ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Food Addiction Is A Real Addiction

Updated on April 10, 2013

Food Addiction Kills

Chained Utensils are not the answer to a food addiction!
Chained Utensils are not the answer to a food addiction! | Source

Globesity: An Overweight Epidemic

What Is A Food Addiction

A food addiction is just like most other types of addiction; a maladaptive pattern of substance use or process obsession. In this case, food is the substance and the process. Many studies are looking into the hypothesis that an addiction to food, is no less a clinical disorder than is an addiction to drugs. Where the trouble in proving the theory arrives is, a food addiction is considered a "process" rather than a "substance" problem which manages to bring some skepticism to the idea that food can have an unyielding addictive power over someone. However, when you think about it, it may actually be a little about the process and the substance in this case. Let's take a look at the differences between the two.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Are you, or someone you know suffering from what you believe to be food addiction?

See results

Define The Two Types Of Addiction

What Is A Substance Addiction

Substance addictions stem from a chemical or emotional compulsive behavior surrounding the use of a given substance—think along the lines of alcoholism, drug abuse, or smoking.

What Is A Process Addiction

A mood-altering or behavioral activity that becomes compulsive around a given process—think in terms of sexual addiction, gambling, shopping, hording and yes, eating.

What Makes Up An Addiction

There are 11 proposed criteria that determine if an addiction of some sort is in play. Displaying two or more of these criteria can indicate you may have an addiction.

11 Steps To Addiction

  1. failure to complete major obligations
  2. physically dangerous
  3. increases or causes social and interpersonal problems
  4. tolerance or need for substance or process increases
  5. withdrawal
  6. increasing dosage or consumption
  7. failure to cut down
  8. large amount of time wasted to obtain
  9. use and recover
  10. quitting or reducing activities because of use or process
  11. continuing process or use even when awareness of the problem exists

Addictive Foods

Foods With Drug-of-abuse-like Effects

Junk food companies design there recipes in such a way that, "taking" them produces the "craving" for them. We have all heard about the crack supplier who generously offers, "Don't worry about it, the first one's on me." Sound familiar? It should, this is the exact same trap that addictive junk food lined grocery store shelves are doing with a "two for one" deal. Many modern world-class researchers stand firm on the belief that certain foods absolutely promote the same "effect" as do drugs-of-abuse. Which is quite telling in just how these particular junk food products trigger loss of control that inevitably results in overeating. Remember that slogan, "I bet you can't eat just one"? This may have been the most important moment in junk food marketing; and potentially a covert back-handed attack on the American waistline.

Where Is Added Sugar Hiding In American Diets

(click column header to sort results)
Dairy based desserts
Fruit drinks
Grain based desserts
Ready-to-eat cereal
Soda, energy/sports drinks
Sugars & honey
Yeast breads
All other food items
Information derived from Dietary Guidelines For Americans

Food Addiction Study

A 2011 study (Novak & Brownell, 2011; Aven et al., 2012) took a good look at the opiate-like withdrawal symptoms in lab rats who had been given great tasting fatty foods. The results were very telling; the rats exhibited significant withdrawal symptoms after having been fed the junk food—french fries, and other sugar, fats, and salty snacks. All of which brought on the addictive-like results.

Junk Food Triggers

The Novak & Brownell study strongly supports the food addiction theory. Further studies conducted show that differences between tasty food that (human) patients crave are greater than the craving for a glass of water. Thus, the research discovered that an actual chemical change takes place in the junk food intoxicated brain—dopamine (our happy chemical) is triggered—but only in obese patients unlike the thin control group. Which indicates that the obese individuals are experiencing a brain reward from the junk food, as would an alcoholic from a shot of gin. Among the most devastating contributors of this trigger, are those sugary sweet sodas and energy/sports drinks which make up about a whopping 36% of the overall source.

Sweet, fatty, and salty foods will impact any food addiction!
Sweet, fatty, and salty foods will impact any food addiction! | Source

What Foods Are Addicting

Are All Foods Addicting

Not all foods are addictive. Thankfully, far from it! However, foods that have a high level of sugar, fat and salt most certainly have very strong addictive features. These are the "first string" foods when it comes to contributing to an eating disorder(s).

It is important to understand that the addiction to food is a two-edged sword; this is because it can be psychological or physiological and—unfortunately, in most cases—even both. But, there is good news for food addicts! With the new information being found during modern research studies, new treatments are also being discovered and tested to better serve the food addicted population. Stopping the cycle of abuse is the goal, with the key to winning the battle finding a way to stop the cravings all together.

