribe at any time!

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

  • The Controversies of Food Addiction
  • Microbiome and Mental Health
  • Social Media and Body Image
  • ADHD and Disordered Eating
  • Trauma and Eating Disorders
  • Impulsivity and Decision Making
  • Night Eating Syndrome
  • Food Politics


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.

Learn more about Nutrition for Addiction Recovery


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DEFANG Video by David Wiss MS RDN

The Disordered Eating Food Addiction Nutrition Guide (DEFANG) was published in November 2016 in the Journal of Eating and Weight Disorders. The paper was designed to help sort out some of the confusion around food addiction, as it relates to eating disorder treatment. This video is a very brief summary of the paper. The paper has been published with open access to feel free to download it HERE.

DEFANG Abstract

Although not formally recognized by the DSM- 5, food addiction (FA) has been well described in the sci- entific literature. FA has emerged as a clinical entity that is recognized within the spectrum of disordered eating, par- ticularly in patients with bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder and/or co-occurring addictive disorders and obe- sity. Integrating the concept of FA into the scope of dis- ordered eating has been challenging for ED treatment professionals, since there is no well-accepted treatment model. The confusion surrounding the implications of FA, as well as the impact of the contemporary Westernized diet, may contribute to poor treatment outcomes. The purpose of this review is twofold. The first is to briefly explore the relationships between EDs and addictions, and the second is to propose a new model of conceptualizing and treating EDs that incorporates recent data on FA. Since treatment for EDs should vary based on individual assessment and diagnosis, the Disordered Eating Food Addiction Nutrition Guide (DEFANG) is presented as a tool for framing treatment goals and helping patients achieve sustainable recovery.

DEFANG Fig. 1 Download

Do you have thoughts about food addiction that you want to share with David Wiss?

Do you think the food addiction framework is not valid?

Do you believe that this information conflicts with eating disorder treatment?

What do you think are the next steps in establishing the addiction framework around food?

Email your thoughts to:

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PhD Public Health

David Wiss is in the Process of Earning his PhD Public Health from UCLA in the Department of Community Health Sciences!

His Personal Statement has been included here:

I am a working Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with an academically focused private practice specializing in patients with challenging eating and substance use disorders. In addition, I supervise several educational groups at various addiction treatment centers throughout the Los Angeles area. My interest in this unique patient population led me to develop specialized dietary curriculum for people in early recovery. Currently, there are no “best practice” protocols. To this end, I am pursuing a PhD in Community Health Sciences in order to improve the impact of nutrition interventions in patients with various addictions, as well as develop curriculum for clinical practices on a larger scale. My overall aim is to reduce disordered eating in early recovery and to improve the quality of life for patients with disabling addictive disorders.

Introducing the concept of food and nutrition into an addiction treatment program is not an easy task. Many patients in early recovery are not ready for multiple health behavior changes, since most are simply trying to get past the immediate crisis of addiction and the associated life adjustments of abstinence. In fact, sobriety can magnify pre-existing dysfunctional eating behavior. Many patients began using drugs and alcohol in their early teens, and never developed a healthy relationship to food, and may have damaged their gut microbiota through the use of alcohol, pills, opiates, and other substances, creating significant barriers to nutrition interventions. Most are unaware of the links between nutrition and recovery. Meanwhile, an increasing number of people in recovery have reported that the inclusion of healthful food as a healing modality has been beneficial for their overall mood and mental acuity. In several of the treatment centers where I work, patients are surprised when they discover that making small nutritional changes (such as drinking water or eating breakfast) can impact energy levels, overall sense of wellness, and optimism about being sober.

Unfortunately, traditional medical insurance plans do not cover nutrition services for addiction recovery. This is in part due to a lack of objective evidence about the efficacy of nutrition interventions in addiction recovery. My goal is to develop evidence-based guidelines for nutrition interventions in substance use disorders, which will hopefully lead to new policies and protocols for nutrition standards. Specifically, I am proposing an investigation of various measurable outcomes such as weight changes, nutritional status, inflammatory markers, length of abstinence, quality of life, and self-efficacy, in individuals receiving nutrition education and life skills training (shopping, cooking) compared to individuals who do not (control group).

