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Can Food Be An Addiction?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I posted this as a thread in several of my teams, but wanted to put it in a blog/journal entry too. I read an article by some "expert" that said sugar cannot be an addiction, and that people who say so are just being lazy and using that as an excuse to overeat. Needless to say, I was quite steamed!!!

If you look at the classic "Ten Warning Signs of Alcoholism" and substitute eating for drinking/food for alcohol, how many apply to your life? For me, the number is SEVEN. I do not ACT on these behaviors every day, but when I am struggling - which is quite often - I have to fight all seven of them with ALL my strength. (#5 , #7, #10 don't apply)

Here are the ten warning signs of alcoholism, listed in no special order:

1. Drinking alone
2. Making excuses, finding excuses to drink
3. Daily or frequent drinking needed to function
4. Inability to reduce or stop alcohol intake
5. Violent episodes associated with drinking
6. Drinking secretly
7. Becoming angry when confronted about drinking
8. Poor eating habits
9. Failure to care for physical appearance
10. Trembling in the morning

The doctor who wrote the offending article said:
The argument that sugar causes brain changes similar to heroin and cocaine, and thus can become an addiction, is faulty because: if a person wanting to eat sugary foods substitutes another behavior, such as exercise or meditation, that activity also causes positive brain changes similar to eating sugar. Therefore, sugar is not necessary to achieve the positive brain changes, therefore sugar cannot be an addiction.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi Elizabeth - food definitately can be an addiction. Grains/sugar are poison in my book; if you read my story you'll understand where I'm coming from. Both my DH and I come from homes w/alcoholic fathers ... DH is a sugar addict (same as his older sis) and it manifests itself with high bp which leads to kidney and heart troubles. Their father also had thyroid disease, spleen and gallbladder removal, eczema, depression, pernicious anemia, blah blah - he died from (I think undiagnosed celiac disease or) non-Hodkin's lymphoma (celiacs have a higher risk for all GI cancers and non-Hodgkins). Their mother was celiac also - her brother died from heart attack in his 40s. Gout runs on that side - DH also has that. They say to stay away from purines with gout ... but fructose is at the heart of it (researching something else I found a wikepedia article). Anyway - while the doc is correct that exercise produces highs, the food does too and is a lot easier to get the food, don't ya think?

    I hope you continue to forge forward in your quest to become healthy. I've read your blog a bit and know your struggles. Think positive and about your health first and foremost - what you eat makes a HUGE difference in your outlook. Get nutrition to feed your brain and body. And to me, grain carbs and sugar are empty calories. JMHO and 2 cents.
    3964 days ago
    I believe that it is more of an allergy. I feel so musch better when I can totally eliminate it, but my body craves it. My legs, etc., actually start swelling almost as soon as sugar or white flour enters my body. And guess what I have eaten 9 pounds worth of this holiday season? Sadly, I cannot do the exercises to eliminate the amount I want to eat. I want to believe the "in moderation" principle, but my desire is for what i do not need.
    i guess mine is a "psychological" addiction, if not the physiological. I do know I am allergic to sugar, milk, and white flour in that the body's responses are not good. dot
    4165 days ago
  • B0BBIE
    yes food can be an addiction

    i have no doubt that it is

    and that is why many times when we cut back on certain things - like carbs etc we end up with terrible headaches and fatigue..

    anywho that is my humble opinion!
    4167 days ago
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