Why Do People Develop A Food Addiction
Eating is an enjoyable activity for most people. A good meal surrounded by friends and family is a great way to destress and connect with the people you care about. Unfortunately, food addicts use eating as a way to escape from their feelings, or cope with the symptoms of a more serious issue.
Mental health professionals believe that most food addicts develop a problem in response to certain mental disorders, like depression, anxiety, trauma or PTSD. When someone eats junk food, it creates a chemical reaction in the brain that produces feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. As a result, stress levels drop and negative feelings disappeartemporarily. Once the symptoms start to come back, the person has to binge again , and the cycle continues.
However, food addiction can also be a problem for people who have poor self-esteem or deal with other social issues. Its not uncommon for people to turn to food as a coping mechanism if theyre dealing with a difficult home life, peer pressure, social isolation, abuse or even a lack of social support.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Addictive Behavior
Tips For Overcoming Fast Food Addiction
Find meals that you love and cant get enough of. Fall in love with those foods. I love homemade pizza made on big wraps that are only like 100cal. Big salads with chicken. Broccoli, tomatoes. Peanut butter on toast. Addiction is real and as you go cold turkey from fast food you truly will crave it less. Drink as much water as you can. If you get any craving or hunger, chug a pint of water first then distract yourself, do something productive or something thats fun. Then see later if you even remember the craving or if youre truly hungry.
Have some super quick, tasty meals that you can have at home. Make sure they’re something that you actually, legitimately want to eat too.
Next, do you take it home with you or eat it in the carpark? If you buy it make sure you always take it home with you and never just keep it to yourself. You should never feel ashamed to take it home with you, even if you messed up and got something unhealthy. Home is a safe place where you can be yourself. Sometime I definitely need some ‘me’ time but it shouldn’t involve food.
Then, if you feel the craving, remind yourself how much quicker and more fun it will be to just GO THE FLIP HOME and eat the quick/tasty stuff that you already have there.
You can do it!
I started making it at home myself an started playing with different proteins. Found what I was comfortable with and easy and quick and stuck to that.
How To Deal With Fast Food Addiction
Imagine this scenario: Man thinks, I have got nothing to do. Man thinks the next moment, Lets eat!!! Into the 21st century and we are faced with the demon of the present era that allows us to spend time relentlessly, only to remind us after a length of time that we are neglecting our bodies and wasting our time. But, the body itself is engaged in a war with time. The body says, Lets not waste time. Lets eat instead. However, like the inevitable con to every pro, human beings just dont get to see the limiting line in every activity of theirs. With the intake of fast food over days and months and years, the element of fast food gets incorporated into our DNA, wherein we become machines under the control of junk food. The human comprehension thinks that drugs can be the only addiction, but the human realization kicks in when comprehension develops, but by that time it is already too late.
Of course, once you have rehabilitated yourself, you will need to anticipate withdrawal symptoms. Keep your system busy and your mind at rest by snacking on healthy and wholesome foods, so as to keep your stomach at bay. Most importantly, temptation is a wily seductress, so keep your distance from all-you-can-eat- buffets and such other elements that excite your taste buds. All done, go out into the world and be able to turn a blind eye on the call of the gustatory sense.
Read Also: How To Support An Addict
Inability To Quit Eating Even When Obese
There instances that someone suffers from obesity, Alzheimers Disease, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes takes more junk food instead of minimizing the habit. Since these conditions are life-threatening, a person who continues to consume more food even with such diseases could be addicted. Such people can be assisted by nutritionists who will advise them on the best types of foods to take so that their health conditions can improve. Close family members to these individuals can then monitor if they strictly follow the advice from the nutritionist.
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 affected in persons with a substance abuse disorder are the same neurotransmitters affected in 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.