My Master’s Thesis “Nutrition and Substance Abuse” was a multidisciplinary (psychologists and dietitians) investigation into the special needs of patients with addiction/alcoholism in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. The survey study examined differences between veterans (who were engaged in recovery) with a history of alcohol or drug abuse and those with no history, all of who were enrolled in a weight management program. One of the significant findings in the study was that individuals with a history of substance abuse reported more difficulty controlling their eating when they were depressed. This research was published internally and awarded the Carrie Latt Wiatt Scholarship by the Family & Consumer Sciences (Nutrition) department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

During my dietetic internship year, I spent four transformative months at UCLA Medical Center where I worked with the eating disorders unit. During this time, I also began to teach nutrition classes at local addiction treatment settings. It quickly became apparent that patients in most treatment centers do not receive targeted nutrition education. After graduation from CSUN in 2013, I opened a private practice to treat patients with addictions, eating disorders, and those struggling with weight management, body image, and mental health issues. I founded Nutrition in Recovery to offer a range of nutrition and wellness services to private sector addiction treatment centers. At this time I was also on staff at Breathe Life Healing Centers, developing their binge eating disorder program as Director of Nutrition. After years of working in the field, I feel ready to pursue a PhD degree at UCLA.

Since becoming a registered dietitian, I have continued to be involved in research and education. I have published two book chapters and two peer-reviewed journal articles on eating disorders and addictions. In the past three years I have chaired five webinars sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on topics related to my area of expertise.  Additionally, I serve as a consultant reviewer for the Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. From 2012-2014 I was a member of the executive committee of the Behavioral Health Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group where I gained insight into the role of nutrition in the treatment of mental illness. As the Research and Grants Committee Chair for the Los Angeles District (California Dietetic Association) I created a video series about the importance (and lack) of research in dietetics. Since that time I have felt a strong determination to “be the change I wish to see” in the nutrition field, which means conducting original studies using validated research methodology. I am seeking the training and support from the UCLA School of Public Health to achieve these goals.

Personal career highlights of mine have included teaching opportunities at conferences, hospitals, and at local universities. In my private practice I am a preceptor for numerous dietetic interns, where I can “give back” as well influence the future of my field. For several years I have volunteered at the United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles teaching nutrition courses to post-guilty-plea defendants in the conviction and sentence alternatives (CASA) program. This work with underserved populations in the criminal justice system has created a sense of purpose and duty that I would like to develop further. This experience has led me to believe that an academic career would complement and fulfill my life’s mission: to use nutrition to help people.

I am also proud to be a co-founder of an organization called Dietitians for Professional Integrity. We are a group of concerned dietetic professionals looking to advance our profession and credential through advocacy for greater financial transparency and ethical sponsorships within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Our efforts and dialogues with other dietitians and our Academy leadership have spurred policy changes regarding industry-sponsored educational sessions at our annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. We believe the American public deserves nutrition information that is not tainted by the questionable interests of the food industry, who funds most of the nutrition research in the United States. With publication bias and ways of spinning conclusions in favor of their agenda (profit), the food industry has succeeded in undermining public health initiatives to reduce intake of high-energy foods with very little nutritional value. There is more advocacy work to be done and I am highly motivated to conduct innovative research within the emerging framework of food addiction. From my perspective, the Community Health Sciences Program at UCLA offers me an excellent pathway to advance these goals.

Another goal in obtaining a doctorate from the UCLA Department of Community Health Sciences is to broaden my knowledge and skill set in order to evaluate and interpret complex data using statistical analysis. Advanced graduate training will improve my ability to think in a formal, logical, and structured way, and to assess needs on a population level. In recent years, research that demonstrates a connection between food and addiction has gained momentum and increased public attention. I have been called to contribute to our understanding of how brain chemistry, hormones, and gut microbes influence human behavior. My aim is to bridge this gap and establish a better scientific basis for nutrition in recovery. Traditionally, we have looked at eating disorders as individual (and family) issues, but now is the opportunity to further understand them as public health issues.

Addiction and eating disorders are both major public health problems worldwide. There are numerous questions that relate to food, addiction, eating disorders, and recovery that remain unanswered. Can nutrition be used to improve addiction outcomes? What is the best practice for treating co-occurring eating and substance use disorders? How can dietitians help with recovery from mental health disorders? What policy implications can address food addiction on a societal level? What new programs can be developed for underserved populations that struggle with addiction and nutrition-related challenges?

