Dr. Nicole Avena

Acclaimed neuroscientist and an expert on nutrition, diet, and food addiction

  • About Nicole Avena

    Dr. Nicole Avena is a world-renowned neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet, and addiction. Dr. Avena’s research suggests that overeating of palatable foods can produce changes in the brain and behavior that resemble addiction—findings that have jump-started an entire new field of exploration and discovery related to the obesity epidemic. She has published over 50 scholarly journal articles, and her latest book, Why Diets Fail, reveals definitive proof that sugar is addictive and presents a science-based plan to stop cravings. Her research achievements have been honored by several prestigious professional groups, including the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    Dr. Avena has addressed an impressive array of audiences, including pharmaceutical companies, diabetes prevention groups, food industry marketing executives, nutrition groups, and obesity education groups. She speaks with extensive knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, including sugar addiction and cravings, the reasons why most diets fail, and the emotional consequences of overeating. Her lectures integrate the psychological, social, and biological factors that contribute to unhealthy eating habits, and offer research-based ways to promote healthy eating and body weight in adults and children. As an internationally renowned expert, Dr. Avena has contributed to articles in Men’s HealthPsychology TodayBloomberg Businessweek, and WebMD.com, and she has lent her expertise to the discussion on New York City’s ban on large sodas.

    Dr. Nicole Avena 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.

  • Speaking Topics

    Food Addiction and Obesity

    A lecture that describes how highly caloric and palatable foods hijack the reward system in the brain, which can result in excessive overeating and obesity that is resistant to traditional dieting. This lecture also suggests ways to avoid and recover from food addiction.

    The Psychology of Healthy Eating

    A lecture on the psychological principles (emotional, social, and cognitive) that underlie eating behavior, and how in our modern society psychology can easily (and often unknowingly) lead us to eat in ways that are unhealthy. An understanding of this process will allow individuals to avoid unhealthy eating patterns and to make more sensible food choices.

    Raising Children to Eat Right

    A valuable lecture for parents, teachers, and kids that helps us understand the nature of unhealthy eating among children. Despite coaxing and education, many kids still prefer to eat unhealthy food. This lecture explains the dangers of obesity in youth into adulthood, and explores some of the common psychological and nutritional mistakes that parents make raising their children that can inadvertently promote unhealthy eating, and offers solutions on how to fix them. This lecture can also be modified and targeted toward children/teens.

  • Video

  • Praise for Nicole Avena

    Praise for Why Diets Fail (Because You’re Addicted to Sugar)

    Sugar, fat, salt—a daunting combination. Avena and Talbott do an excellent job of analyzing the role that sugar plays in the obesity epidemic.

    David A. Kessler, MD, author of The End of Overeating

    Why Diets Fail describes the new science of sugar addiction and teaches us how we can use it to beat cravings and overeating—even in our modern food environment, which is plagued by sugary, hyperpalatable fake food. This book teaches you not only to think differently about how you eat, but also shows you how to do it.

    Sara Gottfried, MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure
  • Books by Nicole Avena

  • Media About Nicole Avena

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Nicole Avena travels from Princeton, NJ and Orlando, FL

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