Tips To Beat Food Addiction
Are you are self confessed chocoholic? Are you addicted to sweet foods? Its a pretty common assumption that sugar is addictive, just like substance or alcohol abuse, but is this actually the case?
Ive definitely had moments when Ive craved chocolate or needed something sweet after dinner so I can relate to the notion of needing a fix.
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 When sugar was withdrawn, the rats suffered several withdrawal symptoms: shaking, anxiety and a change in body temperature.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.
Can People Be Addicted To Food
In recent years, food addiction has become a popular idea among some scientists. Those researchers say that certain foods high in fat, sugar, and salt are addictive, causing changes in the brain similar to those made by drugs. Studies in animals have shown that rats that binge on sugar, for example, can develop signs of dependency.
But the idea of food addiction is controversial. For one thing, the standard treatment for addiction is abstinence, and thatâs not possible with food. Also, âdieting is a very strong component of the binge eating cycle,â May says. âFrom that standpoint, itâs counterproductive to label certain foods as negative.â
Thereâs no doubt that eating can stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, Hudnall says. âBut that doesnât make food an addictive substance. Thereâs evidence that itâs actually the behavior — the restrict/binge cycle — that causes the signs of dependency, not the food itself,â she says. Some researchers have even stated that the term âeating addictionâ is a more accurate term than âfood addiction.â
Recommended Reading: How To Get Relief From Drug Addiction
Find Yourself A Distraction Tactic
This is something that you do instead of your bad eating habit. You see, you cant stop one habit easily without replacing it with another one. For example, if you like to have something sweet to eat after dinner, try replacing dessert or chocolate with a flavoured herbal tea. If you get bored during a certain point in the day instead of reaching for an office fundraiser or buying a blueberry muffin, why not plan the next weeks worth of meals and exercise sessions. Maybe you need a hobby. For further reading, check out my article on boredom eating.
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.
Also Check: Is Acid An Addictive Drug
Emerging Trends In Substance Misuse:
- MethamphetamineIn 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
- CocaineIn 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
- KratomIn 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.
How To Overcome An Addiction
This article was co-authored by Tiffany Douglass, MA. Tiffany Douglass is the Founder of Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, a JCAHO accredited drug and alcohol treatment program based in San Jose, California. She is also the Executive Director for Midland Tennessee at JourneyPure. She has over ten years of experience in substance abuse treatment and was appointed a Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2019 for her efforts in residential addiction treatment. Tiffany earned a BA in Psychology from Emory University in 2004 and an MA in Psychology with an emphasis on Organization Behavior and Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University in 2006.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 25 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,122,411 times.
Theres a myth out there that addiction is inescapable or something thats locked in for life, but thats definitely not the case. In fact, more people succeed at overcoming their addiction than fail.XResearch source Acknowledging that youre addicted to something and wanting to change are the first steps, so youre on the right track! This article will show you how to come up with a plan for overcoming your addiction and stick with it, even when things get tough.
Recommended Reading: How To Beat My Sugar Addiction
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
Food Addiction: Where’s The Beef
Not long ago, when ads for a potato-chip manufacturer were teasing consumers with the challenge, “Betcha can’t eat just one!”, they may have really meant it!
Food manufacturers have done an exquisite job of recognizing and tapping into our cravings, using persuasive ads and alluring packaging to keep their products tumbling into our shopping carts. “There are so many processed foods that are not only calorically dense, but they also stimulate dopamine production that makes us feel good,” says Goldhamer.
On the other hand, many nutritional experts believe that there are more important risks associated with processed foods that have nothing to do with addictions. “The problem with processed food is that you digest it so quickly that it’s out of your stomach in no time and you still feel hungry,” says Michael Roizen, MD, author of Cooking the Real Age Way. “If you take the fiber out of food, you get a lot of empty calories.”
While lobbyists for food manufacturers may minimize the risks of plates brimming with meat, cheese, and other high-fat items, Roizen says he believes that eating more than 20 grams a day of bad fats such as saturated fats and trans fats can contribute to breast and prostate cancers, as well as what he calls “arterial aging,” which may lead to heart disease, stroke, impotence, memory loss, and even skin wrinkling.
Recommended Reading: What Is The First Step In Recovery From Addiction
What Sort Of Help Do I Need
Like in other addictions, the eating disorder convinces you that you dont really have it or that it isnt that bad. If you are reading this, it might be that bad. You might also be using drugs and alcohol, or be having other self harm behaviors such as cutting or burning yourself. Often, depression and anxiety go hand in hand with eating disorders. Put all this together, and you have a very complicated and dangerous problem. It is not likely that you can figure out on your own how to tackle these problems.
First, talk with your doctor. Be direct and honest with him or her, and ask for help. Surprisingly, many doctors do not know how to treat eating disorders. If your doctor doesnt know what to do, consider finding another.
Second, seek therapy. An eating disorders specialist can help you identify the problem, and determine what sort of help you need. Be careful in choosing a specialist. Many therapists know very little about eating disorders, and therefore may be unhelpful.
Third, see a registered dietitian. Be sure they are registered and have training in eating disorders treatment. Eating disorders are complicated and dangerous and not just anyone can safely advise you how to eat properly.
Fourth, attend a SMART Recovery group.
How Does It Work
Food addiction hijacks your brains reward system in the same way as other addictions.
Studies reveal that high-fat, high-sugar, processed foods affect the brain in the same way as drugs such as heroin and cocaine. These foods affect neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the brain eating these foods makes us feel good temporarily and crave more.
Foods that are high in refined sugar, wheat, or salt or a factory developed combination of all three ingredients to create a highly palatable food are the most problematic when it comes to addiction. Most of todays junk foods are designed to be as addictive as possible, which keeps people coming back for more .
