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Is Junk Food Addictive or Not?

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Recent research has suggested that eating junk foods,
namely those edibles containing high amounts of fat, sugar and salt,
can stimulate parts of the brain involved in seeking reward and pleasure.
In other words, eating that pint of ice cream is addictive in the same way that nicotine or other drugs are addicting.

SOME experts say it is NOT addiction but food preference
That has us going back to junk food, again and again.

The rats that stuffed themselves with unhealthy foods gained weight quickly.
And When researchers applied electric shock to rats for eating unhealthy choices,
the obese rats still preferred junk food regardless of the pain.
When researchers removed the junk food option and
gave the rats a healthier diet, the obese rats refused to eat.
Those rats starved themselves for TWO WEEKS after
they were cut off from junk food.

{…kind of reminds me of ME as I was trying to learn how to eat healthy…
I was a slow learner … It took me a lifetime…}

But does that mean people are addicted to these foods?
The study said NO.
"Consuming certain foods is fine as long as they are consumed in moderation
and not all the time. To enjoy these things occasionally is reasonable.
That's kind of balance we need to aim for."


Personally …. When I eat one of my trigger foods
like one of my ice cream melt downs
{…admit it…you knew that was coming..}
It takes me about TWO WEEKS to recover.

Just call me Minnie Mouse

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Made bean soup with chicken and a variety of aromatic veggies.
Did some Zumba
all is good emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Once that trigger is tripped the addiction kicks may be short term but it is intense! I think these addictions are worse than drugs and alcohol. You don't have to have've always needed food. Drugs don't present themselves thru ads in print, on TV, billboards, or signage. Off the rant now.
    emoticon emoticon
    1599 days ago
    1697 days ago
  • KAB7801
    My junk food is chips! Very addictive can't have just one
    1703 days ago
    1717 days ago
    All things in moderation.
    1717 days ago
    I'm not sure if junk food is as addictive as heroine, but I do think it has addiction-like properties and symptoms. I'm reading a book about the processed food industry and food science and it's clear that scientists have isolated combinations of ''foods'' that are designed to make people crave more without being satisfied. Whether it technically qualifies as an addiction or not doesn't make the issue any less serious. I am learning to treat it like an addiction - in the sense of understanding why I have to stop even though it feels so good, removing myself from temptation, etc. It's arguably just as damaging to my body as drugs would be. I know some people point to food addiction as an excuse why they can't stop overeating, but I'm not looking at it that way. I'm looking at it as the reason I have to stop overeating.

    So from now on, I really can't see it as anything other than legalized crack.

    As far as moderation, their conclusion may be true but the reality is most Americans have no idea what eating junk foods in ''moderation'' really looks like. The average American, probably even the average dieting American, is so far from moderation they would probably feel that moderation was deprivation.
    1718 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/28/2013 5:33:31 PM
    i wonder who paid those experts! emoticon
    1719 days ago
  • TERRI289
    Anything with sugar in it does me in....sigh.
    1719 days ago
    Interesting. I'm still inclined to think that there is something similar to addiction going on with that kind of food - maybe not in the same way/to the same degree as with true drugs like cigarettes or alcohol or heroin or whatever, but it seems to me like there is a similar mechanism at work. But this is an interesting article. Thanks for sharing!

    1719 days ago
    1719 days ago
  • JAMER123
    emoticon emoticon blog! So true!!
    1719 days ago
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    1719 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    1719 days ago
    Very, very interesting. Thank you for the link.
    1719 days ago
    1719 days ago
  • NEPTUNE1939
    1719 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1719 days ago
    Just think about it:
    Junk food companies pay out a lot of money to advertising companies, market researchers, leaders of focus groups, etc to figure out just how to get a share of your stomach and to keep you coming back for more.

    The sugar, fat, and salt are part of it, but so are all the chemicals mimicking flavors, scents, colors, and textures that keep us interested.

    It seems to me that humans have been designed with taste buds and sense of smell and texture to lead us to eat real foods, but here we are, with fake stuff. Seems to me that junk food's real purpose is to get money out of our pockets, not to sustain our bodies, whether it is addictive or not.

    That is reason enough for me to stick the closest I can to the food, whether plant or animal, as it comes from well-nourished and cared for earth, water, and air.
    1719 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1719 days ago
    I do eat too much when I eat some foods. So--I stay away from them!! Best thing for ME.
    1719 days ago
    It is a constant battle. So easy to gain yet so slow to lose.
    1719 days ago
    Hi Sheryl.........
    There are certain foods that I have to totally avoid because I just can't eat them in moderation. It is just the way I am programmed. Am I addicted to them? Maybe........Maybe not..........but I can't have them near me and have learned to eliminate them.
    Your beans and chicken sound wonderful. I have been craving beans lately.......
    1720 days ago
  • HEARTS116
    1720 days ago
    well, well, you lit a fire here, didn't you??? Hmm... if it's addictive, then you think it's partially the food fault, right?

