Are Food “Addictions” Real?

by on March 10th, 2011 at 7:00 am

In defense of all the self-proclaimed “chocoholics” out there, food cravings may be both physically and emotionally driven, making resisting certain foods that much tougher! The next time you reach for that snack, take a minute to try and decide if you really want that brownie – or if you just need a nap!

Physical causes for food cravings

When sweet, high-fat foods such as chocolate or high-carb foods like pizza are eaten, serotonin is released, leading to feelings of happiness. If you give into your cravings often, you can set up a ‘reward’ pattern in your brain.

Further, when we are on the verge of exhaustion, serotonin levels are typically lower, sending a signal to the brain that the body needs a “boost”. Adrenal fatigue, which is often tied to stress and sleeping problems, can also lead to food cravings. This often results in a craving for sugar; which unfortunately creates a temporary rush, followed by a bigger crash.

Low blood sugar levels can also trigger cravings for certain foods, including carbohydrates. There are also theories that some cravings may be a result of nutritional deficiencies; however, most research does not show conclusive evidence that this is true. There may be truth that certain conditions trigger symptoms similar to cravings, such as excessive thirst and diabetes.

Emotional causes for food cravings

Underlying emotional issues are much more likely to be correlated with eating disorders that may classify someone as having an actual food “addiction”. However, emotional eating is quite common and varies in occurrence and severity.

Emotional eating is typically used as a coping mechanism for conditions that cause emotional pain like depression and anxiety, or it may be a reaction to discontent brought about by stress and boredom.

While it’s not easy, overcoming emotional eating is possible, and begins with awareness of the triggers that can lead to a junk food binge. If your weakness is snacking while watching TV, do simple exercises like sit-ups during your favorite show instead.  If stress sends you searching for some chips, find an alternate way to deal with your frustration. It’ll help get to the root of your problem, plus save you the calories.

It takes a while to break a habit, so go easy on yourself and applaud your efforts to work on improving your health!

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3 Responses to “Are Food “Addictions” Real?”

  1. [...] the full post on Native Remediea. blog comments powered by Disqus [...]

  2. Mike Lieberman

    Mar 10th, 2011

    Most of us don’t know what true hunger is. If we were to slow down and listen to our bodies we’d see that it’s stress, boredom or other influencers that have us turning to food. Coping with that is still the challenge.

  3. [...] more here: Are Food “Addictions” Real? Enrich your life and the lives of others by learning Aromatherapy, Reflexology or Color/Crystal [...]

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