- Diet & Weight Loss
Food Addiction, Cravings, Chemical Culprits Linked to Overeating
It has always been accepted that being overweight or obese is due to genetics, overeating, poor willpower or lack of exercise but another possibility is now believed to be food addiction. Food found in supermarkets today comes in endless varieties loaded with chemicals and addictive fat, salt and sugar, manufactured by money driven food companies, whose goal isn’t to make you trim and healthy, but to get you hooked on their product. Advertisements for these unhealthy, addictive, habit forming foods are designed to appeal to the emotional eater.
When health issues and obesity appear, many people become deperate and begin a vicious cycle of crash diets and food binges. The cycle never stops because dieting leads the emotional eater to more overeating. Will power, which seems to be more than sufficient to overcome in other areas of life, is ineffective when it comes to food. Slowly self esteem begins to erode, as the victim spirals downward into the pit of addiction from which there seems to be no escape. Any attempt to improve one’s diet is met with even stronger cravings for health destroying foods. Trying to avoid food only increases the obsession.
Other possible causes of overeating are food allergies, hormonal and neurochemical imbalances. Research has found that people who are allergic to a particular food may feel more hungry after eating it. If they resist eating the food, they experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Certain foods and beverages may be responsible for imbalances in the body causing food cravings and should be avoided.
When life is met with disappointment, loneliness, anger, frustration,stress and boredom, food can be an escape or a distraction. Pleasure eating shifts the attention. The victim has a way to take control of their undesirable mood and circumstances and influence their mood positively by eliminate negative, uncomfortable feelings. Life has improved for the moment, but behind the scenes addiction is growing and food becomes a controlling force in life.
Warnings of the dangers of overeating, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and unattractive, overweight bodies cause great concern, but are not enough to prevent the overeating of unhealthy foods. Instead, diet pills, shakes, exercise, stimulants, hypnosis, electric muscle stimulation, vibration machines, plastic wraps, liposuction and weight loss drugs are used but only temporarily remedy the problem.
Food Allergies, Hormone and Neurochemical imbalances
Over time, eating the same foods too often can cause sensitivity to the food leading to allergic reaction from the food. The body releases histamine and other chemicals which cause a number of side effects including mood swings, headaches, migraines, asthma, skin rashes and heart palpitations. The symptoms usually occur only moments after eating the food. Continually eating foods that cause allergies deplete the body’s immune system and nutrients rendering it incapable of fighting bugs and viruses when they attack. The result being frequent flues, colds and other infections.
Food allergies can cause hormonal imbalance which may cause a deficiency in serotonin levels. This can trigger cravings for unhealthy foods to compensate for the deficiency. Instead, take the healthy approach: Identify the allergy food and elliminate it. Prime suspects are milk and rye, oat and wheat glutens. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, cigarette, anphetamines, get plenty of rest and exercise. Nutrients that may be beneficial are ginkgo biloba, Vitamin B6 and St. John's wort.
How to Combat Food Cravings
Drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day. Many times feeling hungry is really a sign that we need water, avoid situations that will trigger cravings. When you have a craving for an unhealthy food like ice cream, replace it with frozen yogurt. Replace wheat with spelt or kamut. When cravings come, try to discern what your body needs. For example, if you crave salty snacks, substitute them with food sprinkled with a healthy form of salt, such as sea salt. Distract yourself with healthy activities such as exercise. Rid yourself of obvious sources of temptation. The next time you are at the supermarket decide not to put those doughnuts in your shopping cart. Gargle with an unsweetened mouthwash. A big part of food addiction is in the taste and food won’t taste so good afterwards something bitter. Avoid foods with artificial preservatives and colors.
Emotional eating, food allergies or hormonal imbalances may lead to food addiction. Food addiction may be impossible to overcome without taking the appropriate steps to overcome it. Isolating the source of addiction is half the battle. Making minor changes in diet and implementing strategies to deal with cravings will lead to freedom from food addiction and all the heath issues that go with it.
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