Is food addiction a real thing? It’s a topic that really holds a great deal of interest for ME based on my own personal experience, and has become even MORE intriguing to me the more I read about the controversy over it. At the convention I’m going to in August one of the sections will be dealing with this issue and I’ve been trying to do a little research to educate myself on the varying opinions that are out there on the subject.
The base definition of addiction is as follows: “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing or activity.” To further break THAT down lets define addictED ~ and that is “ physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects”. Well I have to tell you that based on those two definitions, my vote remains on the HELL YES FOOD IS AN ADDICTION side of the argument.
When chocolate cake makes you swoon, when the Twinkie LITERALLY makes you feel better once you have it in your HANDS, when tasting the cookie LITERALLY puts you in a better mood ~ are you NOT addicted? Now of COURSE the immediate ramifications of what “food addiction” vs. say “heroin or alcohol” addiction might do to one’s body, and one’s life are not comparable in my book. The likelihood of that ONE MORE TWINKIE ending my life at THAT moment is slim to none, Vs. a heroin overdose or alcohol poisoning – yes intellectually I understand and acknowledge that those things do not “measure up” as equal on the scale of potential crisis. That being said however, the craving, the need, the dependence and the “high” that one obtains from these various substances CAN be compared in my opinion.
How many people do you know that when they take their first bite of cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory don’t immediately show a response that denotes pleasure. Honestly whether you are addicted to food or NOT, you are likely to make a face and possibly some audio noises that indicate the pleasure explosion that is going on in your mouth and brain. Now imagine if you WERE addicted, how hard would it be to STOP. Much as when the “classic” addict takes that next drink, or that next hit to get that “high” ~ when that food addict gets that cheesecake you cannot tell me that they are not getting a dose of some if not all of the “pleasure chemicals”, endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. I KNOW I DO, always have; and always will. It may not hit with the same intensity or speed that someone shooting heroin gets them, but I can ASSURE you – good cheesecake (insert your favorite food here) gets them running in ME!
One of the articles I read talked about Dr. Nora Volkow who in 2012 was the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and she argued in the face of the controversy that food addiction is real. She said that (and this struck me) “Many experts dismiss food as an addictive substance because it doesn’t lead to most people behaving like addicts — compulsively seeking food despite negative consequences. So, the reasoning goes, food can’t be as addictive as a drug like crack cocaine.” Click here to read the full article.
I disagree that it “doesn’t” lead to people behaving like addicts myself. How many people eat in secret or lie about their eating? Granted a “foodie” might not be knocking over a bank to purchase some chips and cookies, but is that simply because the “cost” of food lends itself to not requiring the addict to reach that level of the addiction. Is it in fact “not” addiction because of that, or is it simply addiction on a different level in a different form. I think it’s an amazing debate with a lot of valid points on both sides, my personal leaning is towards the belief that food addiction is as real as any other and should be given the same respect and research as any other addiction. Again, I qualify that statement by saying that I completely 100% understand the difference between the “immediate and irreversible” consequences of say a drug overdose vs. a pig out session. Having lived with and love many “classic addicts” I understand and respect the differences with all of my heart, but I do think there is room on the addiction continuum to acknowledge “food addiction” as real. As a side note, within the article I was reading there was a link to another interesting article called Heroin Vs. Haagen-Das if you are so inclined to read a little further. As always thanks for stopping by.