Have you ever considered you might be addicted to food? Read the following article from Healthline and see if you’re able to apply any of the following information to yourself:
Food addiction is an addiction to junk food and comparable to drug addiction.
It’s a relatively new — and controversial — term, and high quality statistics on its prevalence are lacking (1Trusted Source).
Food addiction is similar to several other disorders, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, compulsive overeating, and other feeding and eating disorders.
Effects On the Brain
Food addiction involves the same areas of the brain as drug addiction. Also, the same neurotransmitters are involved, and many of the symptoms are identical (2Trusted Source).
Processed junk foods have a powerful effect on the reward centers of the brain. These effects are caused by brain neurotransmitters like dopamine (3).
Food addiction is not caused by a lack of willpower but believed to be caused by a dopamine signal that affects the biochemistry of the brain (4Trusted Source).
8 Symptoms of Food Addiction
There is no blood test to diagnose food addiction. As with other addictions, it’s based on behavioral symptoms.
Here are 8 common symptoms:
- Frequent cravings for certain foods, despite feeling full and having just finished a nutritious meal
- Starting to eat a craved food and often eating much more than intended
- Eating a craved food and sometimes eating to the point of feeling excessively stuffed
- Often feeling guilty after eating particular foods — yet eating them again soon after
- Sometimes making excuses about why responding to a food craving is a good idea
- Repeatedly — but unsuccessfully — trying to quit eating certain foods, or setting rules for when eating them is allowed, such as at cheat meals or on certain days
- Often hiding the consumption of unhealthy foods from others
- Feeling unable to control the consumption of unhealthy foods — despite knowing that they cause physical harm or weight gain
If more than four to five of the symptoms on this list apply, it could mean there’s a deeper issue. If six or more apply, then it’s likely a food addiction.
It’s a Serious Problem
Though the term addiction is often thrown around lightly, having a true addiction is a serious condition that typically requires treatment to overcome.
The symptoms and thought processes associated with food addiction are similar to those of drug abuse. It’s just a different substance, and the social consequences may be less severe.
Food addiction can cause physical harm and lead to chronic health conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes (5Trusted Source).
In addition, it may negatively impact a person’s self-esteem and self-image, making them unhappy with their body.
As with other addictions, food addiction may take an emotional toll and increase a person’s risk of premature death.
If you think you suffer from food addiction or feel that you struggle to lose weight or find the right nutritional program for you, please contact us for more information. We can help!
At Physician’s Weight Control and Wellness, our weight loss programs are unique in that they are physician-guided and individually tailored to each patient. Because every patient is different, no two treatment plans are the same. Our patients’ personalized treatment plans include personalized consultations and can contain any or all of the following, depending on individual patients’ needs: medications, supplements, and lipotropic injections.