Social Causes Of Food Addiction
Scientists believe there are many social pressures that contribute to food addiction.
This includes social pressure to be thin and the social disapproval for people who are overweight.
This pressure fuels the food addicts self-disgust.
The resulting depression causes the food addict to overeat in an attempt to feel better about themselves.
First Steps In Overcoming Food Addiction
A few things can help prepare for giving up junk foods and make the transition easier:
- Trigger foods. Write down a list of the foods that cause cravings and/or binges. These are the trigger foods to avoid completely.
- Fast food places. Make a list of fast food places that serve healthy foods and note their healthy options. This may prevent a relapse when hungry and not in the mood to cook.
- What to eat. Think about what foods to eat preferably healthy foods that are liked and already eaten regularly.
- Pros and cons. Consider making several copies of the pro-and-con list. Keep a copy in the kitchen, glove compartment, and purse or wallet.
Additionally, dont go on a diet. Put weight loss on hold for at least 13 months.
Overcoming food addiction is difficult enough. Adding hunger and restrictions to the mix is likely to make things harder.
After taking these preparatory steps, set a date in the near future like the coming weekend from which point onward the addictive trigger foods wont be touched again.
To overcome food addiction, its important to plan. Make a list of trigger foods and know what is going to be eaten instead.
To Answer This Question Ask Yourself The Following Questions And Answer Them As Honestly As You Can
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be a food addict. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous offers hope through a long-term solution for food addiction.
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Mental Hack #: Figure Out Your Eating Type And Then Dominate It
In Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink, PhD, he cleverly put many of us into five main categories based on our eating habits.
Although the categories arent new, he put some clever names that help you remember which kind of eater you are.
He breaks people down into 5 common groups:
A. The meal stuffer. Meal stuffers eat primarily during mealtimes, but they stuff themselves and eat to excess. They often eat so quickly that theyre uncomfortably full after. These are the kids we often say have good appetites. They often go back for seconds.
B. Snack grazer. Snack grazers reach for food whenever its available. Convenience is usually the main reason in other words, food is available and they just constantly reach for it as long as its there. Snacking is sometimes a nervous habit or something they do when bored. Sometimes they snack as an excuse to get up and walk around, or they just feel bored when watching tv or reading.
C. The party binger. Party bingers are usually professionals or people in corporate environments. Food is either a backdrop for business or fun, and its easy to lose track of how much they eat or drink. Lots of social events and business meetings means lots of food and eating out.
You know you are prone to not being prepared for lunch. And you know that you usually feel too lazy to go out for a meal and end up feasting on the vending machine. So what can you do?
You can consciously prepare lunch beforehand and bring it.
How To Support A Loved One Who Has A Food Addiction
If your relationship with food is fine but someone close to you is having a hard time, speak up. Sometimes it takes acknowledging there’s a problem in the first place to move forward in fixing it.
“If someone is a food addict meaning they turn to food repetitively and eat big quantities, fast-paced, often hidden and in shame know they’re hurting. They want to enjoy food the way everyone else enjoys food. This isn’t fun for them,” Dr. Brisman says. “Trying to know what’s needed at those moments turning to healthier options of self-care is likely going to be the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Support them any way you can.”
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.
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!
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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.
How Did We Get Here
Many organizations including the United Nations, World Health Organization, and National Institutes of Health are struggling to solve this big fat problem. Obesity-related issues account for 80 percent of U.S. healthcare costs and will create a global price tag of $47 trillion during the next 20 years. The NIH alone spends $800 million annually trying to find the cause of obesity. Yet despite all this attention, we are still failing.
The food industry would have us believe obesity is the result of personal choices. Their implication: People are fat not because their biology has been masterfully tricked into craving the food that the industry produces, but because people are lazy and gluttonous. If we all just took more personal responsibility, the industrys paid experts assert, we could solve this problem. There are no good or bad foods, they claim its all about moderation. And, of course, we should all just exercise a bit more.
What they dont explain is that you would have to walk four-and-a-half miles to burn off one 20-ounce soda. To burn off just one supersized fast-food meal, youd have to run four miles a day, every day, for a week. Oh, and thanks to the addiction-generating genius of fast-food engineering, once youve eaten that supersized meal, youre going to want another one soon.
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Breaking Addiction To Heal True Connections
Turn up the volume on everyday, healthy rewards. With time, you can recalibrate your brain to once again get real satisfaction from ordinary pleasures like going for a walk outdoors, spending time with family, or chatting with a friend.
Learn to manage stress and unpleasant emotions. Addiction can wreak havoc on your mood, and both stress and strong emotions can make you feel that you need another fix to feel better. But you can literally rewire your brain, strengthening the pathways of contentment and self-control. To do this, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, guided imagery, or progressive muscle relaxation. Some people find relief by practicing yoga or mindfulness. For others, cultivating spirituality is the key.
If you struggle with food addiction, take heart. Its not a personal failing. Youre up against some very powerful brain chemistry. But with patience and persistence, you can break free and reclaim your ability to savor the things that are truly good in life.
How To Overcome Food Addiction
The effects of certain foods on the brain make it hard for some people to avoid them.
