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  #1   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 02:32
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default Is food addiction a real thing?

Is food addiction a real thing?

Harley Street nutritionist Kim Pearson discusses whether it’s possible to be addicted to food


https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyl...p-a4448901.html

Quote:
Many of us are eating our way through the Coronavirus pandemic, with recent research showing that almost half of Brits have gained weight since lockdown began in March.

In stressful, uncertain times it may come as no surprise that we have turned to food as a source of comfort. Non-hunger eating is common and we use food for many reasons other than fulfilling our nutritional needs. Many of my clients, when I first speak with them, tell me that they feel out of control of their eating habits and food intake, but is food actually addictive?

This is a hotly debated topic but, based on my clinical experience and my own research, I am definitely on the ‘yes’ side of the argument.
Quote:
But while every substance has slightly different effects on the brain, all addictive drugs produce a pleasurable surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The dopamine pathway is thought to play a primary role in the ‘reward system’ in the brain. Ultimately, it’s what has us going back for more.

Dopamine is also released when we eat. Whilst eating typically healthy foods may trigger a moderate release of dopamine, it’s the highly processed foods that typically trigger greater releases. Would you describe lettuce as ‘moreish’? Now what about salted crisps? Or freshly baked cookies? Most of us will be significantly more likely to overeat the latter compared with the former, regardless of whether we consider ourselves addicted to food or not.
Years ago, when we were hunter gatherers, feeling good after eating was beneficial as it would have motivated us to undertake the arduous task of acquiring food. The more calorific the food, the longer it would keep us going. But acquiring plentiful high calorie food is rarely arduous in the world we live in today. The biological mechanisms that were once key to our survival are now working against us in the modern world we live in.
Quote:
Leading Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra adds “The evidence is become increasingly clear. Ultra-processed foods at best encourage over consumption and at worst are dangerously addictive to a significant majority. Either way it’s time to regulate this ‘fake food’ just like tobacco.”

When you combine our biological desire to eat with foods engineered to get us eating more, it’s easy to see why obesity and its related diseases are such challenging and wide-spread problems throughout the world today.
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  #2   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 05:27
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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To me there's no question: food absolutely is addictive when it has been manipulated to enhance its neuro-active components.

My own binge foods were never naturally occuring substances; any more than chewing on a coca leaf can be compared to snorting its concentrate, cocaine.

When companies build entire labs and spend billions of dollars on crafting artificial foods; is there any doubt?
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  #3   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 08:07
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Dodger Dodger is offline
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Whether or not something is considered addictive depends upon how 'addictive' is defined.
I do consider most highly processed and manufactured foods as addictive. There is a reason that Lay's advertised their chips as something that you can't eat just one of.
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  #4   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 08:41
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thud123 thud123 is offline
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Is food addiction a real thing? = No

If you want it to be = Yes => broaden the definition of food to include carbohydrate, then = "Maybe" in those that have abused the non-food substance, like myself.
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  #5   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 08:43
Zei Zei is offline
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I don't know why they even bother to debate whether there can be something in food that makes it addictive (although I think there is). There are addictions like gambling for example in which no substance is even consumed into the body but which no one argues are not true addictions because you didn't eat/snort/shoot some substance. If a person's behavior around a food substance is out of control and addictive in nature, it's an addiction. Period. If they can isolate a physically consumed substance in the eaten item that is driving the addiction, that could be helpful to let addicted people know what they need to avoid (like alcoholics not drinking), but lack of knowledge or understanding as to what specific substances in some food may drive an addiction do not make the addiction itself any less real. So they need to stop debating IMO over whether it's even possible to have a food-related addiction when people clearly do. And yes, I think the addictive part is the carbs.
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  #6   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 13:22
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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Of course food addiction is real.

I'm addicted to food. If I go cold turkey and cut food out of my diet, I'll starve to death. That is one hell of a withdrawal symptom.


No 12 step program can cure me of being addicted to food. If I completely quit eating, I'll weaken and die.

The abuse of the term is what I have a problem with.

I'm addicted to water and sleep too. Death is a withdrawal symptom of quitting both of those habits.

From the Random House Dictionary: dependence on or commitment to a habit, practice, or habit-forming substance to the extent that its cessation causes trauma.

I'm definitely addicted to food, water, and sleep. I try not to overdo any of them.

I'm not addicted to any particular food. I love certain foods and want to eat them often, but I won't be traumatized if I can't get bacon or macadamia nuts anymore. I'd miss the hell out of them. But I am addicted to food.

I'm Italian/American and I gave up macaroni for health. I gave up French fries too. I miss them both. But I can't give up "food". So I'm a food addict.

