Unlike alcohol or drugs, food is essential for life. Though some diet culture enthusiasts may disagree, we need a balance and variety of all foods in our diet to thrive physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
Previously, I discussed the damage that diet and wellness culture have had on healthcare and society. I purposely covered these concepts before taking on the topic of “food addiction” and eating disorders, because it is important to be aware of the cultural, sociological, and psychological contexts and belief systems one’s behavior is stemming from.
In my latest article, I now take on the topic of food addiction.
- The history of using food restriction to portray restraint, control, and purification of the body.
- How disordered eating can be normalized, even exalted, in health and wellness communities.
- The cautions we need to be aware of when placing mental health labels on eating behavior.
- The arguments for food addiction. These include the neurophysiology and psychological alterations that occur with food and that impact food behaviors and how hyperpalatable food ignites the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.
- The caveats of notating food as a substance of abuse, such as not accounting for restriction and dieting in food addiction studies, how deprivation impacts food behavior in humans and rodents, how pleasure in all forms impact brain processing, and the dangers of stigma.
- How food addiction has not yet met the criteria to be classified under addictions.
As a naturopathic doctor, I uphold the belief that food can be a form of medicine and nourishes the brain and body. However, I do feel that moralizing food and eating practices leads to shame, lowered self-esteem, and is extremely dangerous.
As the science continues to evolve regarding “eating addiction” and “food addiction,” let’s keep in mind the delicacy of the topic and the complexity it entails.
I 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.
For all consumers, 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 disordered specialist. Preferably, find one who is also awake to the dangers of diet and wellness culture and will not perpetuate the sick cycle. You are not alone.
Empower yourself with information here.
In an upcoming article, I will summarize more of the major considerations, pros, cons, and characteristics associated with food addiction.
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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.)
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.