Overeaters Anonymous - Interesting Video on Fast Food Addiction




tvalle
12-02-2008, 03:02 PM
I just came across this video on fast food addiction (http://www.myoaexperience.com/content/did-you-ever-wonder-if-fast-food-addictive). A lot of it rings true for me. Do any of you find the same behavioral changes once you start eating fast food?

I know that I totally want MORE once I start. I have always wondered whether or not the FF companies are putting something addictive in their products.


JulieJ08
12-02-2008, 03:47 PM
I'll have to watch the video later, but I have really noticed how fast food or junk makes me want more, lots more, even when I'm not really liking the "food" much. It's weird.

tvalle
12-02-2008, 03:52 PM
I agree. It's always made me leery of the FF companies. Always this strange feeling of never being satisfied.


PhotoChick
12-02-2008, 03:56 PM
I don't think there's anything addictive being put in food. That's a tad far fetched. ;)

What I DO think it is, is that when someone eats fast food, they're filling their bodies with lots of carbs and unhealthy fats for the most part. That kind of nutritionally void food doesn't satisfy the body. So as your body produces insulin to process the carbs you've consumed, you get a drop in blood sugar, which makes you hungrier, which makes you crave more. And it's a never ending cycle - becuase your body will never really be satisfied by junk food.

.

JulieJ08
12-02-2008, 04:03 PM
I agree. It's always made me leery of the FF companies. Always this strange feeling of never being satisfied.

I wasn't sure for a second whether you meant FF as fat-free or fast-food. But it doesn't really matter, does it? The fat free stuff is kinda the same way as fast food.

nicolee
12-02-2008, 04:07 PM
Thanks for posting that video. I find that whenever I eat fast food, I have a hard time stopping with just a burger and fries...always gotta get that cookie...or ice cream...or shake.

kaplods
12-02-2008, 04:43 PM
The fat/sugar(especialy HFCS)/starch(especially gluten grains)/sodium combination very well may be "addictive." But are fast food companies deliberately inducing an addictive response, or did they almost incidentally learn through trial and error (that is market research) which combinations are the best sellers (because they're so addictive)?.

I think the latter is more likely, but regardless, the end result is the same. Cheap, convenient, and difficult to resist (whether you call it "addictive" or not).

A preference for intensely flavored, high fat, high sugar foods, and even a taste for salt - once kept our ancestors alive. Preferring highly concentrated foods meant that we sought out the most concentrated food forms (which usually weren't as abundant as the less concentrated, lower calorie foods - so we ate a lot of those when the rarer concentrated foods weren't available).

All critters take advantage of the easy way, when it's available. Polar bears in Alaska that have discovered human dumps, prefer them to hunting seals (because it's a lot easier), and even in the dumps they've learned which are the concentrated food sources (I read somewhere that they've learned to recognize mayonaise jars and mayonaise has become a polar bear favorite - why? fat of course).

But what was once rare, is now not only common, but ubiquitous. And our biologies are still wired to think "jackpot" when we encounter that holy grail of food sources a food high in all of the nutrients we're biologically wired to seek out because they're not so common in the natural world. Think of honey - in the natural world - hard to find and even harder to obtain. A whole lot of work (and pain) for a little treat, not something a human (or bear) was able to eat every day. Ripe fruit - only available for a short season, and every herbivore and omnivore in the vacinity also has it on the top of their shopping (err foraging) list. You'd better eat as much as you can, because it probably won't be available for long.

I've read and believed this theory for many years, but I'm just now starting to realize how much I have to consider it in my daily life. Some foods are more like drugs to me (and I'm apparently not alone in this), and I have to treat them as such. The high-carb insulin response, especially in insulin resistant folks (which I am, and maybe always was), triggers hunger and cravings especially for more carbohydrates. This isn't a crack-pot theory, it's pretty standard medical knowledge. Insulin is a hormone that triggers hunger - and carbohydrates trigger insulin release. When the system is working perfectly, just enough insulin is released to deal with the carbohydrates, but in insulin-resistant folks the balance of the cycle is off and the person is even more prone to hunger and carb-cravings.

In some ways, it's not surprising in our country that so many people are fat (50% are overweight). It's shocking how many people aren't. Especially as we, as a nation, work longer hours at more sedentary jobs, and eat more processed foods.

