Food Addiction: Could You Be An Addict?
Did you ever consider you might be addicted to food?
We’re used to hearing about drug and alcohol addictions, cigarettes, and even addictions to on-line gaming, gambling and sex. But turns out you can be addicted to almost anything. Consider that an addiction can be defined as:
“The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.”
Obviously, you can indeed be addicted to food!
Think about it. Do you tend to eat more than usual when faced with certain situations? Do find yourself eating certain foods and can’t seem to stop yourself?
Food addiction has various causes that individuals may not even be aware of, even when it’s causing their problem.
Causes for Food Addiction
Depression can be one cause of food addiction. Sad or stressed-out individuals often turn to comfort foods to feel better. Comfort foods are so named because most of them contain oxytocin – the hormone which is said to bring balance and health to a person’s physiological state. Foods rich in oxytocin include foods that are high in protein like eggs, beans, and chicken. It can also be found in bananas and chocolates.
Food addiction can also be caused by stress. Alongside alcohol and cigarettes, individuals that are stressed out often eat a lot more than a relaxed individual, similar to a person suffering from depression. Every individual has their own favorite comfort food and most of the time, these favorites are not nutrient-rich foods.
It is also said that low serotonin levels can lead to food cravings. Serotonin is a hormone that’s responsible for the feelings of relaxation and pleasure. Carbohydrates supply tryptophan, a hormone that increases serotonin levels. Hence, individuals that are serotonin-deficient will most likely binge on foods that are high in carbohydrates. Foods that are high in carbohydrates include pasta, rice, potatoes, cakes, pizzas, and even dried fruits.
And believe it or not, dieting may also be a cause of food addiction. When an individual deprives himself of certain foods, he may end up binging on these foods he has been avoiding in the first place.
Food addiction in the long run, will certainly lead to health diseases such as obesity and diabetes if not controlled. This is most true if your favorite food is high-calorie, high in sugar and in sodium.
The following article written by Mandy Oaklander and recently published at Prevention.com discusses the top 10 list of addictive foods, why they deserve to be on the list, and the dangers food addiction may cause.
Food addiction: the facts and dangers
“Any dessert tonight?”
Talk about the worst words to hear from your waiter. Oh, you know you shouldn’t, but you’re no match for the smell of those fresh-baked cookies wafting from the kitchen. Why is every super-palatable food of today damn near impossible to resist?
“Nobody’s binging on spinach or broccoli,” says Ashley Gearhardt, PhD, assistant professor in the psychology department at the University of Michigan. As co-creator of Yale University’s Food Addiction Scale, she’s contributing to a growing body of research that puts “food”—or the processed chemicals that pass for food these days—in the same category as drugs of abuse.
How can a bag of chips and a sweet little snack cake turn you into an addict? Blame sugar, salt, and fat. Our bodies have not evolved to handle this over-stimulating trifecta, says Gearhardt. Long before Mrs. Fields was peddling cookies in shopping malls, sugar was a rare treat, found in fruit and guarded by stinging bees; salt was a simple garnish; and fat was a nutrient that had to be hunted or foraged. Now, processed foods often contain all three (remember the bacon ice cream sundae?)—minus the protein, fiber, and water that help your body handle them.”
Whether it’s done or purpose or not, it is in the best interest of big food companies to keep us addicted to the sugar, salt and fat trio. There are no big bucks to be made by merely selling fresh fruits and vegetables. No, processed foods are better income producers! So our magazines and television shows are full of ads for fattening foods… and commercials for diet products to help us get rid of the effect of all those fattening type calories!
Want to know which foods are considered the most addictive? Here’s the list according to Prevention’s article. . .
Gearhardt told us the top 10. Is your biggest weakness in the countdown?
10. White Bread
3. French Fries
1. Ice Cream
(Read the rest of the story here…)
Oaklander mentioned that Ashley Gearhardt, PhD, assistant professor in the psychology department at the University of Michigan has classified processed, junk and comfort foods today, in the same category as drugs of abuse.
Fast Food Proven Addictive!
It’s very alarming that foods can actually be of the same level of addiction with drugs. The top 10 most addictive foods so consumers are certainly foods to avoid, though it should be noted that small portions of DARK chocolate can actually be beneficial. It’s milk chocolate, where there is so much sugar added, and chocolate-coated candy bars that are the problem.
As you can see, people need to be more aware of what they eat. Food addiction, like any other addiction, is not that easy to cure. Eating less of these addictive foods or looking for alternatives to these would make for a better diet. It takes retraining your palate to enjoy nutrient-laden foods that are not pumped full of sugar, salt and fat.
It’s not always easy to change your diet and get rid of a food addiction, but it’s always worth it.
Food addiction stigma scrutinized. Yale Daily News blog Research out of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy Obesity is the first to examine the stigmatization of food addiction. In a study conducted online researchers found that while subjects viewed food addiction more favorably than other addictions and more.…
‘Feel-good food may be addictive though direct evidence has not been found. Washington Post. That’s similar to what often happens when a person is addicted to alcohol nicotine or narcotics. Conceptually it’s pretty clear that highly palatable foods can have druglike effects in the brain and can cause compulsive overuse and food addiction.…