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Monday, March 14, 2016

Is Food Addiction Real?

is food addiction real?The idea of food addiction is a growing area of interest given the U.S. obesity epidemic. Like men and women who are physiologically and psychologically addicted to drugs, researchers believe people develop addictions to certain foods that are highly processed, filled with sugar, or high in refined carbohydrates. Science has shown foods like pizza, potato chips, cookies, French fries, and chocolate to be particularly habit-forming.

According to family physician Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, “The ‘just say no’ approach to drug addiction hasn’t fared very well. It won’t work for our industrial food addiction either. Tell a cocaine or heroin addict or an alcoholic to ‘just say no’ after that first snort, shot, or drink. It’s not that simple. There are specific biological mechanisms that drive addictive behavior.” 

Non-industrial, “whole” foods like salmon, brown rice, apples, and broccoli—on the other hand—were not found to be addictive. Researchers believe that food addiction occurs when an individual’s reward center reacts to the properties of certain foods. “If properties of some foods are associated with addictive eating for some people, this may impact nutrition guidelines, as well as public policy initiatives such as marketing these foods to children,” said Erica Schulte, University of Michigan doctoral student and lead author of a U-M 2015 food addiction study.

Other Things to Note About Food Addiction 

• Overeating is not necessarily a willpower problem. In many cases, science finds that people go through brain changes when they eat particular foods—similar to what occurs during drug, alcohol, or smoking addiction.

• Food addicts have a compulsive urge to eat even when they are not hungry. They may gravitate toward fast food and foods high in saturated fats and sugar.

• Food addicts may also be addicted to salt, which has been found to trigger a dopamine (pleasure chemical) release. Some studies estimate that salty foods are as addictive as alcohol or nicotine.

• Some people are prone to addiction transfer, and find themselves trading one addiction for another (drugs for binge eating or cigarettes for sex, for example).

Complete Harmony Treats Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders
At Complete Harmony Rehab, we help you face your addictions head-on and encourage you to fill free time with healthy hobbies rather than replacing one addiction with another. The holistic therapies at our innovative rehab center help clients manage addiction triggers, get a handle on stress, and pursue lasting sobriety and a more fulfilling life. Call 866.930.4673 to inquire about California addiction treatment or speak with a counselor about treatment for co-occurring disorders.

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