Brigid Titgemeier Ms Rdn Ld Ifncp
Brigid is a functional nutrition dietitian, graduate school instructor, and functional medicine patient. Brigid’s passion for helping others use food as medicine stems from her 15 year experience of battling her own health issues and continuing to learn how to heal herself. Today, Brigid works with CEOs and executives, using personalized nutrition coaching and advanced lab testing to create optimal health. She has worked with nearly four thousand patients in her own business and as a founding dietitian of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. In addition to studying nutrition for ten years, through school, her dietetic internship and two advanced functional medicine credentialing programs, she has also trained under and worked with the leading functional medicine doctors.
Ways To Beat Your Food Addiction
And nix your stress-eating for good
Its an all-too-common scenario: You wake up in the morning swearing todays the day when youll eat clean, nourish yourself with a healthy breakfast at home, and pass up the glistening bakery goodies that tempt you every day. You make it to work without incident and then stress hitsany kind of stress, from a new project deadline to a caustic remark from your boss. A little while later, you find yourself with pastries in hand, wolfing down sugary anesthetics and wanting more. When you finally pop out of your food trance, and the reality of what youve done begins to settle in, the ensuing feelings of shame and guilt stoke your stress levels more and youre already plotting your next food fix. You wonder: Why do I keep caving to these cravings? Wheres my discipline and willpower?
This is your brain addicted to food.
Thats right. Addicted. You might tell yourself, “Im not addicted to food I just love a good sweet now and then.” Well, Im here to tell you that food addiction is real it affects more people than you know, and manufacturers actually design food products so that they are as addicting as possible. Yes, that perfect combination of salty, sweet, and savory was created to make sure you keep reaching for more. Thats why I wrote The Hunger Fix, because I want to change the game that is rigged against you.
Here are six ways to beat food addiction:
More from Prevention:How To Conquer Stress Eating
Willpower Is Not Wired Into A Persons Dna
You may tell yourself to eat processed foods in moderation and try to build up more willpower. Or you tell yourself to never eat processed foods again and try to build up more willpower. But heres whats true: you were not born with less or more willpower than your friends or family members. Willpower is not wired into a persons DNA. As Dr. Deborah Cohen says in her book a Big Fat Crisis, our willpower has not changed as a society in the last 50 years, although obesity rates have skyrocketed. But guess what has changed dramatically: our food supply. Food addiction in the 21st century mirrors alcohol addiction in the 18th century, prior to having laws that existed to protect people from these large, powerful companies.
Read Also: How To Cure Marijuana Addiction
A Culpable Food Industry
Many people believe the food industry spikes food with processed sugars and flours knowing this will lead to food addiction.
Indeed, many supermarket premade dishes contain more sugar than a bar of chocolate! The sweetness of these dishes is often hidden by an infusion of salt and spices.
In fact, some even say processed sugar is more addictive than cocaine!
I recommend you read the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.
Studies conducted on rats exposed to junk food prove the rats suffer withdrawal symptoms when the junk food is removed similar to that suffered by rats addicted to drugs or alcohol.
This was particularly the case for rats addicted to sugar. When sugar was withdrawn, the rats suffered several withdrawal symptoms: shaking, anxiety and a change in body temperature.
Scientists say youre least likely to become addicted to unprocessed natural foods such as vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds.
How To Overcome Fast Food Addiction
Nowadays, fast food is an indispensable part of the life of many people. The tendency to eat such food has led to the fact that people began to search for efficient ways to deal with this harmful habit, particularly this fast foods harmful consequences. Although there are lots of reasons why you eat unhealthy food, it is important to understand that you can get rid of this habit if you really want to. And Im here to help you today.
You May Like: Why Is Nasal Spray Addictive
Tip #: Harm Reduction
Harm reduction is a term Ive borrowed from the field of drug addiction treatment.
A classic example of harm reduction is substituting heroin for methadone.
But how does this apply to food addiction?
The answer is simple: food addicts are advised to substitute unhealthy foods for healthier alternatives.
So instead of eating chocolate throughout the day, eat cashew nuts or gluten-free chocolate.
Or instead of eating ice cream, eat frozen yogurt.
Instead of pouring white sugar on your porridge, use honey.
The examples could go on and on!
What Is Pornography Addiction
Pornography addiction is a compulsive need to view pornography despite negative consequences. While many health and psychiatric professionals do not consider compulsive porn use a true “addiction,” the signs and symptoms are often strikingly similar to those of behavioral addictions.
What separates a porn addiction from a keen interest in porn is the negative consequences of the behavior. With porn addiction, you spend an inordinate amount of time watching porn instead of interacting with others or completing important tasks. The behavior persists even if it harms your career, relationships, or state of well-being.
As the American Psychological Association notes, experts don’t agree about the effects of pornography. Proponents suggest that it can help people improve their sex lives and provide a safe outlet for desires. Opponents believe it damage relationships, contributes to sexual aggression, and creates unhealthy or destructive behaviors.
