Assistant Professor - Mount Sinai School of Medicine

WEforum Health and Wellness Conference 2016

DR. NICOLE AVENA – Assistant Professor – Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Research Neuroscientist and nutrition, diet and addiction expert

Your Brain on Sugar: The Bitter Truth About How Sugar Causes Overeating, and How You Can Beat It

Wednesday, April 20th 11:30-12:15 PM – Oceanport Room


We have all heard that too much sugar is bad for you, but why? And what can you cut down on it? In this lecture, Dr. Nicole Avena will discuss her groundbreaking research on how sugar affects the brain, and how eating too much of it can lead to actual signs of addiction, including tolerance, withdrawal and cravings. She will also discuss the challenges we face in our modern sugar-centric food environment, and share practical tips that you can use to recognize and reduce hidden sugars in your foods.


  • The learner will be able to listen to the latest research on sugar’s effects on the brain.
  • The learner will be able to identify reported traits of sugar addiction.
  • The learner will be able to describe tips to detect and reduce hidden sugars in the diet along with how to break the cycle of overeating certain types of food.



Dr. Nicole Avena is a research psychologist and neuroscientists who is an expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction. She received a Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience from Princeton University in 2006, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University. Dr. Avena presently holds a faculty position at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She has published over 70 scholarly journal articles on topics related to diet, nutrition and overeating. Her research achievements have been honored by awards from groups including the NY Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Avena’s new book, What to Eat When You’re Pregnant, provide a comprehensive guide for women on what nutrients are key during pregnancy, and what foods you can eat to obtain them, to ensure healthy weight gain for you and healthy development for your baby. Dr. Avena’s other book, Why Diets Fail (2014, Ten Speed Press) reviews the research on food addiction and provides a way in which people can remove added sugars and carbohydrates from their diet. Dr. Avena regularly makes public speaking appearances to discuss her research and discoveries throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. She is regularly asked to speak to special-interest groups, industry groups, and schools. She has appeared on several television news programs, as well as daytime TV shows including The Doctors and The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Avena’s work has also been featured in many popular print forums, including Shape, Women’s Health, NY Times, Bloomberg Business Week, and Men’s Health. She lives in Monmouth County and is also a mom to two girls, wife, and native of New Jersey.

Dr. Avena has a blog on Psychology Today, and you can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.