What is it about food that makes us personify it, argue about it, and sanctify or demonize it?
Food can be medicine to our brain and bodies, but why is it such a controversial topic?
It has gotten to a point where health influencers are encouraging people to only spend time with others who prioritize fitness and eat the same food as them.
They have even stated that bonding with others who eat French fries is similar to hanging out with drug pushers.
Within this extreme context of our diet and wellness culture, we are embarked on a journey in exploring food addiction and eating disorders.
I must admit, that the issue is hotly debated, and that I have many concerns and my own biases. I am especially worried about the damage that can be done to mental health when idolizing certain foods and bodies and stigmatizing others.
In my latest video and article, Are You a Food Addict? The Caveats to Food and Eating Addiction: Part III, I finish off my arguments on the topic of labeling food, or specific eating behaviors, as addictive.
I review the following:
1. The reasons why there is such an emotional undertone around food
2. A review of the first three issues with labeling food as an addiction including:
– distinguishing food addiction from eating disorders
– no agreed upon definition, criteria, or measurement by experts
– the lack of human trial results standing up to the theory and mechanisms proposed
3. An overview of the final reasons we should be cautious about presenting food as addictive including:
– there is no universal food that is considered addictive, unlike alcohol and substances, form does matter to the “food addict”
– disordered eating often co-exists with other mental health disorders, so there is a danger that we are focusing on the wrong issue
-addiction is a serious matter. If we are to label people as food addicts, we need to consider if the harm that they are doing to themselves or others is up to par with the violence and dangers of someone using drugs or alcohol.
4. The bottom line on if food is addictive
5. How wellness and diet culture may be contributing to eating disorders and “food addictive” behavior
6. My experience with healing my clients’ relationship to food and their bodies
Click here to learn more and watch the video.
It is no secret that I feel we need to address the root cause of why people are having extreme behaviors with food, not spend our time arguing about labels, shaming, and vilifying certain food groups.
What do you think? Please share in the comments!
I do ask all healthcare providers to be aware of the potential dangers of mental health labels and to not confuse opinion and selected literature citations as final proof. The science and psychology is not fully settled at the time of my writing this. Let’s recognize this and be accountable. (DSM-V doesn’t classify food as an addiction.)
For all consumers, please know you are not alone. If you are struggling with eating and it is causing you distress and to miss out on events because of the food there, please reach out to an eating disorder specialist. Preferably, find one who is also awake to the dangers of diet and wellness culture and will not perpetuate the sick cycle.
Please comment below and share this message with those who need it.
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If you struggle with mental health, please reach out for professional mental health support.
You may also wish to consider implementing holistic resources and partnering with a naturopathic doctor.
For example, I offer mind-body support for general mood issues using a functional medicine and wellness-oriented approach.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
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