Addiction to food? Here is what you need to know?
Have you ever found yourself eating beyond what you actually want?
Have you ever felt like you could not control the amount of food that you ate?
If so, then you are at risk of becoming a candidate for addiction to food, which is one of the most common forms of addiction in our society today.
This blog will review the basics on what it means to be addiction to food and how this can affect your health and well-being.
Sugar is addictive
Sugar can lead to excess weight gain and insulin resistance, but it is also addictive.
According to some studies, it can be even more addictive than cocaine.
The reason why is that sugar activates a particular region of your brain that controls reward-motivated behavior, so much so that rats (who are not normally interested in sweet foods) will ignore other rewards like sex or drugs if given access only to sugar water.
In humans, studies have shown a strong correlation between frequent consumption of sweets and high levels of both obesity and depression.
Likewise, controlled feeding trials have shown that subjects lose interest in sweet foods over time when they are limited in availability.
Bottom line: It is not just bad for us, it has addictive properties too.
Fat can lead to cravings too
There is a popular misconception that if a high-fat diet makes you fat, it must be because eating fat makes you overeat.
However, as we mentioned above, a diet higher in healthy fats can actually help with weight loss and maintenance by keeping cravings under control and helping your body better digest and absorb nutrients from all your meals.
In simple words, don’t go overboard on nuts or nut butters (which are technically a type of fat).
Their health benefits are more than enough reason to include them in your diet in moderation.
And chewing down on handfuls of nuts every day can quickly put your waistline in danger.
Why salt is addictive?
Study shows potatoes are addictive. Salt makes you crave potato chips and other salty foods.
According to one study, tested rats’ reactions to salt, and found that, they pressed a lever to get a dose of salt every hour, and they kept going for it.
And because rats are mammals like us, we can extrapolate and say that if we eat a high-salt diet or eat too much junk food, we could become addicted.
It is basically saying if you are eating really highly salted foods, your body is becoming accustomed to having more salt in your system.
So when you don’t have any salt, it triggers something in your brain that tells you ‘I want more.’
What happens when people cut back on salt
When people cut back on their sodium intake by eating less processed food and adding more fresh vegetables to their diet, their bodies tend to adjust naturally.
They start craving less salty foods over time without even trying.
According to nutritional expert, If people were just given some fruits and vegetables with no instructions at all within a few days or weeks, they would reduce their salt intake by about 50 percent.
How carbs cause cravings
Carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels and trigger an insulin response in our bodies.
Insulin is a type of hormone that signals cells to store energy as fat.
This may cause us to feel hungry shortly after eating, encouraging us to eat more and increase our weight over time.
Carb cravings can also be triggered by hormones like leptin, which regulates appetite and tells our brain when we are full.
In overweight people, leptin production may not be as efficient, meaning it doesn’t send out I am full.
Signals are clear out of your system as quickly causing frequent carb cravings until caloric intake is balanced with exercise output.
Dairy can be addictive
A study of 4,035 people found those who ate three or more servings of high-fat dairy a day had 60 percent greater odds of becoming obese than those who never ate such foods.
This may be because components in dairy fat can trigger hormonal changes that slow down metabolism and increase hunger levels.
Another study from Harvard Medical School found that women with a genetic mutation that slows metabolism felt full longer after consuming high-fat dairy products like cheese than did women without it.
If you are trying to lose weight, choosing low-fat dairy options isn’t necessarily wise for optimum results.
Processed foods are addictive
The products we buy and consume have been engineered to be addicting.
Most, if not all, of our favorite snacks and meals are made with ingredients known as non-nutritive sweeteners.
These include sucralose, aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet), neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin (Sweet’N Low) and more than a dozen others.
These sweeteners are designed to taste just like sugar, so they fool your brain into releasing dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter that helps us feel pleasure.
Addiction to food is a growing problem in America.
As diet trends and fast food become more readily available, Americans have less self-control when it comes to their eating habits.
According to recent studies, as many as 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese and nearly 20 percent of children in America may be considered obese or overweight.
For those who consider themselves addicted to food, there is hope effective treatment exists.
It is important that we begin discussing addictive eating or addiction to food as a serious issue within our society one that can destroy lives if left unchecked.
Whether your life revolves around food or not, it is important for everyone from families dealing with a loved one’s struggle with obesity to nutritionists interested in addressing one of America’s most pressing health concerns.