Also Check: How To Fight Meth Addiction
The Underlying Roots Of Food Addiction
In some cases, food addiction might possess a troubling cycle overeating high-sugar and high-fat foods lead to lighting up the pleasure centers of the brain, which can create a highly stimulating response, similar to the addictive response elicited by substance abuse. Food addiction in these cases can seem to be a perpetually renewed cycle. Although food might not carry with it the same intense high provided by an illicit substance, high-sugar and high-fat foods can have significant impacts on the body and brain. They can cause an increased desire for or reliance on unhealthy foods. Turning to these foods as a coping mechanism can trigger both psychological and physiological food addiction symptoms.
Food addiction, like other forms of addiction, often has underlying roots in feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, and even trauma, all of which can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, including food consumption. Some of these are grounded in childhood ills, some of them are rooted in adolescence or young adulthood, and some of them arise after years of having poor coping skills modeled. No matter the precise source of the addictive coping mechanism, food addiction can be addressed and healed. Overcoming food addiction is possible-often through concurrent treatment with other health specialists.
Finding Quality Treatment For Substance Use Disorders
This fact sheet serves as a guide for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment. It provides three necessary steps to complete prior to utilizing a treatment center and the five signs of a quality treatment center, which include a review of the accreditation, medication, evidence-based practices, position on the role of families, and support networks.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Off Nicotine Addiction
Throw Junk Food From The House
Can a heroin addict overcome his addiction if he keeps heroin in the house? Of course, he cant! Its the same thing with food addiction. You will overindulge if you keep junk food in the house.
Throw all the foods youre addicted to out of the house. Making junk food less accessible will reduce chances of overindulging. Chances are you wont drive to the supermarket in the middle of the night to buy a cookie or chocolate bar.
How To Overcome Food Addiction In 10 Steps
Overcome food addiction the food addiction, like other addictions , relates to the difficulty in preventing or controlling the behavior, in this case, food intake.
Overcome food addiction If you tried to start making several diets without success, because you consider yourself a / addict / aa food, you should continue reading this article.
Read Also: What Does Drug Addiction Mean
The Science Of Food Addiction
Food addiction arises because eating lots of food makes us feel better.
But why does food make us feel better? And why does this cause addiction?
The answer is simple: foods rich in sugar, fat and salt stimulate the brains reward centre i.e. feel good hormones such as dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows us to feel good about ourselves.
Over time, the brain becomes more tolerant to dopamine. This means an ever greater quantity of food is needed in order to achieve this feel good factor.
Activities such as sex, exercising and eating all trigger dopamine. Each activity is essential for survival, so its essential we feel good when doing these activities.
Otherwise, we might not do them and die .
How Can Smart Recovery Help Me Stop My Eating Disorder
SMART Recovery provides its members with tools and support that they can use to help them recover from addictions be it alcohol, or other drugs or negative behaviors. SMART Recoverys 4-Point Program® is designed to help you overcome your problems:
1. Building & Maintaining Motivation Helps you identify and keep up with your reasons for positive change. Why do you want to change what will keep you focused on that goal?
2. Coping with Urges Dealing with urges and cravings is part of recovery. SMART has tools designed to help our members cope with urges and cravings.
3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors We frequently turn to using drugs to either escape from or avoid addressing problems. SMART Recovery participants learn problem-solving tools to help them manage challenges along the way.
4. Living a Balanced Life Addiction can put your life out of balance you may find yourself opting to engage in your addiction rather than go to work or school. You may find that things you once enjoyed arent fun anymore. SMART give members skills to help balance both short and long-term goals, pleasures and needs that were once out of balance.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Least Addictive Drug
Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment For People With Stimulant Use Disorders: Counselor’s Family Education Manual W/cd
This comprehensive kit provides substance use disorder treatment professionals with a year-long intensive outpatient treatment model. Professionals can use this model when treating clients who are dependent on stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Access family education sessions and handouts.
Tip #: Only Insist On Eating When You Are Hungry
Try to eat only three meals per day.
If you must have a snack, insist on eating a healthy, sugar-free snack such as cashew nuts,Greek yogurt or almonds.
Personally, I buy cashew nuts in bulk every Saturday.
I buy 600g for £4.80 in ASDA .
And make this last me all week.
This works out at around £10.20 per kilogram.
And I then split this amount so that it lasts for seven days. This ensures Im covered for snacks for an entire week.
Recommended Reading: How To Support Someone With Drug Addiction
Its A Serious Problem
Though the term addiction is often thrown around lightly, having a true addiction is a serious condition that typically requires treatment to overcome.
The symptoms and thought processes associated with food addiction are similar to those of drug abuse. Its just a different substance, and the social consequences may be less severe.
Food addiction can cause physical harm and lead to chronic health conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes .
In addition, it may negatively impact a persons self-esteem and self-image, making them unhappy with their body.
As with other addictions, food addiction may take an emotional toll and increase a persons risk of premature death.
Food addiction increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Excessive weight may also affect a persons self-esteem.
Completely avoiding junk foods may seem impossible. Theyre everywhere and a major part of modern culture.
However, in some cases, entirely abstaining from certain trigger foods can become necessary.
Once the firm decision to never eat these foods again is made, avoiding them may become easier, as the need to justify eating or not eating them is eliminated. Cravings may also disappear or decrease significantly.
Consider writing a list of pros and cons to think through the decision.
Write everything down no matter how peculiar or vain it may seem. Then compare the two lists and ask if its worth it.
If the answer is a resounding yes, be assured that its the right decision.