Can Food Be as Addictive as a Drug? Hmmm.. Let Me Think
A recent article in the New York Times Magazine discusses whether or not food can be addictive.
According to the processed-food industry, it cannot. They don't feel the use of that word is appropriatems, so they're coined their own term: craveability. With financing from the World Sugar Research Organization, whose sponsors include Coca-Cola, the Welsh psychology professor David Benton has argued that food cravings do not meet the technical requirements of addiction.
I beg to differ.
The second sentence of the very same article points out that for some, "Just thinking about cinnamon buns or pizza stimulates the release of the neural chemical dopamine, which can cause the brain to override the biological brakes that try to prevent overeating".
The idea of 'everything in moderation' is nonsense, too. Just a little bit of bread, or a small amount of peanuts is still enough to wreak havoc on your GI tract, your skin, your energy level and your entire body's system as a whole.
Eat Paleo Foods. Be Heatlhy. That's it.
Here's the full article…
Can Food Be as Addictive as a Drug?
by MICHAEL MOSS
We crave certain foods so much that they seem addictive. Just thinking about cinnamon buns or pizza stimulates the release of the neural chemical dopamine, which can cause the brain to override the biological brakes that try to prevent overeating. According to "Why Humans Like Junk Food," by a former Nestlé scientist named Steven A. Witherly, the brain especially loves mixtures of salt, sugar and fat and the emulsive textures of butter, mayonnaise and chocolate. Witherly has developed what he calls the food-pleasure equation, in which Pleasure = Sensation + Calories. When we eat a combination of sugar, fat and salt, he says, we get a huge synergistic bang, first in the parts of the brain that register pleasure and then in the gut, which detects and responds more favorably to the high calories in sugar and fat. It's caveman stuff, going back to when we learned to eat big-calorie foods to survive.
But can cravings for sweet or salt or fat be classified as actually, legitimately addictive? The processed-food industry doesn't much like the A-word, preferring its own coinage: craveability. With financing from the World Sugar Research Organization, whose sponsors include Coca-Cola, the Welsh psychology professor David Benton has argued that food cravings do not meet the technical requirements of addiction. (Among other examples, fasting — the food equivalent of needing a hit — doesn't result in enhanced cravings.) The American Beverage Association paid for a 2006 review that makes a similar argument about caffeine. While some may ingest the stimulant to suppress withdrawal symptoms, the study declared, caffeine "does no harm to the individual or to society, and its users are not compelled to consume it."
The junk-food industry may have a point. Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that drugs can set off brain responses that are far more powerful than those caused by even the most luscious food. On the other hand, she notes, "clearly, processed sugar in certain individuals can produce these compulsive patterns of intake." The difficulty of trying to kick a food habit, however, is that you can't just go cold turkey from all food. Still, the best strategy for the afflicted, according to Volkow, is to mimic drug programs and completely avoid foods that cause the most trouble. "Don't try to limit yourself to two Oreo cookies, because if the reward is very potent, no matter how good your intentions are, you are not going to be able to control it."