Note: Please see the updates on healthism here. Flexibility, social connection, enjoyment of health, and not obsessing on perfection of diet is what makes health a means, not an end.
Being a naturopathic doctor and functional medicine practitioner, I’ve worked with many people who have various food sensitivities and disordered eating patterns. A few weeks ago, I did a presentation on my book, BreakFree Medicine, at Nature Tyme, a wonderful health food store located in Syracuse, NY. In my presentation, I took some time to discuss the topic of food addiction. (Click here to access the presentation and read an overview. You will also find the top health news for July 2016 there.)
Below are some articles I wrote throughout the years on this topic. In them, I discuss the emerging and current research on food addiction. I also discuss the importance of looking at the biochemistry when willpower is weak. Within the full links, you can access more studies at the end of each article… if you want to dive deeper into the propeller-hat-geeky science of the original sources.
Why Humans Eat Junk Food and Find It Hard to Stop (Part 1 of 2):
This blog discusses how the food industry uses science to manipulate our taste buds in order to make us want to eat and buy more of their products: http://dr-lobisco.com/why-humans-eat-junk-find-it-hard-to-stop/
Why Are We Addicted to Food? (Part 2 of 2):
This blog reviews the biochemistry of food addiction and the psychological connections. I discuss the dopamine and neurotransmitter connections and the development of the Yale Food Addiction Scale. If you want to get more resources and studies on food addiction, this blog and the one below are great places to start: http://dr-lobisco.com/why-we-are-addicted-to-food-part-ii/
What’s Making Americans and Little Ones So “At Large?” The Obesity Epidemic, It’s Not Just a “Food and Exercise” Thing:
In this blog I reveal 6 reasons, beyond the calorie myth of being overweight including
- Americans aren’t starving, but they are dieting. This means they are constantly hungry.
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Insufficient Fiber & the microbiome connection
- Fast Food Restaurants and Junk Foods (With an honorable mention about artificial sweeteners: http://dr-lobisco.com/why-you-should-be-fed-up-with-the-lies-on-dieting-what-you-need-to-know-about-weight-loss/)
Read it here:http://dr-lobisco.com/obesity-epidemic/
The Next Nutrient War Era- Why We Are On the Losing Side of Weight Loss:
This blog goes into detail on the factors that affect weight, beyond nutrient composition and calories. I discussed them on “The Dirty ‘D’ Word” on Natural Path (https://naturalpath.net/food/diets/the-dirty-d-word/):
- Digestive health (including the microbiome)
- Activity level
- Neurotransmitter balance
Food as Medicine, