Food Addiction From Processed Foods is a Serious Problem
It’s a serious problem and needs to be addressed right away. Or, it will claim more lives and give millions of people more health problems. Addiction to food is commonly characterized as the inability to stop eating certain foods. It has been shown that people who are addicted to junk food, have the same properties of a person who is addicted on drugs. (1)
Now, you can see why food addiction is a severe problem. This might not be a new revelation for the people who are struggling with this issue. However, there is a lack of awareness of this issue. People assume that people are overweight by choice. This isn’t true. Some people are addicted to certain foods and cannot stop. These individuals actually develop withdrawal symptoms. Think about that.
There are studies that are currently ongoing, that will determine the connection between people who are addicted to drugs; and people who are addicted to food. Current data suggests that both drug addicted individuals and food addicted individuals are extremely similar. It’s been shown that people who are addicted to drugs and food, also share very similar withdrawal/tolerance effects. (2) This is a very interesting revelation and more research will show the effects of food addiction.
It’s important to make the distinction that all overweight people may not be addicted to food. However, it’s reasonable to assume that many of these people in this category are. And, there are of course people outside of this group that are addicted to unhealthy foods.
Obesity is skyrocketing to dangerous levels. The number of obese people have increased by 100%+ since two to three decades ago. As of this year, nearly half of this country are overweight. Nearly 10% of these individuals are obese. All of this data is from the World Health Organization. (3) Based on this data, it is an undeniable fact that the number of overweight people are increasing. Obesity is increasing as well.
A significant contributor to the rise of obesity is the addiction of unhealthy food. The signs of food addiction is the inability to stop eating, even if you are full. If you ever had the uncontrollable urge to eat food, even though you are full – there is a high chance that you are afflicted with food addiction.
There are two substances that have been attributed to creating this addiction. The foods are sugar and wheat.
These substances rub your brain in the right way. It produces a neurochemical called dopamine. This chemical is responsible for the feeling of pleasure. This chemical can also override the logical parts of your brain, as your body prioritizes pleasure over most things. Because of this urge for pleasure, your body will override any rational thinking associated with stopping you from eating. The more primitive parts of your brain will take over – and make you eat that cookie.
Research About Food Addiction Treatments
Here are some indicators that you can use to see if you have food addiction. If you have 50% or more of these indicators – you most definitely have a food addiction.
- You develop cravings after finishing a meal that has kept you full.
- You rationalize your cravings and think it is okay to do so.
- You eat in amounts that you never planned on doing so. Ex: Intending to eat a one slice of pizza and consuming the entire pie without thinking.
- You feel extremely stuffed to the point of pain, after eating too much of the food.
- You regret the overconsumption of the substance.
- You hide the eating that you have conducted.
- You try to regulate yourself but all attempts fail.
- Despite, knowing the negative effects of the food you are eating – you find yourself eating it anyway.
A stereotype that is often perpetuated that all you require is some more willpower and discipline, to quit the habit. Many of the people who have this condition think this as well. And, the fact is that it isn’t true. People are actually addicted to the substance and cannot stop, or risk dangerous withdrawal effects. Some people cannot operate normally if the food isn’t consumed.
Unfortunately, there’s only one way of dealing with food addiction. And, that’s to stop it completely and wait for your body to wean off the substance. People who cannot do this might have to take it in moderation. This is a common treatment for people who are addicted to cocaine or heroin.
It’s recommended remove all foods within the individual’s environment that he/she is addicted to. Make it extremely difficult for the person to obtain and consume the food. The individual will experience withdrawal effects and it is recommended that the person does something to preoccupy himself/herself.
Moderation is the next step if this is impossible to do. You’ll know signs of this when you are feeling miserable, nauseous, headaches, unable to sleep, and unable to think clearly.
Addiction in general can lead to the development of depression. Food addiction is no different. (4)
It also leads to people developing low self-esteem as well. Studies have shown that overweight children are often the victims of bullying. They are made fun of because of their weight. (5)
Unfortunately, food addiction is a factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diseases that affect cognition, and some forms of cancer.
Moderation can work but it isn’t recommended. It’s extremely easy to slip back into the addiction. It’s really easy to overeat as a result.
The first step to dealing with addiction is to actually recognize that you have a problem and are in fact actually addicted. This can be a difficult thing to do for many addicted individuals. Read the list above and see if those factors apply to you. Be honest with yourself. If you are aware of the problem, you can then take steps to address and counter it. There are some foods that can trigger overeating. Avoid them. (6)
It can be quite difficult to quit as is most other cases of addiction. There are support groups available such as Food Addicts Anonymous and various other organizations. There are many online resources out there that allow you to join a community who are experiencing the same problems you are. This can assist you with coping with your addiction.
It’s important to accept the problem that you have. That it’s a part of you and a way of life. That it’s something to address and can be countered. Forget the notions that all you need is willpower and discipline. The best method to stop food addiction is stopping it completely.