Identifying and Overcoming Food Addiction

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, two-thirds of American adults are now overweight or obese.  As we are becoming heavier as a nation, there is evidence that serious obesity-related conditions are on the rise.  Obesity is a risk factor for many life-threatening diseases from Cardiovascular disease to diabetes. It can also contribute to issues such as decreased self esteem, depression, and social and professional discrimination.  

Food addiction is real, but are we really addicted to real food?

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that processed junk foods can be as addictive as cocaine or heroine.  Most processed foods contain high-glycemic index carbohydrates which are quickly transformed into sugar in the blood, and then stimulate areas of the brain related to reward, cravings, and addiction.  We are experiencing the pleasure of certain chemicals such as dopamine when we eat these foods high in sugar, salt, fat and starch, and we can’t wait to eat them again.  Further, the more junk food we eat, the more tolerance we develop for it, meaning we feel less and less satisfied, and the cycle continues. Have you every really craved a carrot? Have you found you couldn’t eat just one apple?  Of course not.  Real food is not the problem.

Are You a Food Addict?

Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Science and Policy has developed a questionnaire to assess whether you are struggling with a food addiction. Below are some sample questions.

Do you:

  • End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods?
  • Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry?
  • Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods?
  • Go out of your way to obtain certain foods?
  • Focus so much on eating certain foods that you’ll eat rather than work, spend time with loved ones or participate in other activities?
  • Find it difficult to function at school or work because of a fixation on food?
  • When you cut down on certain foods, do you experience anxiety, agitation or other physical symptoms?
  • Eat to reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure?

If you answered “yes” to any combination of these questions, you may be suffering from food addiction. Treatment for food addiction is different from treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol because, unlike these substances, you cannot simply quit eating.

The Ideal Protein Weight Loss Program can Help

The best way to end the food binge cycle is to temporarily remove yourself from the problem. The award winning Ideal Protein Weight Loss Program can help.  You will enjoy a low-calorie, medically supervised diet that will help you stay away from those foods that might trigger an eating binge.  As you lose weight you will gain self esteem and confidence.  We will then focus on helping you identify the life events and circumstances that make you want to overeat. We will counsel you on ways to cope with these events that don’t involve binge eating.
We know it can be daunting to change any ingrained habits. The medical professionals at Radiance are specially trained to counsel you on maintaining healthier eating habits, and ending the cycle of food addiction.  If you have something to lose, you have plenty to gain by calling 281-367-4700 for your consultation today. We will help you get started on a path to better health and personal satisfaction.