Monday, March 31, 2014

Are You a Junk Food Addict?

A gallup poll in 2011 showed that Americans were 20% heavier than they were in 1991! I realize it is now 2014 but I wonder how much that number has changed in the past couple of years. The experts say that food addiction may be the biggest culprit in this increase! Research suggests that highly processed, calorie-dense treats may actually be both physically and psychologically addicting and may lead to some of the same changes in the brain as do heroin and cocaine! Paul Kenney, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular therapeutics at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida stated the following, "We tend to look at obesity as a lack of willpower - that if you'd just put down the cheeseburger and go for a run, you'd be fine." He continued by saying, "It is not that simple. There's a population of overweight people who have problems with highly palatable food, so called 'junk food,' the way others do with gambling or crack cocaine."

It is important to note that not every overweight person is a food addict nor are all food addicts overweight. Many food addicts control their weight with excessive exercise, purging, etc. Food addiction is not measured by body size but by behavior.

Dr. Kimberly Dennis, medical director for Timberline Knolls, a residential treatment center for eating disorders and addiction (in Illinois) said this, "Food addicts lose control when they eat because their brains react on a neurochemical level either to their relationship with food - habitually eating when something unpleasant happens - or substances in the food itself. It is very different from the sedentary person who just eats too many chips."

Tomorrow's post will deal with how food can be equal to crack cocaine.

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