The UCLA School of Public Health will provide an opportunity to investigate some of these questions, which will hopefully translate into more effective health policies that could impact the way we treat addiction and eating disorders. In order for nutrition in addiction treatment to improve, we need strong leadership and unbiased data. My goal in pursuing a doctorate in public health is to produce data that guides treatment. I am confident that my work in this area will create strong evidence to improve funding for nutrition services, creating opportunities for dietitians to work in publicly-funded as well as underserved addiction treatment centers. Dietitians desperately need more evidence of effectiveness in order to advance our profession. With new information it may be possible to change the way we approach addiction treatment, but more importantly to improve the recovery process amidst the current addiction crisis.

PhD Public Health

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Healthful Herbs and Spices

Healthful herbs and spices

Healthful Herbs and Spices

Many of us have eaten a variety of herbs and spices throughout our life without much thought about it. What you may not know is that in addition to adding flavor and making our food more interesting, some healthful herbs and spices have a number of health benefits. In fact, some of your favorite spices that you enjoy on a daily basis may be helping to fight illness, boost energy, and add years to your life!


Ginger has been used for centuries for its perceived medical benefits. It has shown to have a powerful anti-inflammatory impact on the body, largely due compounds called gingerols. Individuals that struggle with rheumatoid arthritis have experienced a reduction in related pain when including ginger into their routine. In addition, ginger may have a positive impact on gastrointestinal distress and can help relieve symptoms associated with nausea. A simple and delicious way to enjoy fresh ginger is to make tea with it. Just place a small amount in a cup, pour boiling water over, and let steep for 4-5 minutes.


Garlic is used in numerous cuisines around the world and is something that almost everyone has tried at some point in their life. In fact, there is evidence that Ancient Egyptians cultivated garlic as far back as 5,000 years ago. When eaten regularly, it can have a dramatic impact on the cardiovascular system. The “stinking rose” as it is sometimes referred to helps to protect blood vessels and blood cells from oxidative and inflammatory stress. This can assist in reducing chances of atherosclerosis and heart attack. Fresh garlic can be enjoyed in a countless number of ways to add depth of flavor. It is the perfect addition to marinades, salad dressings, soups, and stews.


Cinnamon has a host of health benefits when eaten regularly, in large part due to a compound called cinnamaldehyde. This compound is also responsible for giving cinnamon its distinct flavor and aroma. Some research has shown cinnamon to have a positive impact on insulin resistance and may have an anti-diabetic effect when enjoyed consistently. It is able to help decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal by interfering with several digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates. Cinnamon is easy to include in your routine and makes a delicious tea when combined with ginger. Sprinkle some on sweet potatoes and roast in the oven for an incredible treat!


Turmeric has a distinct flavor and color and is used by a variety of different cultures in a number of different recipes. It contains a compound called curcumin that has been proven to contain powerful anti-cancer properties. In particular, it has been studied for its impact on cancers of the digestive tract. In addition, it is useful in the fight against Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Turmeric can be enjoyed in a variety of ways including salad dressings, tea, and other ethnic dishes.

Going Forward

Healthful herbs and spices not only provide delicious flavor to our meals and snacks, but also a host of health benefits. The inclusion of spices in cooking can also help to reduce the need for added salt or sugar. Find your favorite herbs and spices and include them regularly!

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Addiction Recovery Revolution Summit

Addiction Recovery Revolution

Addiction Recovery Revolution

Hello Friends! Addiction Recovery Revolution Summit is here!

I recently participated in an online seminar series, Addiction Recovery Revolution, that will go live March 4th!

I will be featured on March 8, 2017 and was honored to be included with 29 other Doctor’s, Holistic Healers, Therapist, and Activists.

With Addiction afflicting a whopping 32% of our population the seminar will present you with insight and knowledge from experts in the field.

Addiction Recovery Revolution will offer innovative methods to help you STOP addiction and stay in recovery. All the speakers will present you with viable solutions. This is a FREE seminar and gift giveaway! You will be inspired….I promise! Please log on and receive my free gift and be inspired.

Join the Revolution!

