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Obesity in this country makes many people addicted to food. Food addiction is actually a very serious medical problem that can impact people as much as a drug or alcohol addiction. Examples of related conditions include other eating disorders, compulsive overeating, bulimia, or simply suffering from an unhealthy relationship with food.
In some ways, an addiction to food may even be tougher to treat than some other addictions; however, some people may find a simple solution to their problem.
In a recent study, Canadian researchers brought together 75 obese adults, aged 25 to 45, with a similar body mass index (BMI), to get answers about their food addiction. In about 25 percent of the cases, the respondents were food addicts, two-thirds of whom were women.
Among those with serious symptoms of food addiction, the likelihood of other mental disorders, such as depression or attention deficit disorder (ADD), was higher. Thus, overeating was three times more likely to occur among food addicts than among non-addicts.
For food addicts, there was more impulsive behavior, a greater degree of sensitivity to certain foods and a greater risk of using food in response to increased stress from difficult situations.
Why Is Food Addiction Tough To Treat Sometimes
When people suffer from an addiction to something like cigarettes or alcohol, the normal treatment program includes total abstinence from these substances. The tricky part about food addictions and other eating disorders is that people cannot just stop eating food.
In moderation, food should provide critical nutrients, satisfaction, and energy. It’s just when an addiction causes overeating or at least, overeating unhealthy food, it may lead to a problem that can threaten health.
Signs Of An Addiction To Food
How does somebody know if they are addicted to food? These are three signs to look for:
* Do you feel frequent cravings for specific kinds of food, even though you really don’t feel hungry? If you give in to your craving, do you eat a lot more than you planned to?
* Do you feel uncomfortably stuffed after you have given into your cravings? Do you even feel guilty about eating so much?
* Have you tried to eliminate some types of food from your diet but been unsuccessful? Do you ever attempt to hide how much you eat from other people?
In other words, eating well past the point when you are uncomfortably full, failing to eliminate specific kinds of unhealthy food from your regular diet, and even eating food that you feel embarrassed about eating can be signs that you suffer from an addiction to food.
You are probably quite aware that you have a problem with your diet, but even so, you may not be able to fight it on your own.
Are Certain Kinds Of Food Causing Your Addiction?
An addiction to all food or certain kinds of food is not a sign of any sort of moral lapse. Like other addictions, recovering from an addiction to food may require some new dietary skills or even medical intervention. No two people have exactly the same brain and body chemistry, and some people are simply more susceptible to these kinds of problems than other people.
Here’s the good news. Very often, these addictions start with certain kinds of trigger food. First, you need to figure out what these kinds of food are for you. For instance, you’re probably more likely to overeat pizza or chocolate ice cream than broccoli and baked potatoes.
Even worse, eating a couple of servings of broccoli or even baked potatoes isn’t likely to make you gain weight, but overeating food that contains both a lot of carbs and fat probably will.
How To Deal With Trigger Foods
Some people can change the way that they consume these trigger food and not have to give them up entirely. For instance, it’s always a good idea to enjoy a light salad before eating pizza because you’ll give yourself time to feel satiated.
If you love chocolate ice cream, try scooping only half of your typical serving and mixing it with some fresh berries and a sprinkle of nuts. Tricks like these can help some folks manage their food cravings. In fact, some people enjoy finding tactics to help them manage the kinds of food that tend to give them problems.
Sadly, some folks just have to abstain from trigger food entirely. In this case, the best strategy may be to replace them with another kind of food that’s healthier and satisfies the craving. For instance, you can find a lot of frozen dessert recipes that use ingredients like unsweetened cocoa and bananas to produce a very satisfying faux chocolate ice cream dessert.
Again, looking for new recipes and kinds of food to replace the bad, trigger food can be sort of fun.
You might try replacing a typical pizza with a cauliflower crust, tomato sauce, and either low-fat or non-dairy cheese. You don’t have to give up satisfying food to conquer a food addiction, but in some cases, you may have to give up your trigger food because your brain is just wired to overeat when you taste them.
Do You Need Medical Help To Conquer A Food Addiction?
Look, it’s no shame to visit the doctor about an addiction to food. It’s really a medical issue, and medical professionals are happy to work with you. Depending upon your condition, your doctor may offer you a couple of suggestions:
A dietician’s advice
Some folks do better when they work with a dietician to get a personalized dietary plan that will work with them. The dietician can help hold them accountable and provide tested tactics that really work.
In some cases, a doctor may prescribe an appetite suppressant medication. These are usually only meant as short-term solutions to give the patient a quick start. In the end, only changing dietary habits will really work.
In severe cases, doctors may advise weight-loss surgery. Typically, medical professionals will suggest other measures, and they will usually only advise surgery after these have failed.
Why Address Addictions To Food?
Obviously, you know why you want to stop eating so much, especially of the wrong kinds of food. Maybe you hope to lose weight or simply enjoy better health. In some cases, you may even be embarrassed about the way your addiction makes you overeat.
Even if you do feel guilt or embarrassment about consuming too much, you should not let that feeling keep you from seeking help or trying to help yourself. In fact, you should be proud of yourself for taking this positive step.
Your reasons to work to resolve this problem are your own. You should know that these problems seldom go away on their own, so the sooner you work to fix the issue, the sooner you can get past it.