Am I Addicted To Fast Food
According to the NIDA, addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior. An addiction to fast food can cause a response in a person that is similar to drug addiction. A person may find that he or she craves fast food and cannot focus on other things if it is not obtained. Here are some classic signs of addiction applied to fast food. See if they apply to you:
- You eat fast food every day and feel that you must do so in order to feel good or be happy.
- Other types of food dont interest you, dont taste good, etc.
- You have spent an unnecessary amount of money on fast food, or you have spent money on fast food that was meant for other things.
- You feel nauseous, sweaty, get migraines, or exhibit other signs of physical dependence when you go without eating fast food for longer than usual.
- You have experienced severe health problems due to your consumption of fast food .
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The Signs And Symptoms Of Food Addiction
You might be wondering whether you show signs of food addiction.
According to the available research, there are 12 criteria that underpin a food addiction diagnosis7Gearhardt AN, Corbin WR, Brownell K. Development of the Yale Food Addiction Scale Version 2.0. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2016 30:113..
The 12 criteria are taken from the substance-use disorder diagnostic criteria but are assessed in the context of a persons eating behaviour:
In order to receive a diagnosis of food addiction, the person must meet at least two of the above criteria plus show signs that their eating behaviour causes them clinically significant distress and impairment.
How To Beat Food Addictions
Post written by Leo Babauta.
Food addictions are a major problem for many people who want to get healthy but cant seem to overcome their addiction.
How do you conquer this problem?
Beating addictions isnt easy, and I wouldnt recommend starting with such a tough task. A better approach is to learn to create small, positive habits, and tackle addictions only after youve gained the skills and confidence that come from learning to form habits.
That said, beating addictions isnt at all impossible. I was addicted to junk food, and regularly ate fast food, chips, sweets, fried food of all kinds. These days I still have some of that kind of food, but much more rarely I kicked the addiction, but I did it slowly and in stages.
Ill show you how I did that, but first, lets look at what an addiction is and how it works.
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The Science Behind Food Addiction
Food addiction, as mentioned earlier, is thought to be similar to drug addiction. What is the science behind this? It was found that the neurotransmitters in the brain of persons with a substance abuse disorder are the same neurotransmitters that affect people with food addiction.
Processed foods have negative effects on the reward centers of the brain. These effects are the responsibility of the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Food addiction is a combination of lacking the willpower to control oneself to eat junk foods and the dopamine process in the brain.
Why You Cant Stop Eating Junk Food
Have you ever found yourself craving a second helping of dessert after a filling dinner, finishing a large bag of crisps, or having multiple portions from fast food restaurants?
You are not alone. Knowing when to say stop can be incredibly hard with some unhealthy foods.
What is it that makes certain foods seemingly irresistible? What keeps us returning for more, even when we know were full? What makes us binge on foods we know are bad for us?
We often beat ourselves up for giving in to our junk food cravings, but its no accident that these foods are so hard to resist and we struggle to control our food intake.
Food manufacturers engineer foods to taste the best they possibly can to override our internal stop signals and encourage us to buy more.
So whats the winning formula? If theres one man to thank for figuring out what makes us reach for another slice, its Howard Moskowitz, an American market researcher known for creating addictive flavour combinations that fly off the shelves.
This New York Times article sets out the story of how food giants refuse to listen to concerns about obesity and how individuals like Moskowitz engineer junk food to evoke maximum pleasure.
- Resisting junk food cravings is not a case of willpower.
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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 Food Addiction Works
People tend to get cravings when the brain starts calling for certain foods often processed foods that arent considered healthy or nutritious.
Even though the conscious mind knows theyre unhealthy, some other part of the brain seems to disagree.
Some people dont experience this and can easily control the types of foods they eat, while others cant.
This isnt due to a lack of willpower its a much more complex situation.
The fact is junk food stimulates the reward system in the brain in the same way as addictive drugs, such as cocaine.
For susceptible people, eating junk food can lead to full-blown addiction, which shares the same biological basis as drug addiction (
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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
Learn To Take A Look At This Issue For Yourself And Make Changes If Necessary
Are you addicted to junk food filled with sugar? Is that even possible? Is addiction driving the obesity epidemic?
Addiction to food is a very controversial issue. There are many strong opinions in the medical field on both sides.
Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, has done extensive research on addiction and obesity. She has concluded that addiction to foods, especially ones high in sugar and fat, is real. She has done extensive research showing that the reward pathways in the brain are disrupted in people who are obese, especially those involving dopaminesometimes known as the pleasure neurotransmitter.
Dopamine is released when we do pleasurable things like eat, have sex, or use drugs. When people do these things too often, or in larger amounts than normal, the brain adapts and makes it harder to trigger this system. This leads people to use more and more in order to feel good. It leads to a vicious cycle of addiction.
An article in the European Journal of Nutrition reviewed some of the science and concluded that sugar addiction is not real. They claim that binging on so-called comfort foods only occurs in the context of food deprivation. People on this side of the issue say obesity can be controlled by eating in moderationeven junk food every now and then.