Addiction Recovery Revolution

Learn innovative methods to help stop addiction and keep you in recovery.

Are you seeking recovery?

Have a loved one who is suffering from addiction? Maybe you want to strengthen your recovery!

My desire is to change the statistics of addiction recovery one person at a time! By joining the summit I believe we are on the path. You have entered a room filled with individuals who are saying, “It can be done, follow me.” I can’t wait to share with you all these amazing people that are scientists, doctors, healers and activists who are all offering hope. This mission is not mine alone. It is a revolution and I have a reserved a seat for you to listen to some of the innovators within the recovery community! Listen for yourself, or your loved ones. I pray that you open your mind to expand your definition of recovery, NEVER stop fortifying your healing journey but continue to learn and grow. Most of all NEVER GIVE UP! There something from each professional that can be of service to you or your family. Act on what feels right for you. Please share the message of the summit and extend your hand to others still afflicted with the darkness. This is a FREE seminar with no obligation other than an open mind. We look forward to seeing you soon!

David Wiss, MS, RDN, CPT, offers how nutrition can be a key component to long-term recovery! Nutrition in Recovery aims to bridge the gap between nutrition and addiction recovery. Through informing and encouraging behavior change with respect to food!

Learn why nutrition is imperative to good brain function. How whole food can offer the edge necessary for long-term recovery.

Click HERE for the interview!

Click HERE for your free gift!

Join us in the Facebook group! We want to hear your Ah ha moments.


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Public Health Private Profits Conference

Public Health Private Profits

Public Health Private Profits One Day Conference April 1, 2017

The Los Angeles District (LAD) of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics presents our first annual conference on April 1, 2017 at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The conference is titled “Public Health and Private Profits: A Dialogue about Critical Topics Shaping the Future of the Dietetic Profession”

We are beyond excited to host this event to discuss issues which we feel are of paramount importance to our profession, and are not being adequately addressed at the state and national conferences.

The event is approved for 5.5 CPEs for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

Learning Codes Covered:

1050: ETHICS

 Public Health Private Profits

Topics which will be discussed include:

Corporate Sponsorship


Food Addiction


Opening Keynote:

Michele Simon, JD, MPH “Avoiding Conflicts of Interest When Working in the Public’s Interest”

Corporate Sponsorship:

Bonnie Y. Modugno, MS, RDN, CLE “Selling my Time, not my Integrity”

Andy Bellatti, MS, RDN “Public-Private Partnerships: A Political Slippery Slope”


Amanda Maxham, PhD “Why GMOs are a Good Thing”

Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS, RDN “GMOs: What Dietitians Need to Know”

Food Addiction:

Peter Pressman, MD “Food Addiction: Clinical Reality or Mythology”

David A. Wiss, MS, RDN “Food Addiction: What Dietitians Need to Know”

Register for the Conference HERE

Conference Website HERE


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Health Benefits of Berries

Health Benefits of Berries

When it comes to fruit, berries may just pack the largest nutritional punch. Not only do they come in a wide variety of delicious flavors, but they also have a enormous assortment of health benefits. So the question is, just how many different berries are you including in your routine regularly? The health benefits of berries cannot be understated.


Quite often, people associate oranges with vitamin C. While oranges are a wonderful source of this vitamin, did you know that strawberries contain a higher amount per weight? Vitamin C is critical to many of our body’s functions, including producing serotonin. This neurotransmitter plays an important role in the health of our nervous system, digestive system, and immune system.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to block some of the damage that is caused by free radicals in the body. The buildup of these substances over time contributes to accelerated aging and conditions such as heart disease and cancer. It is one of the water soluble vitamins, which means the body does not keep it stored. Without a large amount in storage, it is important to continually supply the body with this important vitamin.


Behind strawberries, blueberries are the second most popular berry in the United States. In terms of their nutritional benefits, they are certainly close to the top. These tasty berries are high in vitamin K, which is best known for its important role in blood clotting.

In addition to blood clotting, this important vitamin is also vital for bone health. In fact, individuals that are vitamin K deficient have been shown to have a higher risk of bone fracture. People that have higher levels of vitamin K in their bodies have greater bone density, and some studies have shown that osteoarthritis is associated with low vitamin K levels in the body.

