Did you start a diet on Monday, but by the time the weekend had arrived you were binging on junk food? Is it hard for you to say ‘no’ to the piece of cake in front of you? Do you crave burgers every time you walk past your favorite restaurant?
Does this all mean you’re addicted to food? This is the latest debate among scientists. We can’t deny that sweet, processed foods taste good and make us wanting more--the highlight of the ever-growing food industry. We’ve seen increased trends in the obesity epidemic linked with changes in diet patterns, which include high fat foods, sugar, and portion sizes.
Food addiction has become one of the latest terms attempting to explain the link to the increased obesity trend worldwide and why we can’t stop eating. However, is there really an addiction to food? Or is it rather an addiction to eating? Although we want to blame food for our weight problems, there is not enough evidence that shows an addiction to one nutrient or a specific food like sugar or chocolate.
A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews highlighted that we may be addicted to the act of eating because of the satisfaction we get from food. Over-eating may have a psychological component. Therefore, we should look at the reasons why people over-eat, rather than the food itself. This will help us find ways to eat less and target the cause of weight gain. One thought could be the availability of so much ‘junk food’ around us.
Think about your eating behaviors the next time you start a diet. If you are a stress eater, try to manage your cause of stress. Other behavioral solutions include keeping healthy food available to snack on, trying not to shop while your hungry, and controlling your food portions. Along with a weight loss plan, it is important to also target the triggers that cause you to make unhealthy food choices. Thus, leading towards successful weight loss.