Are you addicted to food?
Dr. Nora Volkow’s research on drug and food addiction may shed some light on this complex subject.
According to Volkow, with drug addition, the addict’s dopamine receptors in the brain which give off “reward” signals also known as a “high” are triggered by food and drugs. When an individual takes drugs often enough the dopamine receptors can decrease in number or become less sensitive to dopamine. At this point the brain needs more of the “drug” in order to produce that same feeling of “reward.” This is how the addition grows and Dr. Volkow has noticed it with people who are addicted to food as well and drugs.
In regards to food addiction Volkow says, “as a person eats a gallon of ice cream, they are not even realizing the taste of the food any longer, the behavior is automatic because the drive to have more and more is fueled by dopamine.” It’s almost like becoming a robot.
Volkow also noted in her research that obese people have fewer dopamine receptors need more food to produce the same “reward” response as a thinner person eating the same thing. She says many drug addicts have the same low amount of dopamine receptors- also associated with low self control parts of the brain.
Breaking the curse
Dr. Volkow says that fifty percent of food addiction vulnerability is related to genetics and the rest is environment. If you feel like you have a food addition, you must keep your environment free of trigger foods and eat a balanced diet. Here are a few tips on how to get your food addiction under control.
*anticipate moments of weakness
*keep your meals simple with only a few ingredients
*ban eating in the car or on the couch
*get enough sleep
*distress- keep your cool
For information on weight loss and healthy recipes check out
Yale University has created a Yale Food Addiction Scale to determine whether some is really addicted to food.