Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We're All Addicts

I just read about a great new book I have got to buy. It's called The End of Overeating and its by Dr. David Kessler the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. You can read about the book here:

In the book, Dr. Kessler describes how humans become addicted to sugar, fat and salt, and how the food industry happily feeds that addiction to make its profits. As Kessler explains:

"Fifty years ago, the tobacco industry, confronted with the evidence that smoking causes cancer, decided to deny the science and deceive the American public. Now, we know that highly palatable foods—sugar, fat, salt—are highly reinforcing and can activate the reward center of the brain. For many people, that activation is sustained when they're cued. They have such a hard time controlling their eating because they're constantly being bombarded—their brain is constantly being activated.

For decades the food industry was able to argue, "We're just giving consumers what they want." Now we know that giving them highly salient stimuli is activating their brains. The question becomes what do they do now?

If a bear walked in here right now, you would stop listening to me and you'd focus on that bear. We're all wired to focus on the most highly salient stimuli. For a lot of people, that highly salient stimulus is food. It could be alcohol, it could be drugs, it could be gambling, but for many people, it's food. It's not just people who are obese, or overweight. Even for people that
are healthy weight, food activates the neural circuits of their brains, and they have this conditioned and driven behavior we call conditioned hypereating. "

Maybe its time to re-evaluate why we all claim to love processed foods to much to give them up. Do you really love that daily bag of potato chips or are you just addicted to potato chips? And, if its an addiction that's unhealthy for us then how is processed food any different than cigarettes?

The reason why Americans are over-weight is that our food industry has turned us all into over-eating food addicts. But, we can break the addiction and lose weight.

Stop eating processed, manufactured food. Begin replacing snacks like M & Ms with dried fruit and nuts, and instead of a meal that comes out of a box or a can, buy real vegetables, lean flesh and whole grains and cook them yourself with no sugar, no salt and a minimum of fat.

By breaking your addictions you'll eat less and lose weight. Besides, who really wants to be an addict?

1 comment:

  1. Actually there is no such thing as a food addiction in the true medical sense of the word. Eating the wrong types of food is a behaviour brought on my many factors but addiction is not one of them.