The very fact that we are having a national conversation about what we should eat, that we are struggling with the question about what the best diet is, is symptomatic of how far we have strayed from the natural conditions that gave rise to our species, from the simple act of eating real, whole, fresh food.
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.
Eat with others whenever possible. Eating with other people has numerous social and emotional benefits—particularly for children—and allows you to model healthy eating habits. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating. Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes. Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of our food. Reconnect with the joy of eating. Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
Such lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, little physical activity and low dietary calcium intake are risk factors for osteoporosis as well as for many other non-communicable diseases.
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.