I was watching a documentary the other day, in which some of the experts are predicting that the proportion of overweight folks is likely to continue rising, and it's conceivable that nearly 100% of the American population could become overweight if the current trends continue (portion sizes, people eating out, fewer jobs requiring physical work...).

In prehistoric times, no matter what your genetic makeup, being overweight would be unlikely, and being obese would be nearly impossible (though considering the Venus of Willendorf goddess statues, probably not entirely impossible). As we moved to agricultural lifestyles, obesity became more likely, but only in modern times where calories are cheap and physical activity is much less necessary.

In a sense, being "hungry and lazy" had survival value (at least as long as the hunger was a little stronger than the laziness).

Believing this, could make you want to believe "what's the use, you can't fight biology," but for me it's inspired the opposite. There's nothing "wrong" with me, I'm just in the wrong environment. So I have to change the environment (because I can't change my biology).

Today I reached a breaking point of sorts. I started throwing out the high-carb foods in the house that I still have portion control issues with, but kept because they're "healthy". Dried blueberries were the first to go (they're $16 a lb, so I'm really, really glad there were only about two tablespoons of blueberries left in the bag - and hubby had forgotten to close the bag so they were icky - but it was a start).

I've been reading a lot of books on low-grain and low-gluten diets, and I'm beginning to wonder whether the links between grains and autoimmune disease is true. It's a popular, but unproven theory, but what do I have to lose by giving it a try. My autoimmune disease (destroying the cartilage in my nose and damaging lungs and sinuses) has dramatically slowed down to the point that I might be in remission. My doctors can't explain the improvement, but it may have involved several factors. My sleep improvements, my weight loss, the lower carb diet. However, if grains play a role in autoimmune disease, that could also have been a factor as I've drastically cut down on bread and other wheat products.

I feel as if I don't know anything at this point (except that high carb foods make me hungrier and I don't need to be hungrier), but it all does make me wonder.

JulieJ08
12-02-2008, 08:42 PM
What I DO think it is, is that when someone eats fast food, they're filling their bodies with lots of carbs and unhealthy fats for the most part. That kind of nutritionally void food doesn't satisfy the body. So as your body produces insulin to process the carbs you've consumed, you get a drop in blood sugar, which makes you hungrier, which makes you crave more. And it's a never ending cycle - becuase your body will never really be satisfied by junk food.

.

But it makes me want more long before my blood sugar or insulin levels are changing. It's something in the taste. Maybe entirely psychological. Or maybe something that gets absorbed fast.

PhotoChick
12-02-2008, 08:51 PM
But it makes me want more long before my blood sugar or insulin levels are changing. It's something in the taste. Maybe entirely psychological. Or maybe something that gets absorbed fast.I'm sure there's a strong psychological element there.

But your insulin level does spike nearly immediately when you consume simple carbs. (I cared for my grandmother who was an insulin dependent diabetic the last several years of her life - I learned a LOT about how the body processes carbs and sugar! :) ).

High glycemic foods cause a nearly immediate rise in blood sugar which in turn causes a nearly immediate insulin spike. The blood sugar levels then plunge, but the pancreas is continuing to produce insulin for a little bit because it's in overdrive (kinda like trying to come to a stop when you're running full out - you hit the finish line, but you can't just stop on a dime). So then your blood sugar plummets and you become hungry - sometimes hungrier than when you first started, even though your stomach is full, because your blood sugar has taken such a plunge.

And fast foods are mostly high glycemic foods.

And I've read some studies that say some people's bodies are so programmed for this spike that just SMELLING the foods that trigger a spike (like french fries, baking bread, a candy bar, etc.) can make the pancreas begin producing insulin and the spike will begin even before you begin to eat.

Our bodies are kinda fascinating in how they react. But knowing that even smelling fast food can trigger an insulin reaction helped *me* a lot. I could realize that this was something under my control ... but that it wasn't just about self control either. There is a reason why people crave fast food and carbs. ;)

.

kaplods
12-02-2008, 09:05 PM
I think it's as simple as a preference for concentrated sources of
fat/carb/sugar/salt foods being hard-wired into our genetic code (as it is for most animals). If you gave any other omnivore (whether a rat or a chimp) a choice between a Big Mac and a pound of carrot sticks, they're going to choose the BigMac more often than the carrot sticks because "in the wild" calories often matter most. When you're facing the risk of starvation, calories are more important than micronutrients, and the natural order is always to be on the brink of starvation, because when food is abundant the natural response is for populations to increase long before widespread obesity is likely.

