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"addictive" foods??

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Posts: 11,529
1/11/13 7:09 P

it wasn't my intent to say that everyone who wants a quick fix is lazy. you've heard of the seven stages of grief that people have to go through? i think that people who gain go through a similar set of phases [though i haven't taken the time to actually link them up so it's not a perfect analogy] on the way to losing and maintaining. one of the first phases is denial where it's not really an issue yet and you're not even ready to address that it is or might be. then you hit the point where you can acknowledge that there is a problem. then you have to work through finding ways to address the issues that you have and find one or more long term solutions. for a good number of people it takes them a long time to get from the point of awareness of the problem to the point when they are ready to implement a functional long term solution. and it is in that point that the quick fixes become very appealing. instead of looking at a long slog, this program says it isn't my fault and if i do this two week induction [where i can lose 30lbs!] for four times in a row i can be where i want to be. and that sort of shortcut can be very appealing. it's more of the authors preying on a vulnerable segment by telling them exactly what they want to hear, not a weakness on the part of the people buying.
because who hasn't tried the shortcut one time or another? if you can get it cheaper/faster and significantly so, to some degree everyone is going to bite at one point or another. sometimes it works, sometimes you end up replacing the cheap option so often it would have been cheaper to buy the expensive option at ten times the cost. it's something that almost all of us have to learn the hard way in one manner or another. doesn't mean you're lazy or a bad person or anything negative, it's just means you're a person. some people learn it with weightloss, other people learn it buying spatulas from the dollar store, still others with that great used car deal or the home repair quote that came in at 1/3 the price of the next lowest one, and probably eighty thousand other examples could go here. but while you learn the value and the requirements of things it's very easy and natural to try the option that tells you something you want to hear. one of my friends buys her prescription glasses online for about ten dollars a pair. one of the biggest complaints from that provider is that they randomly take your money and don't ship the product or that the product takes long enough to ship that someone must have walked it to your house from across the country. but more often than not she gets the product she wants for about a tenth of the price. and the little bit of roulette involved balances out for her. and the occasional skipped order or long wait time is worth it for her. but if they only shipped as often as they missed, she would use a different provider. everyone has to try the quick fixes until they hit on what they can do long term.

and i don't think you can use removing an allergen as an example when the discussion is about addiction.

when it comes to addiction and detoxing, perhaps i just keep that on a much higher pedestal than most people. i'm familiar with people quitting caffeine and having adverse reactions, but i would say that even that doesn't hold a candle to detoxing from actual drugs. and i would say that i have never, ever heard of people quitting any of the foodstuffs mentioned and having anything near a physical reaction that i would consider to be even holding a candle to cutting out caffeine. again, maybe i just think too much of actual withdrawal from drugs, so that might be a misconception on my part.

Posts: 8,023
1/11/13 6:21 P

Everyone said what needs to be said, but I just have to add...

I KNOW that overeating is totally my fault. No one MADE me have three donuts after breakfast.

I am NOT lazy. My house stays clean. I can't say laundry stays done because it is NEVER done.

Those that are looking for someone to tell them that it isn't, I believe, (forgive me), probably don't take much responsibility for things that are their fault in the first place.
And that's all I've got to say about that.

SparkPoints: (7,357)
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Posts: 21
1/11/13 6:01 P

Thank you for your post! My experience is that there are foods I cannot leave alone, that I crave, just like an alcoholic craves a drink, and an addict craves their drug. Then there are foods to which I am physically sensitive to - wheat (anything with gluten), corn, dairy and more - that make sick. Just like we don't all look alike, so our biological makeup is not alike. We need to be kind and understanding with others. Your post was wonderful! Thank you, again! emoticon

Posts: 1,365
1/11/13 4:23 P

I wouldn't want to minimize the suffering of an overweight person trying to resist certain trigger foods, but anyone who says a certain food is "more addictive than crack" has probably never been addicted to crack. Not the same ball park.

SparkPoints: (19,849)
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Posts: 1,267
1/11/13 3:16 P

I like your message - one should never generalize. It's why there are so many diet plans out there... everyone has to find something that works for them. I know for me, I've been doing best when I do a combination of weight watchers and spark people.

SparkPoints: (14,750)
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Posts: 728
1/11/13 2:49 P

This isn't the first time I am the dissenter of the group, so here goes...

