Improvements in diet are clearly associated with significant lengthening of lifespan and dramatic decreases in risk of most chronic diseases. Combining disease and longevity into the concept of healthspan, the number of healthy years of life—fundamentally more important but less readily quantifiable than lifespan—the data in favor of optimizing our diets are even more compelling. No one is arguing that diet is less than extremely important to health and well-being, but seemingly everyone is arguing as to what constitutes the best diet.
According to the latest research conducted on the subject, certain behaviors and attitudes associated with certain types of food, closely resemble addiction patterns. In the study, over five hundred participants identify the foods that contributed the most to their weight problems. Participants used the Yale Food Addiction Scale in defining their problem foods. Different food types had corresponding scores, which were then averaged for each participant before the foods were ranked from most to least problematic, relative to addiction-mimicking behaviors.
The foods that emerged as most distressing and physically uncomfortable are the highly processed, fatty and sugary types. These foods also tend to have high glycemic indices, which affect a person's blood sugar level after consuming the food. According to researchers, this is no coincidence. Several researches do provide hints that these certain food types can lead to behaviors and brain alterations which are often related to an alcohol or drug addiction diagnosis.
Food addiction as of today has not been recognized officially. Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it bears the most similarities with binge eating disorder. But the study discussed earlier – the latest on the subject – is the first to look into the link between how people eat certain foods and the properties of such foods (high fat, high sugar or highly processed. Researchers are very hopeful that the finding will help obese people in their struggle to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Fats are essential for many reasons: They are a provider of energy. They are involved in forming cell membranes. They are a vehicle for the provision of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, E, D and K. They are involved in making hormones. They provide insulation; keeping us warm. They provide us with a shock absorbing, protective layer Fats are made from building blocks called fatty acids. There are three types of fatty acids - saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fat in food contains a mixture of all three fatty acids, in different proportions in different foods.
Fats and oils containing large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids are derived mainly from seeds and nuts and include pure sunflower, safflower, sesame, soya, corn oils, and sunflower and soya margarine.
Two polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids cannot be made in the body and must be provided in the diet. These are called essential fatty acids.
These essential fatty acids are known as the "parent" fatty acids of 2 families of unsaturated fatty acids. The parent fatty acids undergo various different chemical reactions to produce the different fatty acids within each family, which have numerous different and important functions within the body.
Linoleic acid is the parent fatty acid of the n-6 family of fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid is the parent fatty acid of the n-3 family of fatty acids.
This could help change the world's approach to obesity treatment, which may not always be about reducing food intake, but rather using methods that are known to stop drug abuse, smoking and drinking.
A person who believes he might be addicted to food may never get an official addiction diagnosis from a doctor. But researchers are keen on spreading information so that those who are exhibiting sings of an addiction-like eating disorder can be helped. If you think you might belong to this group of people, this is one progressive and promising research for you to follow. It's not good to deny a problem when it's there. Know and accept your need for help.