Blueberries are easy to enjoy in a variety of ways. They are a perfect topping for yogurt and kefir or are the perfect addition to any smoothie. Throw some on top of a salad with balsamic vinegar and you have a real treat!


Raspberries are delicious and packed with a large amount of healthful compounds called phytonutrients. These naturally occurring chemicals are found in plants and perform a variety of functions including protecting them from harmful UV radiation and insect attack. In short, the same compounds that help to keep plants alive help to keep you alive and healthy as well!

Some of the phytonutrients and antioxidants in raspberries may have anti-cancer benefits. In animal research, the compounds found in these berries have been shown to have a positive impact on cervical, breast, and prostate cancers. In an almost science fiction-like finding, it is thought that raspberry nutrients may decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that tell these types of cells to begin the process of apoptosis, or programmed death. This is exciting news in the fight against cancer.

What Are You Waiting For?

The truth is, you should be eating more berries than you probably are. The health benefits seem almost endless, and with almost no down side, they should be a staple of your food plan. When it comes to these powerful foods, there is quite a wide variety of taste and texture to choose from. Try as many different kinds as you can and find a favorite. Your body and mind will thank you for adding the health benefits of berries.

Health Benefits of Berries

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Food Addiction in Appetite Journal

David Wiss MS RDN article on Food Addiction in Appetite Journal

Appetite Journal

“Preclinical Evidence for the Addiction Potential of Highly Palatable Foods: Current Developments Related to Maternal Influence”

David A. Wiss, Kristen Criscitelli, Mark Gold, Nicole Avena


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.

Thoughts from Mr. Wiss…

It was quite an honor to work with Dr. Mark Gold and Dr. Nicole Avena, who are both considered pioneers in the area of food addiction research. To describe Food Addiction in Appetite Journal is considered a major contribution to the field. Excited to see what the next publication will be!

Full article available HERE

Another recent article by David Wiss titled “Incorporating Food Addiction into Disordered Eating: The Disordered Eating Food Addiction Nutrition Guide (DEFANG) available for download HERE

Food Addiction



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Wiss DEFANG (Download)

Incorporating Food Addiction into Disordered Eating: The Disordered Eating Food Addiction Nutrition Guide (DEFANG)

David A. Wiss, MS, RDN; Nutrition in Recovery LLC
Timothy D. Brewerton, MD, DFAPA, FAED, DFAACAP, HCEDS; Medical University of South Carolina

DEFANG Abstract

Although not formally recognized by the DSM- 5, food addiction (FA) has been well described in the sci- entific literature. FA has emerged as a clinical entity that is recognized within the spectrum of disordered eating, par- ticularly in patients with bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder and/or co-occurring addictive disorders and obe- sity. Integrating the concept of FA into the scope of dis- ordered eating has been challenging for ED treatment professionals, since there is no well-accepted treatment model. The confusion surrounding the implications of FA, as well as the impact of the contemporary Westernized diet, may contribute to poor treatment outcomes. The purpose of this review is twofold. The first is to briefly explore the relationships between EDs and addictions, and the second is to propose a new model of conceptualizing and treating EDs that incorporates recent data on FA. Since treatment for EDs should vary based on individual assessment and diagnosis, the Disordered Eating Food Addiction Nutrition Guide (DEFANG) is presented as a tool for framing treatment goals and helping patients achieve sustainable recovery.

DEFANG Fig I (Download)

This publication is Open Access and can be viewed and downloaded online HERE

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David Wiss YouTube Interview

David Wiss YouTube Interview

Liv’s Recovery Kitchen interviews David Wiss, of Nutrition in Recovery. Liv delves into how nutrition can impact recovery from addiction and alcoholism. David provides a very insightful overview into how to adopt a realistic approach to nutrition, the prevalence of disordered eating, the adoption of substance-seeking behaviours in recovery and his new food group. Spend 20 minutes on another incredible David Wiss YouTube interview.

Liv’s YouTube Channel HERE

Liv’s Recipes HERE


Other topics in this YouTube Video:

Proper Nutrition Messaging

Making Small Changes

Beans, Nuts, Seeds

Food Addiction

Eating Disorders

Body Image

Male Concerns

Exercise in Recovery

Liv's Recovery Kitchen

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