Eating is an innate human instinct and a normal behavior. Some people also like to enjoy delicious food and savor the delicious taste of food. However, if you always want to eat and cannot restrain your desire, be careful. Could it be the so-called food addiction? You may have heard this term before, but this symptom may often be ignored and thought to be just a simple love of eating. So, let’s take a closer look at food addiction and know what to do if there are any suspected signs!
What is food addiction?
The so-called food addiction is a obsession with eating, especially unhealthy foods (such as junk food), almost to the point of addiction. When people eat, the brain produces some neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which can make people feel happy and stimulate the reward feedback mechanism in the brain, making people feel pleasure. Food addiction is caused by consuming too much unhealthy food, which causes the brain to produce a large amount of dopamine, causing people to have the desire to eat again soon after enjoying the food.
What foods may trigger food addiction?
Foods that usually cause food addiction are not good for health and are high in sugar, fat, salt, or wheat products. Junk food is standard unhealthy food, such as potato chips, fried foods, candies, chocolate, etc. Biscuits, bread, and ice cream all fall into this category.
What are the symptoms?
- For some foods, even if you are full, you still have considerable cravings.
- Once you start eating what you want, you often end up eating more than you expected without realizing it.
- You will overeat if you eat what you like.
- I felt guilty after eating, but started eating again soon after.
- Make excuses to eat what you like, even if you don’t absolutely have to.
- Try not to overeat but keep doing it again.
- I have no recollection of when, where, or how much I ate.
- Eating to express emotions.
- Eat alone and in private to avoid being noticed.
- Eat to the point where you feel physically uncomfortable.
Causes obesity and disease
The most direct impact of food addiction is obesity, due to eating too much nutritious food. Others may cause Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, depression, etc. Food addiction can also affect relationships, because it will make people spend a lot of time eating, which may lead to neglect of work, family, and friends, and less time doing things they like.
How to improve?
If you want to treat food addiction, you can seek medical help or you can make more efforts in your daily life. In terms of medicine and seeking professional treatment, there are the following ways:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: It mainly allows patients to understand and try to change their thinking patterns and develop new ways of coping with food addiction.
- Solution-Focused Therapy: Find solutions to the events in your life that may cause food addiction.
- Trauma psychotherapy: Combatting life trauma that may contribute to food addiction.
- Medical treatement.
- Consult a nutritionist, choose the right foods, and control your diet.
If you want to improve on your own, the following points are for reference:
- Write down the foods that you like to eat and often eat in excess, and tell yourself to avoid these foods.
- Replace unhealthy processed foods with nutritious foods.
- Avoid foods containing caffeine.
- Eat a balanced diet for three meals.
- Drink more water.
- When eating, focus on the food and chew slowly.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get enough sleep.