You May Like: Why Are Opioids So Addictive
Preoccupation With Substance Use
Given obvious constraints, no animal studies assessed the characteristic of preoccupation as it relates to food addiction. However, Tuomisto and colleagues found that self-identified chocolate addicts were significantly more susceptible to hunger compared to controls, possibly indicating a heightened preoccupation with food . Additionally, Merlo and colleagues found that in children, food addiction symptoms were significantly associated with greater preoccupation with food .
Why Is Junk Food Addictive
Sugar, fat and other ingredients commonly found in junk food can cause us to become addicted to these foods. Eating a lot of sugar and fat causes the release of dopamine in the body, which is a chemical that makes us feels good. Consequently, we want to have this feeling more often and turn to sweet foods to get it.
Sugary foods also generally cause a large spike in blood glucose levels, which drops rapidly, leaving us hungry and craving more sugar. Lack of sugar in the diet of a person who normally consumes a lot has also been associated with opiate like withdrawal effects in the body.
Apart from this physiological effect of junk food, there is also the fact that it tastes good. Fast food companies spend a lot of money developing the tastiest products they can and the result is we like to eat them. Flavours, salt and MSG all contribute to the palatability of these foods and as we become accustomed to these ingredients, we may need more and more.
You May Like: How To Help Someone Who Is An Addict
Inability To Follow Diet Rules
Some people frequently find themselves in circumstances that make them unable to follow strict meal timetables. They consume junk food such as sugary or fatty foods even when they are full. The inability to follow the rules increases the possibilities of these people getting many complications, such as obesity. People who are unable to follow eating rules should go for advice from skilled people like nutritionists. They can also strive hard to play by the right eating schedules and choose healthy meals for their benefits.
Choose Healthy When You Eat At Restaurants:
When you dine at restaurants, I strongly encourage you consider quality, more than quantity when it comes to choosing food.
Most kinds of foods prepared at restaurants that are of greater quantity arent really healthy. They are laced with all kinds of sodas, sugars, taste enhancers,to accommodate the appetite of a larger group of people.
Check the menu and consciously make a healthier choice. Its okay to eat junk food at restaurants once in a while but not as a regular thing. As soon as it becomes regular, it will turn into an addiction that you cant control and your health will be crippled.
I always say this to my clients, Focus on what you eat and when you eat it. This is because I strongly believe that our food habits literally make us who we are. If you do not keep a sharp eye on them, the results will be disastrous in a little while.
If youve had a hard time overcoming your food addictions and are literally struggling to lead a healthy lifestyle, go here to sign up for a complimentary strategy session with me
You May Like: What Are The Effects Of Drug Addiction
Fast Food Fast Weight Gain
Its easy to understand how someone will gain weight if he or she frequently consumes 2,240 calories just for lunch . But its the nature of those calories, and not the calories themselves, that may be the greatest cause for concern. This particular lunch delivers more than 10 grams of trans fats, for example, which a recent study indicated may give both obesity and disease a major toehold.
Wake Forest School of Medicine researcher Kylie Kavanaugh, DVM, compared two groups of monkeys, one that derived 8 percent of their daily calories from trans fats and a control group that didnt eat trans fats at all. She was looking for the impact of the trans fats on their cardiovascular health, but was surprised to find another adverse effect: The trans fateating monkeys gained three times as much weight as the control group, even though both ate the same number of calories each day. And much of the weight was belly fat, considered a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
The lesson from this study? People cant go to a fast-food place and eat a typical meal there and then figure they can eat salad for the rest of the day to make up for it, Kavanaugh explains. That one meal is more likely to put weight on them than a meal cooked at home or without trans fats, even if it has the same number of calories.
Food Addiction Among Youth
Food addiction in youth is a major cause for concern because its a problem that is contributing to the growing obesity epidemic and it greatly increases the risk of lifestyle diseases in young adults and the workforce of tomorrow. Teenagers are a lot more prone to risk-taking behavior and addiction, which is why so many teenagers succumb to drug addiction and also find it a lot harder to break out of.
