Friday, April 22, 2011

Food Addiction...real or fiction?

I have been reading recent articles related to Food Addiction studies out of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and am incredibly intrigued by this concept of "food addiction". I have always heard that people have addictive tendencies and those that are addicted to certain things (alcohol, gambling, etc) are more likely to be addicted to other things. So is that far fetched to say that my alcohol addiction has triggered a food addiction in its absense? I think not. One of the articles talks about brain functioning and stimulus for individuals with a food addiction when food is presented. This resonates with me because recently I have been tracking my thoughts and feelings with food to try and get a handle on my eating or emotional eating. And after reading this article I can see strong similarities between my food related thoughts/feelings and those of an addict. For instance, my inhibitions are completely decreased when presented with (what I consider) "unhealthy" or "off limit" foods (e.g. peanut butter!!). When I begin eating peanut butter, ice cream, cookies, snacks, etc...I stop caring about the potential consequences and I am in a CONSTANT mind body battle throughout the entire activity...until I put down the fork and walk away. And then I am left with feelings of guilt and anger. I treat eating these foods as "wrong" and will sometimes do them in private (like an addict), I get an extreme sense of satisfaction when I am eating them (like an addict), I try to stop but I can't (like an addict), I make excuses and promise not to eat it after this one meal (like an addict), and I allow these thoughts on food control my life and mood (like an addict).



I guess all I can hope now is that Yale Rudd center continues to do studies on Food Addiction and I can follow their work and hopefully better my outlook. I will say that keeping a food journal and noting my feelings and thoughts during my meals/snacks has helped in terms of realizing my triggers and trying to replace the negative feelings/thoughts. BUT it is a work in progress...

THANK YOU Yale Rudd Center for exploring this concept!! What are your thoughts on food addiction? Or addiction in general? I wonder where the addictive tendencies stem from. The study goes on to say that they do not believe addiction is something you are born with but when did this develop?? Oh life! :)


...a couple days after posting this blog post, I was thinking about being a "food addict"...and how to cure such an addiction. How would you? Usually for addiction you either quit the "drug" cold turkey or slowly reduce the intake, but you can't do that with food. You can't cut food out of your life nor can you (so I believe) cut out the negative foods you are "addicted" to. I think with most eating disorders, that restriction will just lead to more issues...what to do...what to do...

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