What’s Eating You? Food Addiction is Real!

Food Addiction is real. You may be shocked or even relieved to read this sentence.

Very simply, the term food addict refers to a person who has lost control over their eating behavior and is powerless to stop consuming certain foods despite the negative consequences it has on their health, well-being and relationships.

Of course it's natural to have cravings but if thinking about food is all consuming and you have trouble controlling your intake of certain foods or drinks, you may very well be addicted.

According to the scientifically validated Yale Food Addiction questionnaire three of the following criteria need to be present over the course of a year:

  • Taking in larger amounts or for a longer duration
  • Persistent desire or repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Excessive time spent pursuing, using, or recovering from use
  • Reduction/discontinuation of important activities because of use
  • Tolerance
  • Continued use despite consequences.

Research is starting to suggest that food addicts struggle with food in much the same way that drug addicts and alcoholics struggle with their substance of choice. PET scans seem to confirm that food addiction exists on a neurochemical as well as on a behavioral level.

A recently published study by Dr Nicole Avena in PLoS ONE, supports this by suggesting that certain foods high in refined carbs and sugar are most likely lead to addictive eating. The study found that certain foods such as pizza, chocolate, ice cream and french fries were found to be the most addictive.

Food addiction stimulates the brains neurochemical reward system in the same way as drugs such as cocaine and heroin leave us chasing a dopamine rush in an effort to feel good.

Eating processed, high sugar foods causes our brain's pleasure system to be hijacked, wiping out our dopamine receptors and increasing our tolerance to these addictive foods. This in turn leads us to eating more and more of these foods just to feel normal.

Karen Thomson is Real Meal Revolution's resident expert on all things related to Food Addiction

The harsh reality with food addiction is that complete abstinence is just not possible. Unlike drug addicts and alcoholics it is virtually impossible for us to abstain from our drug of choice.

Suggestions such as 'eat less and exercise more' just don't cut it for food addicts as these do not even begin to address the underlying emotional, psychological and spiritual hunger that drives our food addiction. As food addicts we are using food to fill a hole in our soul.

In order for us to reclaim our hijacked reward system and manage emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health and weight without the destructive patterns of behavior, we need to figure out what our real hunger is for.

I can assure you that it is often not for food but for something deeper.

Join us on a journey to discovering your authentic self through the Online Program. Free yourself from your addictive cycle in which you have been trapped - a life beyond your wildest dreams awaits.

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