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What makes food an addiction

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Old 06-03-2014, 07:08 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by novangel View Post
IMO addiction is mostly mental. .
I think you would say that if you don't experience addiction. I think one of the definitions of addiction is that its a bodily reaction, not a mental reaction that causes you to need it.

As for food addiction, i know the jury is out on this one. For myself i find it useful to think of myself as being addicted to sugar but whether or not its a true addiction, i don't know.

But as to cigarettes, i was definitely an addict. Don't have the same problem with alcohol but i know there are people who are.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:20 PM   #17
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I wouldn't consider my self an addict either, but ...

There is a great book called "Trances we live" that very well described the way my mind works when I do not struggle to be "Self-Aware". I and the book would say that most of us live in a kind of a trance, where our response is pre-programmed based on what ever stimulus we encounter.

I can remember vividly getting ready to go to work one day, this day was going to be a real bear of a day, I really didn't want to go.. but as I got up to leave as soon as I grabbed the doorknob, my mind flashed towards food and hunger. I had just eaten not an hour before.. I let go of the doorknob and remarked, "What the he** was that?!" Wow, I am not hungry, no tummy rumble

I have to be awake and present or my mind will try to mood manage -

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Old 06-03-2014, 08:23 PM   #18
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This ^^^

I reject the idea that food is addictive. I think we can be swayed to believe that it is, and by merely accepting that idea it takes strong hold in our minds. I think it's the placebo effect. As long as I believed that food was addictive I was addicted to "those" foods. Ever since I've rejected the idea I'm no longer addicted to "those" foods. Shrug.

People say the same thing about a lot of substances that don't apply to me personally. They say alcohol is addictive, but I drink it and I'm not an addict. They say cigarettes are addictive, but I smoke socially on occassion and am not an addict.

Cravings have multiple causes. They can be brought on by an actual need that your body has, an emotional stressor, or a restriction. If a person is thirsty does that mean they are addicted to water?
I agree with you. I've always questioned the notion of addiction. I'm rather inclined to believe in degrees of habituation.

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Old 06-03-2014, 08:38 PM   #19
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This thread has taken an interesting turn. On the one hand, I think a lot of times we use "addiction" as a short-hand phrase to describe a habit - "zOMG, I'm so addicted to carbs." Some people really do exhibit addictive behaviors around refined carbohydrates to their detriment, but no doubt a lot of people just mean they feel strong urges. Kind of like how people will exclaim, "Oh, I'm being so OCD!" when they mean they're being anal-retentive. They don't actually suffer from the debilitating disorder.

Anyway, I think being dismissive of the idea of addiction altogether is oddly ignorant (in this day and age) of established medical science. Ignorance is bliss, since someone who says that has probably not closely known anyone in their life who struggled heavily with addiction.

I think a few rare unlucky people really do suffer from clinical addiction to various foods, and no doubt there's varying degrees of addiction. A lot of us are just using it as convenient hyperbole, which confuses the issue.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:48 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Pattience View Post
I think one of the definitions of addiction is that its a bodily reaction, not a mental reaction that causes you to need it.
If we're talking heroin I'd agree but overeating food is a habit. Again, JMO.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by novangel View Post
If we're talking heroin I'd agree but overeating food is a habit. Again, JMO.
Here's an interesting article comparing food addiction to drug addiction http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4173632.html

For me, food was a coping mechanism. As are most "addictive" substances, if you are lacking skills in coping with stress, or have genetic predispositions to addiction/obesity/etc you may be more susceptible to addiction. Don't forget that habits form pathways in our brain, much like how we drive to work without thinking about how to get there, it's automatic. We must challenge those pathways lest we misconstrue them as addiction.

I think that our mental state plays a huge huge huge role in our susceptibility. I was addicted to cigarettes for 17yrs and kept saying "I can quit if I want to, I just don't want to." Then I got pregnant and stopped cold turkey. I experienced no withdrawl symptoms. A couple of years ago I took it back up socially - meaning once every couple of weeks, many many days can go by without giving it any thought. Then I'll go out with friends and smoke 3 cigarettes. Was I ever addicted? I've never known anyone else to quit without any withdrawl symptoms.

When I was dieting, I was constantly reading literature that supported my beliefs that sugar was addictive, and that carbs were addictive. I was "addicted" and I knew it for sure. I would experience withdrawl when I started a diet and it would never ever ever end for me, no matter how long I stuck with it.