Consider the polar bears' preference for mayo - there's certainly not a genetic preference for mayo, but there probably is a genetic preference for fat. Since polar bears' natural prey is fatty sea mammals like seals, mayo may be the closest thing nutritionally in the dump to seal blubber (and a lot easier to catch).

Consider grizzly bears during the salmon migration. If the salmon is abundant enough and the bear is a good enough fisherman, it will strip off and eat only the fattiest bits (mostly the skin) and throw the rest to the bank where the animals that aren't as talented at fishing will eat the leftovers.

JulieJ08
12-02-2008, 09:09 PM
I think it's as simple as a preference for concentrated sources of
fat/carb/sugar/salt foods being hard-wired into our genetic code (as it is for most animals). If you gave any other omnivore (whether a rat or a chimp) a choice between a Big Mac and a pound of carrot sticks, they're going to choose the BigMac more often than the carrot sticks because "in the wild" calories often matter most.

But to me, it's the junkiness of the food that causes this hand-to-mouth problem even when I don't like what I'm eating. Really, really good stuff, even if high fat, salt, carb or whatever, just doesn't cause that mindless "I don't even like this, but let me shovel in some more nonstop for an hour" business.

kaplods
12-02-2008, 09:29 PM
What do you mean by really, really good stuff with a high fat/salt/carb/sugar content? Do you mean expensive or nutritious? What would be some examples of the good stuff with a similar fat/salt/carb/sugar (especially HFCS) content as junk foods. I'm not sure that there is good stuff (nutritionally) with the same levels of fat/salt/sugar/starch as junk food. Anything with that high a fat/salt/sugar/starch content by definition, is usually junk food.

For me, I've never noticed a difference between either except that with the expensive stuff I'm only slightly less prone to mindless eating, only because the cost reminds me to at least eat it slow and savor it.


But nutritionally, for example, I haven't noticed any difference in say Terra Chips and Lays Potato chips (terra chips are a variety of fried root veggies, so would have more nutrients than potato chips, and I certainly can eat just as mindlessly as tater chips). If anything, I can fall into a trap of thinking that because a food is "healthier" I don't have to worry as much about portion control (definitely not).

Premium icecreams often have more high quality ingredients and more nutrition (because of various fruits and other stir-ins) than low fat icemilks, but I have a harder time portion controlling the premium ice creams (although the fat content isn't similar, so it would make sense the premium icecream would win out).

One of my favorite dishes in the world is "scalloped pineapple," it's basically a pineapple bread pudding, and I can't make it except to take to a potluck because I end up eating the whole pan, and wondering where it went. It's got whole milk, cream, butter, sugar, white bread, eggs and vanilla, and it definitely has the sweet, fatty, salty, starchy combo of "junk food," even though the eggs and pineapple at least are whole foods. I've made it with whole wheat bread instead of white and Splenda instead of sugar, and it only helped marginally.


Pizza made with a lot of great veggie toppings is just as addictive to me as Domino's.

PhotoChick
12-02-2008, 09:55 PM
Yeah, I have to agree with kaplods.

This: Really, really good stuff, even if high fat, salt, carb or whatever, seems contradictory to me. If it's high fat, high salt, high carb, high sugar, then it's junk. It might be expensive junk, but it's still junk.

I think Jay started a thread one time on what do you consider "junk food". To me a Five Guys burger is just as much "junk food" as a McDonalds hamburger. It's just better quality junk. :)

.

JulieJ08
12-02-2008, 10:44 PM
What do you mean by really, really good stuff with a high fat/salt/carb/sugar content? Do you mean expensive or nutritious? What would be some examples of the good stuff with a similar fat/salt/carb/sugar (especially HFCS) content as junk foods. I'm not sure that there is good stuff (nutritionally) with the same levels of fat/salt/sugar/starch as junk food. Anything with that high a fat/salt/sugar/starch content by definition, is usually junk food.



Didn't mean to be unclear. I just mean, say, rich homemade ice cream, or homemade apple pie with real whipping cream. As opposed to typical store ice cream, frozen pies, Reddi-Whip. I think the fat / sugar is probably comparable, but the ingredients are just not the same. By junk I usually mean highly processed, rather than just high in fat or sugar. Those are sweet examples, but I suppose the same would apply to mashed potatoes heavy in butter vs McDonald's french fries.