How about you?

Bob
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  #7   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 13:41
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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YES.

I often wish I was an alcoholic and the support to abstain would be universal.

As a carb addict, food is shoved at me right and left.

As for Real. Maple syrup is real. Ground wheat is real.Sour Milk is real. Vinegar is real. Makes a delightful cake, especially with added walnuts.

Quote:
Dopamine is also released when we eat. Whilst eating typically healthy foods may trigger a moderate release of dopamine, it’s the highly processed foods that typically trigger greater releases.


I have low dopamine. Im ADD. My son is ADD, too, but he can walk away..... he takes a high dose of a dopamine blocker, Concerta, when he wakes up every morning.
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  #8   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 18:10
Zei Zei is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob-a-rama
Of course food addiction is real.

I'm addicted to food. If I go cold turkey and cut food out of my diet, I'll starve to death. That is one hell of a withdrawal symptom.


No 12 step program can cure me of being addicted to food. If I completely quit eating, I'll weaken and die.

The abuse of the term is what I have a problem with.

I'm addicted to water and sleep too. Death is a withdrawal symptom of quitting both of those habits.

From the Random House Dictionary: dependence on or commitment to a habit, practice, or habit-forming substance to the extent that its cessation causes trauma.

I'm definitely addicted to food, water, and sleep. I try not to overdo any of them.

I'm not addicted to any particular food. I love certain foods and want to eat them often, but I won't be traumatized if I can't get bacon or macadamia nuts anymore. I'd miss the hell out of them. But I am addicted to food.

I'm Italian/American and I gave up macaroni for health. I gave up French fries too. I miss them both. But I can't give up "food". So I'm a food addict.

How about you?

Bob

That was my thinking, too, since we all have to eat to remain alive, until I decided to take a curiosity look at the sales preview of a book regularly recommended by the Diet Doctor website food addiction expert Bitten Jonsson. It was eye-opening to me to realize just how much some of these people are suffering with a genuine out-of-control addiction just as real as any of the more traditionally recognized ones. I don't experience food addiction so had just assumed people who said they do were basically like me and just "craved" as in enjoyed/wanted carbohydrate treats and just needed to drop the habit, have a little self-discipline or whatever. Turns out I was wrong about that. These folks, I learned from what I read of that book, have serious addiction. The Amazon (or wherever it was) preview was all I needed to read of the book to realize that.
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  #9   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 18:15
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LCinAust LCinAust is offline
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I think it's more to do with addictive personality types rather than food being addictive per se. Otherwise everyone would be addicted to food surely as we can't avoid eating?

Kind of like how some people can drink alcohol or take drugs occasionally and not become addicted and for others it becomes an addiction.
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  #10   ^
Old Tue, May-26-20, 20:26
Zei Zei is offline
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There seems to be a genetic component. Numerous relatives who had alcohol, drug problems. Avoidance of alcohol and drug misuse is a part of my religion and I'm grateful because that saved me from experimenting and potentially becoming a statistic. Diabetic relatives who eat a lot of carb-laden treats, but I don't know if they're addicted to it because they've never tried to stop. I tried one of those diets that allows you a daily cheat meal and figured out really quick I couldn't do that without wanting a huge serving of the cheat meal carb food and was looking forward to it big-time all day. None works best for me.
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  #11   ^
Old Wed, May-27-20, 03:27
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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To be fair, there's a growing body of research indicating that a lot of addiction problems are about self-medicating: which can happen with any brain chemical. Successful rehabilitation programs now include therapy designed to figure out issues and address them properly.