This article discusses the symptoms and causes of porn addiction. It also covers some of the treatment options that may be helpful.
Read Also: Why Am I An Addict
Tip #: Invest In Your Knowledge Of Healthy Eating
This is my #1 tip for losing weight and eating more healthy.
Clever tricks to cut down on the amount of food you eat is not as effective as learning about low carb, low calories and high nutrient eating.
Ive just waded through my personal collection of books on healthy eating and Ive included links below where you can purchase these books:
- Grains and Mains by Laura Wilson. This book is my absolute favourite. It includes many recipes for ancient grains such as millet, buckwheat, faro and pear barley
- 100 Best Gluten Free Foods by Love Food Editors
If youre looking for addiction recovery books, check out our guide on the best books on addiction recovery »
Risks For Food Addiction
Because everyone must eat to survive, anyone can develop food addiction. Overexposure to highly palatable foods can increase your risk of developing a food addictionand people who are overexposed at a young age are at an even higher risk. People who use food to cope with stress or change their mood are also at a higher risk.
Studies also show that there are genes that put people at a higher-than-average risk of developing any type of addiction. The more addictive genes a person has, the more likely they are to struggle with addiction to food, another substance or a behavior.
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Being Addicted To Games
Case Study: Mary 35 Years Old
Mary is overweight and considered clinically obese.
At an early age, Mary turned to food tobury her sorrows and to blank these insults out of her mind.
As a result, she put on more weight. This made Mary feel even worse.
Shes now dangerously overweight, and still binge eating to make her feel better.
She eats all the wrong foods to make her feel better.
Foods such as pizza, fries, ice-cream, fried chicken and milkshakes.
When Mary finishes work, she stops off at a fast food drive-through.
And when Mary returns home, she eats all the food in his fridge until she vomits.
Following episodes of binge eating, Mary feels very depressed and a strong sense of self-disgust.
What is going on?
How To Break The Junk Food Habit
Which foods are addictive?
Here are the 10 foods most associated with addictive-like eating, according to research by Ashley Gearhardt, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Michigan:
Do you find yourself craving ice cream, intoxicated by an image of french fries or unable to resist the candy jar at a co-workers desk?
Research shows youre not alone. Certain foods particularly processed foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat dont just taste good, they also can be addictive, said scientists at a UC San Francisco symposium on food and addiction.
Food addiction is still a controversial concept in the scientific community. But researchers find strong evidence that certain foods can trigger binging, craving and withdrawal, responses that are similar to those produced by addictive substances like alcohol, cocaine and tobacco.
I dont think sugar is more addicting than cocaine, but I do think sugar is addicting, said addiction expert Mark Gold, co-editor of the book Food and Addiction and keynote speaker at UCSFs Oct. 27 Sugar, Stress, Environment, and Weight Symposium.
Take heart, consumers. As with other addictive substances, you can break free of your cravings. Follow these tips from experts to cut down on sugar and break your junk food habit:
Don’t Miss: Why Do Heroin Addicts Itch
Is Being Addicted To Food An Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder
The American Psychiatric Association does not officially recognize food addiction as an eating disorder. But there are overlaps between addictive-like eating and binge eating disorder, which happens when you eat a large amount of food and dont feel like you have control over eating it.
How To Beat A Sugar Addiction
Breaking a sugar addiction begins with reducing the amount of added sugar that you have in your food. Sweetened beverages are one of the main culprits, including sodas, energy drinks, and sweet iced tea. Opt for the sugar-free versions of your favorite drinks, or add sweetener yourself, gradually reducing the amount youre putting in your drink. Also consider reducing the amount of alcohol you drink. Beer and wine have a lot of sugar in them, too.
You may also like water with a few flavor drops added in. When you become dehydrated, its easier to cave and say yes to sugar. However, switching to foods and drinks with artificial sweeteners may delay the amount of time it takes to kick a sugar addiction.
Opt for the sugar-free versions of your favorite drinks, or add sweetener yourself, gradually reducing the amount youre putting in your drink. Also consider reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.
You can also stop buying desserts and sweet treats. If you think youll have a hard time moderating how many cookies or pieces of candy youll eat, simply stop bringing it into the house. If others in your family are asking for treats, ask them for their cooperation in helping you beat your sugar addiction. Or, you can buy small packages of your favorites instead of a large family-sized container.
When you feel a sugar craving coming on, try to do something to distract yourself. Exercise is a natural mood booster and can help take your mind off the craving for a sweet treat.
Read Also: How To Deal With Addicted Family Member
Food Addictions Are More Common Than You Think
There are many different types of eating disorders, but food addiction isnt one thats commonly discussed. Only recently has food addiction started to gain recognition in the mental health field, and even still, it remains controversial.
Food addiction often stems from undiagnosed mental health disorders and puts a persons mental and physical health in jeopardy. To break the cycle of food addiction, people suffering should seek professional treatment which can help them recover successfully.
