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Dr. Nicole Avena

Condition: Research neuroscientist, Author and Expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction.

Foods I Love:

Brussels sprouts
Ahi poke
Roasted beets
Goat cheese

Foods I Avoid:

Shrimp (I’m allergic!)
Foods with added sugars
Fried Foods

My Story

Like most people, I have always been interested in eating healthy. But over the past few years, now that I am a Mom, too, I have become more and more aware of how challenging this can be because of how our modern food environment makes it very difficult to eat well. So, I have been working to help others learn about good nutrition, and equally as important, how to recognize “bad nutrition.”

In addition to being a mom, I am a research neuroscientist, author and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction. I received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Psychology from Princeton University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. I have published over 70 scholarly journal articles, as well as several book chapters and books, on topics related to food, addiction, obesity and eating disorders. I also edited the books, “Animal Models of Eating Disorders” (2012) and “Hedonic Eating” (2015), and coauthored the popular book of food and addiction called “Why Diets Fail” (Ten Speed Press). Recently I finished my new book, “What to Eat When You’re Pregnant.” My research achievements have been honored by awards from several groups including the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and my research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eating Disorders Association. I also maintain a blog, Food Junkie, with Psychology Today.

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