Breaking with Food Addiction
Can foods like bread and potato chips be addictive? The main stream answer lends itself to apathy and denial - food is necessary for life and not the same as drugs.
But I know many people who binge on food. If they eat one slice of pizza they have to eat the whole pizza. This binge behavior shows that this is an addiction and not just a bad habit.
There is evidence that certain foods are more addictive and carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates combined with sugar and fats are on the top of the list (like a doughnut). For a deeper look at the science behind this check out "Why Diets Fail: Because You're Addicted to Sugar" By Nicole M. Avena and John R. Talbott.
The likely triggers of this addiction are dopamine in the brain's reward pathways as well as the ups and downs of blood glucose and insulin that set off the body's signals for hunger. Simply put, the more carbs you eat the more you crave them and the hungrier you get.
How do you overcome this food addiction:
1) Fasting: Fasting acts as a reset button and allows the body to clean out the glucose and insulin from the blood stream. The trick is not eating processed carbs when you break the fast. Make sure you are eating high quality proteins on non-fasting days.
2) Pay attention to cravings and view self-control as a muscle that becomes stronger over time.
3) Recognize that you may need help from a support group. A well organized support group will motivate it's members to stick with the program and give feedback if there are any slips.
4) Don't allow cheat meals: Like any addiction, the more you cheat the higher the likelihood of completely falling off the wagon. Many ex-smokers say that if they have just one cigarette, they will be back to smoking a pack a day. It's the same with carbs and sugar – it’s easier going cold-turkey - and slowly the cravings for carbs will die down.
5) Get in the habit of cooking all your meals and packing a lunch. Every fast food joint and corner store is trying to get you hooked.
For more information on everything addiction I recommend Dr. Robert Lustig's book "The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains ". In this book he explains how giant corporations have used multiple addictive substances to make billions and keep us hooked.
There is no time to waste. Now is the time to break these food addictions and regain your health.
Final thoughts – I know many people have a hard time thinking of food as something addictive like cigarettes or drugs. What do you think? Maybe you are struggling yourself? let me know your opinion. And please share my blog.