I decided to think otherwise. I dropped the BS, rejected the idea that I was addicted to sugar and carbs and in the most dramatic moment of my life lost my desire for carbs and sugar. I eat them like most moderate people do, but there is no longing, no withdrawl, no weird cravings, no obessive thoughts and no overeating. The brain is the most amazing organ that we have. Everyone is busy trying to control their pancreas and their kidneys and their heart etc... going to directly to the brain and address its needs takes care of all those other organs without effort.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:18 AM   #22
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I think in the End of Overeating, Kessler did address that sugar in particular does cause physiological changes in the brain and that it was verified by MRI. The reaction was of greater magnitude than even cocaine. Like a lot of posters here, I think it seems very reasonable to assume that we all have varying degrees of sensitivity and reaction. One of our moderators, way back, said "We are all laboratories of one".
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:29 AM   #23
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I guess mostly food addiction is the same as alcohol or drug addiction. People need something to please themselves! Some people just prefer food not drugs. In addition modern world puts so many supplements to an ordinary food to make it more tasty(( People all around the world are gaining weight! Our not active lifestyle gives even more problems( I know when i am sitting at home i eat all the time. Doing something will make you to forget about food. At the end of this post i want to say: Yes, i am addicted to food, but i want to change;-)) that is why i came here)
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:59 AM   #24
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I'd suggest reading some current research before dismissing the entire notion of addiction based on experiments of one Neurologic pathways of behavior, including reward seeking have been mapped in the brain and also studied extensively in rat models. This isn't even controversial anymore, it's well accepted. The distinction between mind and body is really arbitrary. More and more behavior and even thinking will be mapped to anatomical structures &/or nerve networks.

There is a lot of variation among individuals regarding susceptibility to addiction, so to say "I can smoke but I'm not an addict" and imply that addiction therefore does not exist is a fallacy. No one claims to conclusively understand--yet--why some people become addicted to alcohol while others are more susceptible to sweets or the sugar/fat/salt trio.

Habits are neurologically based. The ability to form habits has evolved over millenia in animals, humans included. Doesn't mean we can't use our cerebral cortex to change them, but it might explain why it takes so much effort.

Last edited by mars735 : 06-04-2014 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:12 AM   #25
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I do NOT dismiss the notion that carbs for me at least, are an addiction. I wish you all could see me when I spin out of control. You would see it too.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:18 PM   #26
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For those that have been lucky enough to not be addicted to anything, kudos. Of course, your perceptions about food addiction will be different, because it's based on your own experience. Truth is relative. Everyone has a different truth based on their own life journeys. Food addiction is real to me. My life experience has proven it to me. But of course, just like anything, addictions can be overcome. Whether an addiction is mental or bodily or a combination of both depends on the individual. Addiction is real to some, not so real to others.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:32 PM   #27
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To me, it's intense cravings. I don't know about "addiction".
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:46 PM   #28
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Just came across this today:

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/...dict-tells-all

As someone who has gone from hunger 24/7 to no hunger I can tell you for me it was biochemical. The being overweight made changes to my system making me more likely to keep being hungry and consume a lot is now hitting the mainstream.

I had gotten to a point that my body needed carbs constantly. I had shut down my fat burning and it wanted carbs NOW!

If I opened a 5 ounce bag of chips I couldn't stop, literally.

What saved my life? For me it was going cold turkey, literally resetting my metabolism. Especially my fat burning ability and my insulin metabolism. I can actually have one chip now. We've had a 5 ounce bag of Jackson's Honest chips for two months in the house.

But without humbling myself to the power of my body, the power of insulin, the very real hunger and using the info I was finding on the Internet I would have been obese and hungry for the rest of my life.

The article does kind of conflate the physical symptoms and psychological. And for some I am sure this is true. Every human being is unique. For me I was on the physical end of my 'carb addiction'. I was just always, always hungry.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:00 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Desiderata View Post
Anyway, I think being dismissive of the idea of addiction altogether is oddly ignorant (in this day and age) of established medical science. Ignorance is bliss, since someone who says that has probably not closely known anyone in their life who struggled heavily with addiction.
Nope, not ignorant. As a medical writer I'm aware of all the literature on addiction. I'm throwing a philosophical lens on the issue, not a medical one. I believe that when the stakes are high enough, anyone can conquer their so-called addiction. If we choose to remain "addicted" it's because consciously or subconsciously we perceive the cost/benefit as being in our favour.

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Old 06-04-2014, 10:36 PM   #30
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Nope, not ignorant. As a medical writer I'm aware of all the literature on addiction. I'm throwing a philosophical lens on the issue, not a medical one. I believe that when the stakes are high enough, anyone can conquer their so-called addiction. If we choose to remain "addicted" it's because consciously or subconsciously we perceive the cost/benefit as being in our favour.

F.
I haven't read any literature in which it is claimed that an addiction cannot be conquered. The fact that the behavior can "conquered" doesn't mean addiction does not exist.

Last edited by mars735 : 06-06-2014 at 08:24 AM.
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