Food addiction operates similarly to other addictions, which explains why some people cant control themselves around certain foods no matter how hard they try.
Despite not wanting to, they may repeatedly find themselves eating large amounts of unhealthy foods knowing that doing so may cause harm.
This article examines food addiction and provides tips to overcome it.
Food addiction is an addiction to junk food and comparable to drug addiction.
Its a relatively new and controversial term, and high quality statistics on its prevalence are lacking .
Food addiction is similar to several other disorders, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, compulsive overeating, and other feeding and eating disorders.
Food addiction is a highly controversial concept, though most studies suggest it exists. It works similarly to drug addiction.
Processed junk foods have a powerful effect on the reward centers of the brain. These effects are caused by brain neurotransmitters like dopamine .
Food addiction is not caused by a lack of willpower but believed to be caused by a dopamine signal that affects the biochemistry of the brain .
Food addiction is thought to involve the same neurotransmitters and areas of the brain as drug addiction.
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Dont Start A New Diet
Most people try to overcome junk food addiction by starting a new diet but this approach doesnt work. Most diets are too rigid and impossible to stick to long-term.
People usually go back to old eating habits once they cant keep up with the new diet.
Instead of starting a new diet, change your eating habits. Replace junk food with healthier alternatives like veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Make sure you eat plant-based foods at every meal.
Eat A Well Balanced Diet
Fad dieting, severe restriction and skipping meals will predispose you to binge eating and overconsumption at your next meal time. Dont do it. Follow a healthy, well-balanced meal plan with protein, high fibre carbohydrate, healthy fats and lots of fruit and vegetables.
The most important thing to remember is to not give up. You want to change your eating habits and lifestyle forever, so give yourself a break if you have a relapse into old habits and try again tomorrow. The great thing about life is that its never too late.
Here at The Healthy Eating Hub we are keen to help you kick your food addiction.
If youd like further help with your nutrition please click below:
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Stop Drinking Alcohol And Caffeine
Both these beverages reduce inhibitions and cause poor dieting choices. With coffee and other drinks that are high in caffeine, the body begins to crave sugary coffee cakes or doughnuts. Plus, too much caffeine can create anxiety and for too many people junk food and emotional eating have become the most effective tools to treat anxiety.
Alcohol definitely lowers inhibitions more than coffee or other drinks with other caffeine content. Theres also a high likelihood that the bar or restaurant will have addictive foods like chicken wings and french fries and drinking lots of alcohol will only make it more likely that a relapse will occur. If youre alcohol dependent, you might want to handle that first. One addiction at a time.
Facing Addiction In America: The Surgeon General’s Report On Alcohol Drugs And Health
This executive summary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health addresses alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drug misuse in the United States. Chapters of the report cover neurobiology, prevention, treatment, recovery, health systems integration, and recommendations for the future.
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Getting To Be A Habit
When words like “food addiction” are bandied about, there are plenty of skeptics who hesitate to put foods like cheese and chocolate into the same category as widely acknowledged addictions such as cocaine or alcohol. But Barnard asks, “What other term would you use for a woman who gets into her car at 11:30 at night and drives six miles to the 7-Eleven to get a chocolate bar, and does it every night? She’s gaining weight, she feels profoundly guilty afterward, and though she resolves to stop this behavior, she does it every night, night after night? That’s a food addiction.”
The proponents of this food addiction theory point to possible differences between the sexes in their compulsions. Women may be more susceptible to chocolate, particularly in the premenstrual period. While some men may have a sweet tooth, many more say that the one food they’re least likely to give up is steak. Barnard points to an April 2000 survey of 1,244 adults, which concluded that one in four Americans wouldn’t give up meat for a week even if they were paid a thousand dollars to do so. “It sounds an awful lot like an addiction to me,” he says.
In an animal study at Princeton University in 2002, researchers found that after rats binged on sugar, they showed classic signs of withdrawal when the sweets were removed from their diet, suggesting that sugar may have addictive properties.
“Yes, people do get into habits,” adds Ayoob. “But the good part is that habits can be changed.”
Research Reveals The Brain Chemistry Behind The Struggle With Overeating
Posted August 31, 2016
Have you ever heard a friend exclaim that a certain dessert flourless chocolate cake, say is totally addictive? For some people, this is just a breezy exaggeration. They mean that they liked the cake very much and perhaps ate more than they meant to.
But for other people, chocolate cake is addictive in a more literal sense. Perhaps you can relate to feeling out of control around certain foods. Visions of donuts dance in your mind. You become preoccupied with the thought of stopping by the bakery. And despite your best intentions, you find it impossible to resist these foods or stop eating them once you get started.
This is now being called food addiction, and it is a very real problem in the same way that addiction to alcohol or illicit drugs is for some people. Out-of-control eating can cause obesity and related health problems. It can also lead to strong feelings of shame.
Obsession with food can take over your life and create distance between you and those you love. You may find yourself so obsessed with food that it interferes with work or school. The body image issues associated with obesity can keep you from doing things you want to do.
Calling this problem an addiction is not merely metaphorical. Recent research has shown that substance use disorder and food addiction both involve the same biochemical processes in the brain.
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