Monday, October 18, 2010

Are You an Industrial Food Addict?

A really good, must read article from over at HuffPo:

I thought this part was particularly interesting:

New discoveries in science prove that industrially processed, sugar-, fat- and salt-laden food -- food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say -- is biologically addictive.

Imagine a foot-high pile of broccoli, or a giant bowl of apple slices. Do you know anyone who would binge broccoli or apples? On other hand, imagine a mountain of potato chips or a whole bag of cookies, or a pint of ice cream. Those are easy to imagining vanishing in an unconscious, reptilian brain eating frenzy. Broccoli is not addictive, but cookies, chips, or soda absolutely can become addictive drugs.

The "just say no" approach to drug addiction hasn't fared to well, and it won't work for our industrial food addiction, either. Tell a cocaine or heroin addict or an alcoholic to "just say no" after that first snort, shot, or drink. It's not that simple. There are specific biological mechanisms that drive addictive behavior. Nobody chooses to be a heroin addict, cokehead, or drunk. Nobody chooses to be fat, either. The behaviors arise out of primitive neurochemical reward centers in the brain that override normal willpower and overwhelm our ordinary biological signals that control hunger. Consider:

•Why do cigarette smokers continue to smoke even though they know smoking will give them cancer and heart disease?

•Why do less than 20 percent of alcoholics successfully quit drinking?

•Why do most addicts continue to use cocaine and heroin despite their lives being destroyed?

•Why does quitting caffeine lead to irritability and headaches?

It is because these substances are all biologically addictive.

1 comment:

  1. That is REALLY interesting. I just came across your blog and wanted to say hello. And I agree that food can be addictive. I know sugar can be addictive to me.