Some people don’t have this problem and can easily control the types of foods they eat. Other people don’t seem to have any control whatsoever. There is everything in-between, including some very disturbing conditions.
Don’t be ashamed if you are abusing food. Acknowledge it and stop!
Despite their best intentions, many people repeatedly find themselves eating unhealthy foods, even when they have previously decided not to eat them.While some this is caused by a lack of willpower, the situation can be much more complicated than that.
The fact is… junk foods stimulate the reward system in the brain in the same way as drugs of abuse like cocaine.
For susceptible people, eating junk foods can lead to full-blown addiction, which shares the same biological basis as addiction to drugs of abuse. It is a very powerful addiction. Arguably worse than for instance heroin. There aren’t shops full of heroin on every street corner. There aren’t TV commercials or blogs for heroin.
Don’t be ashamed. There are sufferers in all walks of life. I’ve added photos of celebrity sufferers to this post.
There is a system in our brain called the reward system. This system was designed to “reward” us when we do things that encourage our survival. This includes primal behaviors like eating.
The brain knows that when we eat, we’re doing something “right,” and releases a bunch of feel-good chemicals in the reward system, such as the neurotransmitter dopamine – interpreted by our brains as pleasure.
Whereas eating an apple or a piece of steak might cause a moderate release of dopamine, eating a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is so incredibly rewarding that it releases a massive amount.
Highly palatable foods are foods rich in:
Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine. Once people experience pleasure associated with increased dopamine transmission in the brain’s reward pathway from eating certain foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again.
The reward signals from highly palatable foods may override other signals of fullness and satisfaction. As a result, people keep eating, even when they’re not hungry.
Some aspects of food addiction:
- End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
- Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry
- Eat to the point of feeling ill
- Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
- When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them
- Feeling depressed, hopeless, sad or ashamed about your eating or your weight?
- Eating when you are upset or reward yourself with food when you do something good?
- After eating sugar, flour, or wheat that you become more irritable?
- Do you find yourself feeling depressed, hopeless, sad or ashamed about your eating or your weight?
- Do you find yourself eating when you are upset or reward yourself with food when you do something good?
- Have you ever noticed after eating sugar, flour, or wheat that you become more irritable?
Food addicts notice that their emotions become more severe, intense, or unreasonable when eating the addictive substances. For many food addicts, emotional life may deteriorate into despair, depression, or thoughts of suicide.
- Do you eat in private so no one will see you?
- Do you avoid social interactions because you feel you do not look good enough or do not have the proper fitting clothes to wear?
- Do you steal other people’s food?
- Are you more interested in what food is served at social gatherings than looking forward to the warmth of being with the people attending?
A food addict’s social life is affected by intense obsessive thinking about food. Making eye contact with people and taking an interest in developing friendships or intimate relationships become secondary to locating and eating addictive foods. Food addicts often hide or steal foods and eat in secret.
This biochemical disease is chronic, progressive and fatal. At the later stages of the disease, despair becomes our daily companion. Fear fills us; we became isolated. Many times we attempt to satisfy our soul needs with food, only to find the same emptiness within.
As our self-esteem disappears and our health worsens, we search frantically for a way out.
But there is hope. God, other people, you! You can always change. That’s what this blog is about. I am very much an addict. Follow me as I ditch the drug and become clean, with a new life.