Largest Heart May 1
Addicted to Food - 'I am not hungry - but eating makes me feel better.'
Food can also affect the brain.
When debating about addiction, most people would mention drug addiction or alcoholism. However, other forms of addiction can be just as destructive.
Food addiction is a grave problem for hundreds of Americans. They just can’t bring themselves to eat sensibly. These people constantly find themselves eating copious amounts of foods – all the while knowing that it is harmful.
In fact, food addiction is just as much an addiction as the addiction to drugs or alcohol. Certain foods affect the brain and make it hard for some people to stop eating them.
Defining food addiction
It is new
Food addiction is a relatively new concept and not much research has been done yet. It is similar to other eating disorders such as binge eating, bulimia, and compulsive overeating.
Food addiction works in the same way as drug addiction.
A dopamine rush
Some junk food has a powerful effect on the brain's reward centers. Candy, soda and high-fat fried foods set off a dopamine signal in some people and affect the biochemistry in their brain.
It is not that there is a lack of willpower – it just can’t be helped. Drug addiction triggers the same neurotransmitters.
How do I know I have a food addiction?
Diagnoses are based on behavioral symptoms.
• You crave certain foods, despite just having eaten.
• When you give in and start eating that food, you eat much more than you intended.
• You may eat to the point of feeling extremely stuffed.
• You feel guilty – but it does not stop you from eating that particular food soon after.
• You make excuses for yourself about why you should eat something you are craving again.
• You can’t quit eating certain foods.
• You eat in secret.
• It is out of your control – you know the food is terrible for you and that you are gaining weight, but you can't stop.
A serious problem
Having a real addiction is a severe problem. Food addiction can cause type 2 diabetes and obesity. It negatively impacts self-esteem and self-image and takes a huge emotional toll from users.
Interestingly, food addiction is not only found in obese people. One study found that about 10% of people with food addiction are underweight or of average weight.
Help is available
Health professionals and support groups are available to help you in overcoming food addiction.
Some people might prefer one-on-one support, but there are also 12-step programs like Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA) that can provide help.
Largest Heart has a core mission.
Our mission is to bring hope, love, and information to all addicts.
It will not go away on its own
Food Addiction is a problem that will not go away on its own. Sufferers must make a conscious decision to do something about it. It is not easy. They must recognize their trigger foods, find healthy alternatives and keep at it, all the while dealing with a disease.
Largest Heart supports other non-profit organizations that make it their life’s work to provide support to food addicts. Give your donation today so that we can spread hope, together.