Some of the statements made about addiction are likely related to the interaction that some foods - wheat is one - have with opiate receptors in the brain. There is a physical payoff when eating these foods, although it is not the same as being addicted to crack (as bread isn't quite as bad haha). Just ask people to give up bread or pasta for a month and see how they are horrified at the idea... "I CAN'T GIVE UP MY BREAD NO NEVER. PRY IT FROM MY DEAD HANDS". I've heard that a lot. Sounds like an addiction to me ;)

On another note....
Sorry, but people who struggle with weight loss plans like SP are not all lazy and waiting for people to tell them it's not their fault (some may be, but that over-generalization is pretty insulting). Many people are sensitive to wheat and reading these books will help them to change up their diets & try something new. If I hadn't done that, I'd still be 50 lbs overweight and sick all the time. But, I took a chance and tried a wheat-free diet (and YES I went through a physical withdrawal). Again, felt like breaking an addiction. I am not alone in this, many others have the same experience.

Do these books exaggerate sometimes? Yes. Are the authors trying to make money? Yes. Do some of them actually help people? YES. I don't disparage SparkPeople's plan because it didn't work for me... it will work for many people, just not me - I was miserable. Let's just try to keep open minds and not bash plans and new ideas just because we disagree.

SparkPoints: (58,398)
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Posts: 4,388
1/11/13 1:36 P

"the people writing them discovered if they told people it wasn't their fault" I agree w/ this statement by NIRERIN


and ADDICTED is kind of a buzz word right now.

although Weird Al did write a song about being Addicted to Spuds way back in the 80s emoticon

Posts: 4,848
1/11/13 1:09 P

Food as a whole is addictive. If you don't eat, you will experience withdrawal (i.e., hunger) and you can die from that. Water is addictive. If you don't drink it, you will experience thirst and then death in about 4 days. That's a bad one. And you can overdose from both. My grandmother died of a water overdose (not drowning; her heart stopped beating from drinking too much water).

But specific foods being addictive, even in the presence of other food that a person could eat instead? I don't know... I have seen all the documentaries too -- including the brain imaging that morbidly obese people's brains function differently in the presence of sugar, etc -- and I still think that it is just semantics. If it helps you to think of yourself as addicted to sugar so that you can "detox" and "go off" sugar permanently so you don't "relapse", then that's fine. If it helps you to think of yourself as "stronger than the food" and "it has no control or power over me", then that's fine.

Addiction is a pretty powerful term... I am sure that scientists aren't using it lightly. But a chemical dependency on a particular food -- rather than a macronutrient, like saying "I'm addicted to protein, if I don't consume any of it, I have negative consequences" -- like "I have an addiction to Kellogg's Corn Flakes with raspberries and 2% milk" -- that seems far-fetched. Addicts will do just about anything to get access to their substance. Supposed "food addicts" go on restrictive diets ALL the time and swear off the offending food constantly. They go back to it because restrictive diets are ineffective, not because a chemical dependency suddenly reasserts itself 6 months later -- at least, that is what makes sense to me.

I was morbidly obese for years and years and I can't point to a single food, type of food, or even broad category (starches, sugary foods) that I was "addicted" to. I just ate more calories on a daily basis than I burned, and I did it over a long period of time. But I understand that everyone is different and some people may actually have an actual chemical dependency to a food even though I find it a little hard to believe.

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1/11/13 12:46 P

Trust me, they taste kind of rotten to me too most of the time, although the other day I was PMSing so I had 2 of them. I sort of felt gross afterwards. But I hear ya on the cookies. Cookies of any kind, can't have them around. I normally have iron willpower but not with cookies.

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1/11/13 12:45 P

LOL Yojulez!! I love the IDEA that food can jump into my mouth and make me eat, but the truth is I really just love to eat. I can avoid the junky foods that taste rotten to me (strawberry pop tarts aren't much of a temptation) but when the Girl Scouts arrive with thin mints, I'm a lost cause!

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1/11/13 11:18 A

"the people writing them discovered if they told people it wasn't their fault" I agree w/ this statement by NIRERIN. The trend in society is to come up with excuses as to why someone can or cannot do something. Now, I do believe stuff like sugar can trigger cravings, but as for it being "addictive", meaning, your body has a negative reaction if you don't have it (like caffeine does) I wouldn't go that far.

