The Truth About Food Addiction

Let’s start with a fact: food is something we need to eat to stay alive. But when does it cross over from necessity into an unhealthy addiction?

Habits form early on

Over the course of our lives, we develop personal preferences, and certain foods will be more pleasurable than others due to our associations with food and emotions (for example, your parents treating you to an ice cream when you were upset as a child).

Our eating habits strengthen over time, making them hard to change as we get older.

Poor habits of consistently over-eating, combined with poor food choices, often lead to weight gain that can turn into obesity and other health problems.

The causes of over eating or uncontrollable eating can be associated with the habit of using food as a means to find pleasure. Energy-dense foods high in added fat and sugar are commonly associated with addictive properties. Cakes, biscuits, confectionery, soft drinks and pastries top the list for many.

Also read: Top 10 Cardio Myths Busted

Can certain foods give you a ‘high’?

Recent research has revealed that some foods share a common link between causing certain brain activity and behaviours comparable to that of drug dependence.

This research is a step closer to identifying specific foods that elicit biochemical responses that are associated with addictive eating behaviours in some people.

However, there isn’t enough research to confirm, just yet. Glycemic index is looking like a potential culprit to addictive eating behaviours: The higher the GI of a food, the stronger the link.

Also read: The Skinny on Low-Carb Diets

One thing we know is for certain: addictive behaviour is something that can be diagnosed. More recently, specificity for diagnosing addictive eating behaviour has been achieved using a validated diagnostic tool called the ‘Yale Food Addiction Scale’.

There are many shorthand web versions available that should be used with caution. To be properly diagnosed as someone with addictive eating habits, a qualified healthcare professional needs to be consulted. Interpretation of results and self diagnosis will not help you lose weight. It’s the management and re-conditioning of your behaviours that will.

A step-by-step guided program, like 12WBT, can help kick unhealthy habits for life by tackling the deeper issues driving addictive behaviours. Click here to find out more about our programs.

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7 thoughts on “The Truth About Food Addiction

  1. I travel overseas one week every month. Can I still do the program and succeed with weight loss?

    1. Yes, you can absolutely still participate in 12WBT and achieve great results, while you’re travelling each month. We have lots of members you regularly travel – with a bit of planning and modifying, you can stay right on track to reach your goals. You’ll have access to more information on this once you join and the Support Crew are always here to help if you need us.

      Head to http://www.12wbt.com/sign-up to join the Team and get started!

  2. Read the book Sugar, Salt, Fat by Michael Moss and you will see food addiction is real.
    Companies spend millions of dollars making their products addictive.
    Take Doritos for example, they use chemical engineers to calculate the bliss point in a person so they will eat a whole bag of crisps without their brain sending messages to the stomach to stop eating because its full. There are many other products on the market that have been created to block the signals of the brain to stomach so you eat more.
    It is scary!

    1. The one thing all those products you mention have in common is that they are all discretionary items. This means they are low in essential nutrients but high in nutrients we all need to eat less of like added salt, sugar and fat. By following a balanced meal plan higher in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, dairy and lean meat/fish/poultry or alternatives and eaten at regular times throughout the day, you shouldn’t feel the need to purchase these foods anymore. if you need more help controlling cravings try asking our support crew for more support.

      All the best!

      Jenn Madz
      12WBT Nutrition Lead

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