Like cocaine, certain foods trigger a reward system and the connection between habit formation and rewards is much greater in adolescents. In other words, teenagers are a lot more likely to get hooked onto not just drugs, but junk food and processed foods because of its effect on reward centers in the brain.
You May Like: How Many Drug Addicts In The Us
When We Got Home From Our Road Trip I Immediately Went To The Grocery Store And Stocked Up On Keto Foods
I chose the ketogenic diet because it allowed me to incorporate things that worked for my lifestyle, like bunless burgers. I love to eat filling, fattier meals versus things like salads, so it was sustainable for me. I love that the diet allows me to easily find something to eat wherever I go. Anywhere and everywhere can accommodate keto for you, if you just ask.
I also never knew what a carbohydrate really was or even meant until I started tracking my calories and macros. I love the Carb Manager app to track everything from my meals to my water intake to my weight. When I am truly on my tracking game, I lose the most weight.
Heres what I eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: Two eggs and bacon or sausage with coffee and heavy cream
- Lunch: A bunless burger, chicken and veggies, lettuce-wrapped sandwiches, or dinner leftovers
- Snacks: Pickles, olives, Built bars, cheeses, deli meats, Cheese Whisps, or Two Good yogurt
- Dinner: I love to find new ideas on Pinterest. A favorite is low-carb tortilla enchiladas, keto zuppa toscana, and homemade alfredo sauce with chicken and broccoli
- Dessert: Enlightened ice cream or Lily’s chocolate
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.
Recommended Reading: Why Do Drug Addicts Drink Milk
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.”
How To Treat Food Addiction With At
Reading Time: 3minutes
According to VA, Although there is not an answer right now if food can be as addictive as alcohol or cocaine, some people are unable to control how much they eat. Food addictions truly do plague many people, and it can be very difficult for them to stop eating, even when they want to.
There are support group programs like OA and other types of behavioral therapy that a person can attend in order to change the way they think about food. But there are also at-home habit changes you can make that will go a long way in helping you treat your food addiction.
Also Check: How To Stop Being Addicted To Alcohol
/6symptoms Of Food Addiction
There are certain behaviours that could lead others to believe that you suffer from food addiction. Displaying even a few of these symptoms is a cause for concern.
Eating much more than you intended to.
Craving certain foods despite feeling full and having finished a meal.
Overeating all or most of your meals.
Feeling guilty after eating certain foods, then eating the same foods soon after.
Justifying to yourself and others why you need to eat something youre craving.
Trying unsuccessfully to quit eating certain foods.
Having to hide your consumption of food from others.
Continuing to eat in excess, knowing the negative consequences of consuming junk foods.
Going out of your way to obtain certain foods.
Recommended Reading: How To Become An Addiction Counselor In California
Michael Mosss Book Hooked Explores Food Addictions And How To Overcome It
Michael Mosss latest book Hooked: Food, Free Will and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions explores how companies such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz, encourage peoples addiction to processed foods. The result has led to increasing numbers of obese Americans.
A former New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, Moss makes the case that food addiction is comparable to drug addiction. People get hooked on sugary, fatty, and salty foods, ranging from potato chips and soda to fatty bacon cheeseburgers, and cant stop themselves from gorging on them.
In his prologue, he highlights Brooklyn, New York resident Jaclyn Bradley who couldnt resist dining regularly at McDonalds and often consumed, what Moss calls, the biggest fries, the biggest shakes added to twin burgers. Fueled by high-calorie eating at fast-food restaurants, she weighed 250 pounds by age sixteen.
Michael Mosss book Hooked explains why companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Heinz … contribute to Americans being hooked on processed, fatty foods.
Courtesy of Random House
She became one of the plaintiffs in a legal case against McDonalds, which ultimately lost but led to it making subtle changes in its menu. Bradley also acknowledged that she was responsible for choosing these unhealthy burgers and shakes no one forced her to eat these high-caloric and fatty foods.
Read Also: How Does Nicotine Become Addictive