My own eating disorder was absolutely in response to great stress without any other ways of coping with it. I couldn't get a handle on it until I had lowered my stress level, and I couldn't consider it no longer operative until I discovered low carb, and how carbs worked on my brain.
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  #12   ^
Old Wed, May-27-20, 07:33
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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The insidious thing here is that while people are debating about how to define addiction, many have an unhealthy relationship with substances. It's similar to those who debate whether alcoholism is a disease or is caused by genetics. Those debates start to become a waste of time for those experiencing those issues. The most insidious thing about food and "carb addiction" is that those who have it never stand out from the general population. We are the normal, whether it's eating a holiday meal and never being too full to have dessert, or after dinner, going out to a supermarket to buy cake or ice cream, or having doughnuts for breakfast. Given that sugared anything lights up opioid receptors and causes cravings in the absence of the substance, I really don't care whether I had an addiction or not. What I needed to realize is that food was harming my health and was leading me down the path of a very low quality of life and a potential earlier death. That's all I needed to recognize the unhealthy relationship and change it. Dr. Robert Cywes was one of the first I read that had some sound insights into food and potential addiction. Fortunately, others have picked up the drumbeat. There's a reason I now never eat anything remotely resembling dessert or sweets even during celebrations or holidays. No exceptions. It's human poison and "everything in moderation" never worked for me.
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  #13   ^
Old Wed, May-27-20, 07:55
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cotonpal cotonpal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRB5111
The insidious thing here is that while people are debating about how to define addiction, many have an unhealthy relationship with substances. It's similar to those who debate whether alcoholism is a disease or is caused by genetics. Those debates start to become a waste of time for those experiencing those issues. The most insidious thing about food and "carb addiction" is that those who have it never stand out from the general population. We are the normal, whether it's eating a holiday meal and never being too full to have dessert, or after dinner, going out to a supermarket to buy cake or ice cream, or having doughnuts for breakfast. Given that sugared anything lights up opioid receptors and causes cravings in the absence of the substance, I really don't care whether I had an addiction or not. What I needed to realize is that food was harming my health and was leading me down the path of a very low quality of life and a potential earlier death. That's all I needed to recognize the unhealthy relationship and change it. Dr. Robert Cywes was one of the first I read that had some sound insights into food and potential addiction. Fortunately, others have picked up the drumbeat. There's a reason I now never eat anything remotely resembling dessert or sweets even during celebrations or holidays. No exceptions. It's human poison and "everything in moderation" never worked for me.


You said what I have been thinking about this thread. Whatever you label it, addiction or not, I and many other people had an unhealthy relationship with certain kinds of foods and need to avoid them in order to restore and maintain our health. What others choose to call it and why doesn't effect how I act.
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  #14   ^
Old Wed, May-27-20, 08:51
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bevangel bevangel is offline
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Quote:
You said what I have been thinking about this thread. Whatever you label it, addiction or not, I and many other people had an unhealthy relationship with certain kinds of foods and need to avoid them in order to restore and maintain our health. What others choose to call it and why doesn't effect how I act.


Agreed, however I do think more people could be helped (and we could push back against the fat-shamers) IF it were universally recognized that "certain kinds of foods" are addictive to certain people. I mean, imagine how little progress would have been made in understanding alcohol addiction if it had been labeled "bevarage addiction" instead of ALCOHOL addiction.

Anyone trying to claim that they have a beverage addiction would be laughed at because we ALL have to drink to live!

Alcohol (ethanol) is just ONE component of SOME beverages...and, ethanol is actually a relatively small component of most of the various beverages that do contain it! Beer is typically only about 4% to 5% ethanol. Wine ranges from about 10% to 15% ethanol and hard liquor is about 30% to 40% ethanol. Remove the ethanol portion from any of these beverages and an alcoholic could safely consume the rest without being triggered. So, it's not an addiction to "beverages." It's an addiction to a particular component found in SOME but not all beverages! We all understand that as long as alcoholics stick to beverages that contain little or no alcohol, their alcoholism can be controlled.

Let's stop referring to the problem as a "food addiction" and call it what it is. It's NOT food addiction. It's SUGAR addiction. When addicts stick with foods that contain little or no sugar (or the precursors to sugar: simple carbs) their addiction can be controlled!

I'm ready to suggest a brand new term. Since chemists use the suffix -ose to name sugars (sucrose, fructose, galactose, dextrose, lactose, maltose), maybe we could start referring to the problem as Ose-addiction and to the sufferers as ose-aholics.

Maybe with a brand new term, we could start recognizing that Ose-addiction is a real thing; that one's susceptibility to ose-addiction depends in large part upon one's genetic makeup. We could begin to accept the physical results of uncontrolled ose-addiction ARE not signs that the sufferer is lazy or lacks self-discipline or is otherwise morally deficient. But, neither should the physical symptoms of ose-addiction be considered "beautiful" or something to be "celebrated." The survival of the human race depends on people generally considering signs of good health in potential mates to be attractive and signs of poor health to be unattractive. Excess fat is a sign of poor health. Of course it is unattractive to most people! And all the PC pressure in the world is not going to change that fact.

Just like with alcohol, while ose-addiction is a disease that one should NOT be blamed nor shamed for having, the sufferer IS the only one who CAN bring their disease under control. But to do that, they do need appropriate guidance and support.

Last edited by bevangel : Wed, May-27-20 at 10:18.
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  #15   ^
Old Wed, May-27-20, 10:05
Zei Zei is offline
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Excellent point, Bev! I have no problem with all-I-can-eat meat and eggs, but bread...that's a problem.
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