Food Addiciton: New Health Disorder

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • According to a new study that will be published in the August 2011 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, some people can indeed react to certain foods the way an alcoholic or drug addict reacts to their "addictive substance."  A team of researchers followed a group of women with a range of food issues and weight issues.  They found that women with the addictive-type food behaviors had greater "neural activity" in the brain regions that showcased true addictive behavior, as seen in drug and alcohol addicts.


    The researchers are now offering a postulate that suggests that addictive processes may be involved in some patients who struggle with obesity.  And in fact, two well known authors, Dian Greisel Ph.D. and her brother Tom Griesel ask the question, "Why do some people react with addictive-tendencies when seeing or tasting a milkshake, candy bar or bag of chips, and not have that same reaction to another carbohydrate like fresh fruit?" Do certain foods, for some, have a truly compelling addictive attraction and nature?  Dian Greisel has worked with drug companies for more than 15 years, and is convinced that this new research is quite compelling and well founded.  Then there is a follow up question that begs to be asked - What is it about these foods that makes them addictive?

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    In their new book, TurboCharged, the Greisels maintain that simple foods in their natural state are the kinds of foods our bodies are capable of digesting, processing and thriving on.  "Unnatural" man-made processed foods are causing the "addictive-like" problems some people are facing.  The Greisels maintain that processed foods are made to "deliberately stimulate and excite our taste buds."  Refined carbohydrates, trans fat, omega-6 fats, salt, sugar, artificial dyes, and additives make packaged foods lethal to health and addictive in nature.  They go on to say that manufacturers know exactly what they are doing and it is their intent to get you addicted.  Their products are also given substantial shelf space in your local supermarket whose owner benefits monetarily from your food yearnings and addictions.  The Greisels say you should turn to fruit when a sweet craving hits.


    Frankly, I think it will be the unique and solitary family, that will try to and be successful at cutting out all processed foods.  I also think being able to turn to fruits instead of a donut or candy is a hard-earned new habit.  I do think you can create a mostly balanced diet that allows for treat moments and those treats, when allowed to fit into a balanced diet, will not overwhelm most people.  But trying to undo an ongoing "addictive relationship" with food may require behavior modification, therapy, support systems and a host of other tools in order to outsmart the addiction and keep it at bay.  After all, you can avoid drugs or alcohol - you do have to live with food everyday.

Published On: June 02, 2011