The full criteria are here.
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Consider Relocating To A Different State
The prospect of moving to another state may seem extreme. However, moving to a state with a smaller number of fast food restaurants may help you by limiting your options. You may be surprised to learn that New York, New Jersey, and Vermont have the fewest number of fast food restaurants per capita, while Alabama and other states in the South have the highest per capita number.
Tips For Overcoming Food Addiction
Food addiction recovery will take a lot of willpower and sacrifice to overcome. It may take weeks or months, but you have to believe in yourself to overcome it. Everybody has different food cravings, and breaking a food addiction is going to be different for everyone. But here are some tips you can start with:
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How To Get Rid Of Junk Food Addiction Step : Eat Healthy Fats
One of the most prevalent myths is that fat causes weight gain. Actually, your body needs fat.
However, there are several forms of fat. While trans fats and saturated fats should be avoided, heart-healthy fats like almonds and avocado will help you feel full and minimize cravings.
So, snack on a handful of mixed nuts in the afternoon. You may also prepare your own salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar. Including fresh guacamole or fatty seafood like salmon in your diet is another fantastic way to get healthy, satisfying fats.
Mental Hack #: Cognitive Control
Cognitive control revolves all around how you view food, and I divide it into two broad categories:
Theres often a lot of self-talk going on when we try to fight foods . And what usually ends up happening is that the more time we try to talk ourselves out of something, the stronger it becomes and the more it steals our attention.
Ever tried jumping off a high rock? The longer you wait and talk yourself up, the less chance you will actually jump.
One of the easiest things you can do in regard to your mind is change the mental chatter.
Rather than looking at cookies and ice cream and saying to yourself, Oh man those look good, tell yourself the truth, I know I cant just have one bite Im going to eat 20, and even remind yourself of your goals, tomorrow Im going to feel like crap and totally regret this.
Jon Grant, at the university of Minnesota, asks patients with a history of shoplifting to write out a shopping list before they go to the grocery store and just put two items on the list: handcuffs, to remind them of their previous history, and a bologna sandwich, to remind them of what they were eating in jail.
Basically this just jogs their memory and reminds them of the consequences of their behavior, and similar to saying Ill feel terrible after eating cookies, it instills a sense of guilt beforehand. .
Setting rules for your food is another way to beat using willpower.
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S To Take Control Of Food Addiction
Addiction does not always have to involve an addictive substance or drug. It can involve excessive behavior such as compulsive eating too. While scientific studies in the area of food addiction is still in the beginning stages, many experts believe that addiction to food really isnt about the food.
To elaborate further, foods do not have addictive properties that make someone depend on them, unlike chemical substances. Food addiction has more to do with how a person behaves around food, what they think about food, and the way habits are formed with food. The habits are the real source of the addiction.
How To Get Rid Of Junk Food Addiction Step : Eat The Rainbow
The more diverse and colorful your diet, the less likely it is that you will become bored or want junk food.
For example, try a different green in your salad or a new type of seafood like tuna this week.
As a bonus, eating a variety of colorful foods improves your general health. It helps prevent illnesses as well.
Purple potatoes, crimson beets, orange carrots, and green kale are just a few examples of healthy food you can add to your diet.
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How Bad Is Fast Food Addiction
Just like drugs or alcohol, fast food addiction is a problem in America. Addiction is a chronic brain disease, and when a person is addicted to fast food they are causing severe harm to their physical health.
According to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, fast food is linked to obesity and Neuroimaging studies in obese people provide evidence of altered reward and tolerance in their brain. Once obese, many individuals meet the criteria for psychological dependence to fatty foods.
Not only can fast food addiction lead to a person having obesity, it is also unhealthy due to the lack of nutrients and high contents of fat in the food. If a person continues to abuse fast food they may develop high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, or they may even take years off of their life by clogging their arteries and increasing their chance of heart attack. Furthermore, fast food addiction can be costly, and when a person feels the need to eat fast food all of the time, they will be spending more money than if they were preparing their meals at home.
Ways To Overcome Fast Food Addiction
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a chronic disease of brain motivation, reward, memory and related circuitry. If functionality is impaired in these circuits it leads to characteristic psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is shown in an individual continually pursuing reward or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
When a person is addicted to fast food that is what they will crave and want to consume every day. In order for a person to stop a fast food addiction they should consider getting treatment, or at least involving themselves in therapy to help deal with the cravings for fast food.
Secondly, a person addicted to fast food should see a nutritionist to help them a find a way to start lessening their fast food intake. A nutritionist will work with them on finding a healthy balance, and find ways to make sure the individual in question is getting the proper nutrients they need. A third way to help a person overcome a fast food addiction, is to avoid fast food places. If a person does not drive by fast food places, or if they do not provide themselves as much access to fast food places, they may not be as tempted.
Select a state to find options for rehab centers in your area.
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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.