Red Flags To Watch Out For
If theyre not addressed, food-addictive behaviors can contribute to health problems associated with an unhealthy diet, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
But not everyone who struggles with it is overweight. People who are a healthy weight can also fall into addictive eating behaviors. Sometimes, these behaviors can trigger other unhealthy patterns, such as crash dieting or over-exercising to burn off the extra calories consumed.
It also really affects peoples quality of life because they feel so guilty or ashamed, Dr. Albers says.
Watch for these troubling patterns of behavior:
- Eating consistently past the point of being full.
- Sneaking or hiding eating behaviors.
- Feeling out of control around certain foods.
- Thinking or stressing about food every day.
- Finding other once-pleasurable activities less enjoyable.
- Going out of your way to get certain foods when they arent readily available.
- Avoiding social or professional situations because of food.
- Continuing these behaviors despite their negative consequences.
You May Like: Why Are Drug Addicts So Selfish
How Many People Have Food Addiction
A recent systematic review examined the total prevalence of food addiction in people all over the world8Pursey K, Stanwell P, Gearhardt A, et al. The prevalence of food addiction as assessed by the Yale Food Addiction Scale: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2014 6:4552-4590.. Some interesting findings from this review emerged:
- The global prevalence of food addiction is 19.9%.
- Females had higher rates of food addiction than males .
- Overweight/obese people had higher rates of food addiction than normal weight people .
- People with an eating disorder had much higher rates of food addiction than people without an eating disorder .
Some people think that food addiction is just another term for binge-eating disorder.
The evidence does not support this, because more than 40% of people with binge-eating disorder do not receive a diagnosis of food addiction9Linardon J, Messer M. Assessment of food addiction using the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0 in individuals with binge-eating disorder symptomatology: Factor structure, psychometric properties, and clinical significance. Psychiatry Research. 2019..
This suggests that the food addiction construct is not entirely overlapping binge-eating disorder.
Why Do People Get Addicted To Sugar
In a nutshell, people become addicted to sugar because their brain tells them it feels good. When its consumed, sugar turns into glucose, which is the fuel that powers the cells in your body. Glucose also helps your brain produce serotonin, the happy hormone that lifts your mood. Overcoming sugar addiction may mean youll have to find other ways to help elevate your emotions.
Addiction to sugar can form more easily in children than in adults. This is because the neural pathways in childrens developing brains respond more strongly to excess glucose. This means eating a lot of sugar early in life can result in a lifelong sugar addiction. Learning how to break a sugar addiction as an adult can be challenging, but overall, decreasing your sugar intake gives you a healthier body and mind.
Sugar works on the dopamine receptors in the brain, similarly to drugs and alcohol. The sugar you eat starts working on the reward centers of your brain, giving you artificial mood boosts. Excess sugar can dampen the bodys ability to produce dopamine and regulate your moods on its own, which can lead to a physical addiction. The physical component makes beating a sugar addiction challenging for many people.
Don’t Miss: How Often Do Addicts Relapse
How To Quit Porn
The signs of porn addiction can give you a good indicator of whether youve got a healthy relationship with porn.
But if you do notice a problem, you may be wondering, how do I stop being addicted to porn?
The quick answer: You can quit porn. It is possible.
First of all, know that you are not alone. There are thousands of people around the world that struggle with the same situation.
Since it is a process addiction, you dont see it as much as you see other types of substance addictions, such as alcohol or weed.
Also, it is still taboo and people dont feel comfortable talking about it.
It is not common that people chat with their friends about how they consume pornography. So, you certainly do not hear other people admitting that they are addicted to it.
There are a few approaches or techniques to prevent or mitigate your obsessive consumption of the depiction of sexual intercourse.
But before choosing an approach, learn about the withdrawal process.
The Slippery Slope Of Food Addiction
Someone doesnt just that she wants to feel out of control with food. Instead, its often a slippery slope that leads a person into an addiction with a particular food. Below are some of the warning signs and common traits among people suffering from a food addiction:
- Changes in mood
- Labeling food as good and bad
- Restrictive dieting
- Thinking about food all the time
- Feeling unsatisfied even after meal times
- Weight fluctuations and/or difficulty managing weight
- Body dissatisfaction
- Feeling disgusted, guilty or upset after eating
- Feeling stressed or tension that is only relieved by eating
You May Like: How To Treat Opioid Addiction
The Most Addictive Foods
The foods that people are most likely to compulsively overeat tend to have something in common: A powerful combination of carbohydrates and fat.
You wont find many examples of this irresistible combo in nature. For example, rice is high in carbohydrates but low in fat, while nuts are high in fat but have minimal carbs. But processed food companies can mix ingredients and chemically exaggerate flavors to create taste sensations so appealing that you keep wanting more.
In a study where researchers asked people what foods they were most likely to overeat, some of the most common responses were: