Hi My Name is… And I am Addicted to Food

Nu.Reflections Medical Aesthetics | 22 Aug 2014

How can anyone be addicted to food, you ask?

A hungry man is an angry man, isn’t he?

Have you heard of Food Coma?

When it comes to addiction, there is a wide and diverse array of things that an individual can be addicted to; from alcohol to cigarettes and yes, to even food. 

A food addict’s social life is affected by intense obsessive thinking about food. Much like other forms of addiction, food addicts are easily irritable and often display erratic mood swings when their addiction is not fed. 

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

People who show signs of food addiction may also develop a tolerance to food as their consumption escalates only to find that food satisfies them less each time. For many food addicts, their emotional life may deteriorate into despair, depression and they may even harbor thoughts of suicide.

Though generally people who suffer from food addiction fall under the obese category nonetheless, there are normal-weight or seemingly healthy people who are affected. Scientists say in the case of the latter, their bodies may simply be genetically programmed to better handle the extra calories they take in or more often than not they may increase their physical activity to compensate for overeating.

Highly palatable food trigger feel-good brain chemicals

Highly palatable food trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine and it’s this associated pleasure that a food addict gets from eating certain food which increases their urge to eat again. People who are addicted to food will continue to eat despite negative consequences and like other forms of addictions; food addiction can be hard to overcome.

Doctors and medical science are still working on a cure for food addiction. This hasn’t been an easy task by any means as compared to an alcohol addiction where abstinence is a huge first step; people who are addicted to food still need to eat. A nutritionist, a doctor who is educated about food addiction or a psychologist may be able to help break the cycle of compulsive eating. 

Then there are a number of programmes like Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step program that has helped many people addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. Others, like Food Addicts Anonymous, use the principles of the 12-step program along with strict diets that require people to abstain from problem ingredients, like sugar, refined flour and wheat.

Food is an addiction! How to stop the craving?

The battle against food addiction ultimately lies on the shoulders of those affected. The positive change has to start from within. As people with food addiction tend to overeat because the signals that traditionally tell the body to stop eating don't sound off, a method which expert recommend is to eat in smaller portions. Over time your brain will begin to get used to the reduced portion sizes and you'll feel less compelled to keep eating. Cutting down on sugar is also another highly recommended technique to combat food addiction.

Start slowly. Avoid sauces, dressings, breads and other non-sweet foods that contain hidden sweeteners. Get your taste buds to be more sensitive to sugar. Slowly but surely, your body will find cookies, cakes and candy a little less appealing. 

Breaking a certain lifestyle pattern also helps. For example if you find yourself snacking incessantly while watching the television, turn it off and read a book instead. If you have a weakness for a certain type of food like donuts or pasta, then plan your route to avoid these places when you are out.

Food addiction is chronic, progressive and ultimately detrimental. However, with the right support and change of lifestyle which include good dietary habits and self-discipline, you could be on your way to a healthier new you and actually start enjoying food for the right reasons.

Remember to consult a qualified medical expert to ensure that you will be given the right treatment.


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