Is There Treatment For Food Addicts

Along with the study of food addiction comes the potential for forward thinking discoveries in the actual treatment of food addicts, pleasure-related over-eaters, and the obese. The work is being done to find ways to change the foods that addicts (and people in general) crave, rather than finding ways to reduce the appetite itself. Stopping or reducing the craving, could stop the obesity epidemic all together. Creating a craving for healthy foods instead of damaging deadly foods is something researchers are currently discussing at length.

Medical Concerns In Obese People

  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • stroke
  • gallstones
  • liver disease
  • variety of cancers

Obesity And The Liver

Can Obesity Cause Liver Disease

With obesity comes an unbelievable number of medical issues ranging from gallstones to cancer. However, one particular issue discovered in obese people—obese youth in particular—is the high risk of the silent killer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This is generally accompanied by sluggish and even poor liver function that is linked to liver enzymes and torso pain (Hoppin, 2004). If not treated, NAFLD can turn into cirrhosis of the liver, which poses the highest risk factor in developing full-blown liver cancer.

Appetite Stimulating Foods

Foods that cause cravings
Foods that cause cravings | Source

4 Foods That Cause Cravings

Foods To Avoid When Fighting Cravings

Many foods bring on that feeling of, "I need more!" But, some activate the body into super-eating mode. Here are four foods that are sure to cause cravings every time you put them into your body.

1. Fruit Juice - Most contain high levels of fructose corn syrup, which has been proven to cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Spiking sugar levels induce the body into craving more sugar. If you are drinking the processed stuff, it has even more sugar added!
2. Regular & Diet Soda - Besides the fact that sugary soft drinks are loaded with artificial "everything," the diet version of this junk food has been shown to actually cause weight gain! They contain very high quantities of sodium that can lead to hypertension in those prone to the disorder. The combination of sugar and salt makes the body crave them like nothing else.

3. White Bread - Not only does white bread instantly turn to sugar in your body, but it has had all of the nutrients and fiber extracted during processing. This product has to have nutrients added back into the recipe just so it can be sold as food.

4. Processed Cereals - It is no wonder everyone is after that little leprechaun's Lucky Charms®, as most processed cereals are chalked-full of sugar! Which, as we now know, causes food cravings. Stick with real oatmeal, or at least buy cereals that are equal in sugar and fiber, which can help reduce the intense craving the cereal can cause

Appetite Reducing Foods

Foods that reduce cravings
Foods that reduce cravings | Source

4 Foods That Control Appetite

Which Foods Stop Cravings

Many high fiber and high nutrient foods help calm cravings, some more than others. What you will find here, are a few that can help quell the need to eat those sugary fat foods we so often deeply crave.

1. Peppermint - Simply taking a whiff of this sweet mint's leaf serves to trigger the brain's satiety center into thinking the body has been satisfied. The best thing about this appetite stopping food is that a simple sniff of peppermint, has zero calories!

2. Raw Vegetables - Because veggies take a while to chew, the body has a chance to release and be effected by the chemistry which shuts down the appetite; making it think it has been satisfied. The bundle of healthy fiber found in raw non-starchy veggies—like carrots and bell peppers in particular—suppresses the appetite by filling the intestines more completely. This allows the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals to enter your bloodstream, which stops the need to feed in its tracks.

3. Almonds - A simple handful (15 to 20) of these little gems as a snack contains enough of the essential amino acid phenylalanine to slow digestion enough to convince your tummy it is full. This can take about 20 minutes, so wait it out. In case you were wondering, that handful of almonds only has about 10 grams of fat, but it is good monounsaturated fat! This stuff helps promote healing in the body!

4. Turkey - Tryptophan not only helps us to feel sleepy, but this amino acid gets converted into serotonin. What is so special about that? Serotonin shuts off the appetite like a light switch! Try to only eat turkey meat sliced right off of the bird, or from a high quality deli. NEVER eat shiny slick-looking turkey meat—this stuff is packed full of additives!

Food And Alcohol Addition

Is Food Addiction Real

Not all people believe that food addiction is a real condition—like alcohol, or drug addiction— but the modern studies being conducted have certainly convinced me. In my opinion, food addiction has caused a very real globesity problem, one that would seem to surpass even that of drug abuse and alcoholism. What concerns me even more is that food addiction can begin in early childhood, where our habits are engrained for a lifetime. There is no doubt that teaching good food habits from an early age is vital in the fight against globesity. But, for those who are in the trenches doing battle with obesity currently, there is hope for modern treatments and potentially a cure. Research in this area must continue and be supported by all who suffer with the disease, and by those who love them.