I used to eat a ton of sugar products. I had 2-4 Strawberry Frosted Pop Tarts a day. That was one of the first things I cut out when I decided to lose weight. Sure, I still wanted them at first, but I certainly didn't die or have any other negative effects from not having them. It just took a lot of willpower... something most people who are learning how to be healthy need to work on. In fact, I think that's the FIRST thing people need to work on and learn... WILLPOWER... not placing blame on bad food that "forces" them to eat it.

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1/11/13 9:11 A

But if you are addicted to crack or other narcotics, and you don't get them, you go into a painful withdrawal that is physically awful. You can't function properly withOUT the drug.

Maybe my body is weird, but while I ENJOY sugar and often WANT sugar, I don't have any negative physical response if I don't GET sugar. Same with wheat. They're pleasant, but outside of a caffeine headache (and i know caffeine is mildly addictive) I had no physical issues when I tried a month long "detox" diet of no flour, sugar, fat, caffeine, or alcohol.

Did I miss those things? Sure. But that's like saying I'm "addicted" to my cell phone: I enjoy it, but it's hardly a physical need!

I guess I'm trying to separate out the idea that "we really like eating pringles, but they don't do a single positive thing for our bodies" from the idea that "eating pringles is akin to taking crack, because you become physically addicted and unable to function without the fix."

In the one case, an occasional pringles feast, while not nutritionally beneficial, isn't going to hurt you. In the other case, eating pringles is akin to getting started with crack -- physically dangerous!

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1/11/13 8:56 A

I can't think of any foods that are "worse" than drugs, but I was watching a 60 Minutes segment on sugar, and they said that it's just as addictive as cocaine.

Posts: 21
1/11/13 8:23 A

Worse than crack? No. Addictive? Yes!

I think it's because new research has shown that foods like sugar are in fact mildly addictive. They are in the same class as alcohol or caffeine.

Sugar and caffeine are stimulants that make people feel really good for a short time and when they wear off the body doesn't feel as good. What happens next? The body wants to feel really good again so you crave more sweets or drink another coffee so you can get that "high".

The human body instinctively looks for certain foods that taste good. Those foods throughout history have traditionally meant a nutritious diet for humans. However over the past 50 years or so food manufactures have learned how to play with the ingredients of packaged foods so that they are as desirable to the human body as possible, making people want to eat them. The problem is that the nutrition in those foods is anything but optimal. Often those foods contain little to no actual vitamins or minerals to fuel the body. Leaving you full of calories but the body is still starving for nutrients.

Posts: 11,529
1/11/13 8:00 A

as far as the books go the people writing them discovered if they told people it wasn't their fault, more people bought their books. the articles either address the issue or hype the book.
and what is meant is that these sorts of foods don't fill nutritional voids. in other words, if you have a twinkie, you eat the twinkie and you're hungry again in an hour because despite the calories it just gave you a sugar dump which made you hungry again pretty quickly. they're "addictive" because people like the taste of them and would rather eat them than real food, but since they don't keep you, you go back for more of what you like instead of what you need to be eating to keep you full. you grab those foods because they are quick and easy and there. i know my lightbulb moment was after eating two servings of pringles and realizing that they were doing anything to fill me up. so i had 100 cals of shrimp stir fry and was filled. the next time i was hungry and was going for pringles, i tried the 100 cals of shrimp stir fry instead and was full. and until you make that connect, you go for more of the easy stuff that you have to open instead of make. and the easy stuff tends to make you hungrier because it's not actually contributing to your diet. so you eat more of it. in that sense it's a vicious cycle more than an addiction. you eat low quality foods so that primes you to be hungrier sooner and want more junk foods because they are there and easy.

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1/11/13 7:06 A

What is up with recent books, articles, etc. about "addictive foods that are worse than crack?"

I mean, yes, Americans do eat a lot of wheat and meat and sugar and salt, and almost certainly should eat less.

But unless you have an unusual physical condition (one I've never heard of), how could these foods -- while tasty and thus tempting -- be addictive in the way that narcotics are addictive?

granted that I LOVE ruffles potato chips and thin mint cookies enough to scarf a whole bag, but if I don't have a bag in front of me I don't have a physical need for my next "fix," or feel unwell because I haven't had enough chocolate or bread.

What exactly is MEANT by the idea that these foods are addictive? Is it just an overstatement meaning "we have these foods around everywhere and seem to eat them all the time?"

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