    It seems as if it is. By eating it, you crave more. But I don't know if the withdrawal is the same... I think both we and society train us early that it tastes better. But perhaps it doesn't satisfy. That's why we feel yuck or hollow.

    Didn't you ever eat candy or ice-cream. At first it tastes better and better. Then by eating more and more... eventually it tastes less ad less good.

    My vote is more psychological than physical emoticon .
    1720 days ago
    emoticon mmm emoticon
    1720 days ago
    I have to respectfully disagree with LOLAMOM2. Comparing an addiction to heroin to a craving for french fries is like comparing a swimming pool to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Looking at cat pictures on the internet can give you the same chemical bursts in your frontal lobe as eating chocolate. That doesn't mean people are "addicted" to cat pictures? (Some of my friends may be...but that's a different story.)

    The new DSM (which I am throwing a DSM release party for), only makes reference to binge eating disorders. The idea that "tolerance" can be applied in a clinical way to junk food, is pretty ridiculous. How would you measure a tolerance to Big Macs? Does withdrawal from Big Macs cause "physical symptoms such as stomach pain, shakiness or tremors, sweating, fever, chills, and headache?"

    Are those withdrawal symptoms measurable and predictable?

    If not...junk food is not a physical addiction. Psychological addiction maybe...but not physical.
    1720 days ago
    Tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable. Silly congress, they can't get anything right.
    1720 days ago
    That is interesting... I do believe that junk food IS addictive. And I hope I have broken the addiction, but it's not easy to do in a world where you have to eat, and somethimes that is all that is available (bitheday party for my 2yr old great nephew loast weekend). And then the craving is back. I wonder if there is junk food anonymous...
    1720 days ago
    Good food for thought!
    1720 days ago
  • CHERIJ16
    Exce emoticon llent information. Thank you.
    1720 days ago
    The rats starved themselves, but it's not addictive? Seems conflicting and paid for by the food companies...
    1720 days ago
    1720 days ago
    I worked in mental health and corrections for many years with more addicts than I could count and have no doubt junk food is truly addictive. I know we use the word addiction loosely for any behavior taken to unhealthy extremes to get a buzz--gambling, shopping, etc. --but I carefully avoid calling those behavioral obsessions addictions, reserving the term for physical addictions. If it causes chemical changes in the body and brain that causes you to crave more and more and makes you sick if you don't satisfy those cravings, that is an addiction, and sugary, salty, fatty junk food does that, just like cigarettes, alcohol, and meth.
    I looked up the DSM's official definition of addictions, which involves very specific criteria for "tolerance" and "withdrawal" and junk food meets any all the parameters of what constitutes the American Psychiatric Association's definition of physical "addiction."
    1720 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/27/2013 11:07:30 AM
    Junk food is addictive and unhealthy. They need to make fruits and vegetables available at a more affordable rate than junk food and then more people could afford to be healthier.
    1720 days ago
    Doritos sure are addictive for me! Guess you just never know...THANKS!
    1720 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1720 days ago
    food is absolutely addictive
    1720 days ago
    I believe that many junk foods are addictive - the white sugar, white flour and HFCS seem to be worst culprits for me.

    But ice cream? Hey now, no need to meddle ...
    1720 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/27/2013 9:51:27 AM
  • QUAIL75
    It' seems like junk food is addictive! White sugar is one of my trigger foods. I can't eat it or else I won't stop. I've had great success since I've really limited it.
    1720 days ago
  • NEWMOM20121
    Thank you for sharing. Really good blog.
    1720 days ago
  • DJSHIP46
    Thanks for sharing... I do believe that artificial sweeteners are addictive.
    1720 days ago
    Junk food is additive. They make it that way to increase their profits.
    1720 days ago
    I believe that junk food, sweets, etc. are just like substances that people abuse; they affect different people in different ways. I think some people can get addicted to a dangerous drug right away, while others can basically walk away after trying it a few times. I happen to be one of the ones who cannot walk away from sweets and junk food, so the best course for me would be to avoid "taking" them.
    1720 days ago
  • TINY67
    1720 days ago
    Great blog, so maybe not addictive but cravings sure are strong!

    1720 days ago
    I firmly believe potato chips are addictive. I avoid them like the plague.
    1720 days ago
    Isn't that something? Thanks
    1720 days ago
    I don't know if it's an addiction, but it's a behaviour pattern I find very hard to break.
    1720 days ago
    Interesting! Great blog!
    1720 days ago
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