Addicted to Food?

There was a very interesting piece on ABC News this morning about Food Addiction.  Basically it says that some people show the same symptoms when craving food that a drug addict shows when craving their drug of choice.  Check out the video and article by clicking on the picture below, and take the test on page 3 to see if you might be a food addict:

(Seriously, the commercials before and between the study were centered on food?  That’s kind of like my health magazines that preach healthy “clean” eating, and then fill the pages with advertisements for supplements!  Tsk, tsk!)

So what does everyone think about this?  Do some of us have a food addiction or is that just a convenient excuse for over-eating and lacking will-power?  In my case I don’t think I lack will-power.  Afterall, I drag myself out of bed most weekday mornings at 4:45 am for a grueling workout, partly to combat what I eat.  There were several pieces of this study that stuck out to me and my own struggles with food:

1) First was the part about the office doughnuts (in the video)… if you eat 2 and feel guilty you are probably just over-eating; but if you not only eat them, but obsess over them until they are gone, you might be an addict…  I totally obsess until they are gone, and often long after.  Same with any junk food that makes its way into my house (so please do not bring it).  If good food is near me, I can hardly think of anything else.  Maybe this is part of why social and family gatherings can be so stressful – because I’m worried about being around the food?

2) Second… “we saw the same brain activation patterns in lean participants as well as the obese ones.  BMI is not a good indicator.”  … I am not obese.  Far from it actually, and work out regularly to stay in shape, but I still obsess over what I eat most of the day.  I even wake up thinking about what and when I can eat…  “Experts say there’s a lot of stigma surrounding food addiction, including the assertion that it’s just an excuse for overeating and avoiding personal responsibility. In reality, food addicts are driven to eat.”

3) And the last thing that stood out… “anticipation of a delectable treat provided the greatest activation, even more so than getting a taste of it.”  … I sometimes don’t even enjoy junk food because I’m either eating it too quickly after giving in to my craving, or worrying about the calories or how much I’ll have to work out later to burn it off.

So I’m very interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on this?  I think we (Americans) tend to blame a lot of our vices on medical conditions, and this definitely sets off my bullshit-radar, as did Tiger Woods’ “sex addiction” last year, which is compared to a food addiction in the article.  But at the same time, it hits so close to home that I can’t help but give it a second thought.  Am I addicted to food???

I think this picture is very fitting picture to pull out of the archives.  Now I must go make my [healthy] lunch since I’ve not been able to think of much else for the past hour.  Obsessed?  Perhaps.


4 thoughts on “Addicted to Food?

  1. Before I begin a laundry list of reasons that I agree with you, I would first like to say that I absolutely love when you pull out the comics. I’m with the crack co-cake lady on this one.

    I do think about (and sometimes agonize) over food until it’s gone. The whole “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” theory definitely applies to me. I also wake up each morning thinking about what I will eat. And I also sometimes don’t enjoy junk food because I eat it too quickly or think about the calories I now have to burn off because I ate it.

    Great post!

  2. Interesting article.

    On another topic, I’ve pretty much been a total fail on the Cinch diet. I’m going to have to check out your blog a little more for some inspiration. I despised the 5-day plan, mainly because I hate yogurt with a passion. I also haven’t touched a raspberry since. 😀
    I need to dig the book back out and give it another go though, because some of the recipes looked good. The main problem I have is that my hubby isn’t going to cut out red meat so I have to cook differently for him (and the kids probably, since they’re super picky). It’s hard to figure out how to do that on a budget. Maybe if I just introduced some of the recipes and called a compromise?

    • Hi. I understand how you feel. I enjoyed trying to follow the Cinch plan for a while, but failed at my 2nd and 3rd attempts at the Detox and have since only been following the part about 4 small meals a day, each including produce, protein, whole grain, and plant-based fat. I still think she gives some great advice and I enjoyed the book. I also enjoyed a lot of the recipes, but many of them include expensive ingredients that are not easily affordable on a one-income budget! Good luck in your continued diet ventures.

  3. Great post Rebecca! My family had a motto “Eat past the pain” and so the excuse about family gatherings is so true for me. Our joy in life with 5 women in the house was centered around food and going out to eat. Now I need to work on the balance with finding joy in other things together like going on walks. Food is so great and so much fun!

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