Globesity is an overweight epidemic!
Globesity is an overweight epidemic! | Source

Comments for "Globesity, Overweight Epidemic"

Submit a Comment
  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    @Denise Handlon~ Thank you for sharing your story. Denial is a big part of the problem. People who scoff at the concept that food has become an addiction would be scoffing for the wrong reason! It is a very real condition and one that is killing Americans daily, and unfortunately, our children are subject to learning to perpetuate the disease! I sure appreciate your comments, ma'am.


  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 

    7 years ago from Arizona

    I do have a friend who is totally obsessed with food. She is a great cook but getting larger by the day..and eats all the bad stuff. I love good food and go by the rule 90 percent healthy. Great job on this hub.

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    7 years ago from North Carolina

    India-your hubs are always filled with valuable and thorough information that is so useful. This is just another example of that. Well presented, factual, and filled with back up resources.

    This is a frightening culture we live in where so many companies do harm to their clientele. Thanks for presenting this great information. I've been realizing these past three months that I must be a food addict with my eating compulsion and weight gain. I haven't access to 'eater's anonymous' but surely there must be something online...When I mention this to friends or certain family, they poo poo it and want to stay in denial.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    7 years ago from Northern, California

    d.william~ You are totally right, many consider overeating as an emotional problem. When in fact, it is more likely psychological AND physiological. Who can dispute the thousands of additives, excess sugars, fats, and salt that junk food recipes contain? It is a cocktail made specifically to target those who are prone to the problem. The really frustrating part is that the companies who make such unhealthy and crappy non-nutritional foods have pointed their marketing campaigns directly to influence children. It is a scary endeavor to say the least! It is up to each of us to manage the problem with care and understanding for just how and where the attacks are being conducted on our eating habits.

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the subject! It is always so nice to find you among the comments!


  • d.william profile image


    7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

    An excellent article.

    Foods are definitely addictive in all the ways you point out. We used to believe that food addicts were simply substituting food for unfulfilled emotional needs. In some cases that may be the main reason for overeating. But research certainly has confirmed your view as just as real a reason for "globesity" as you so aptly put it.

    Great article. Well written, well researched.

    voted up, useful and awesome

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    7 years ago from Northern, California

    @Chatkath~ I am glad you found some new information about the overweight epidemic within the hub! It is troubling to watch as junk food takes over our lives! Thank you for sharing your comments!


    @Funom Makama~ Thank you so much for the high praise. There is a lot to learn about globesity, so this would account for this being such an in-depth article. I am honored that you appreciate the work.


    @rcrumple~ You are so strong! Most fast food companies make it very difficult to resist the fried and sugary foods they sling out the drive through window. From TV commercials, to the substances in the recipes, their goal is to get us "hooked" so they can reel us in for years and in some cases generations! I respect your ability to resist the temptation! Thank you for sharing your story!


    @Bart~ Hi big brother! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you're finding peace and joy in the house of God these days! I Love You!

    Family Blood HubHug!

    @mperrottet~ Eating has become such an addiction in modern times that it speaks loudly to the direction Americans are heading. It would seem that we are our own worse enemy, when it comes to choosing convenience or health; with convenience winning. So sad, but I doubt if the manufactures are going to hurry to make any vast changes, as money seems to be the greatest addiction of them all! Thank you for commenting today, I appreciate your time.


    @Eiddwen~ How nice to find you among the comments today! It makes for a lovely surprise! Thank you for making it by, Eddy!


  • Eiddwen profile image


    7 years ago from Wales

    So very interesting and useful;thanks for sharing.


  • mperrottet profile image

    Margaret Perrottet 

    7 years ago from San Antonio, FL

    Well researched article. The obesity numbers are staggering, and it does seem as if eating has become an addiction for many people. Good advice on how to stop food cravings. Voted up, useful and interesting.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Go Sis!


  • rcrumple profile image


    7 years ago from Kentucky

    India -

    Junk food is addicting in so many ways it's ridiculous. I still drive by McDonald's and the rest and have cravings, even though I gave most up 6 months ago. When I do have a relapse and visit, I make sure to recognize how I feel after eating, which is usually physically and mentally tired, a headache, and a loud ringing in my ears. Also, anyone that has gone a long time without fried food, when you chew that first french fry you immediately feel the grease coating in your mouth. All these negatives come to mind when temptation rears its ugly head, and most of the time, I drive by quickly. Very informative hub! Up & Useful & interesting

  • Funom Makama 3 profile image

    Funom Theophilus Makama 

    7 years ago from Europe

    A hub of great quality, fantastic and very engaging. It is a complete page which I greatly enjoyed and appreciate. Thanks for the awesome share and definitely voted up

  • Chatkath profile image


    7 years ago from California

    Wow k9. What a complete. Look at addictions. I learned so much from your hub. Great job


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)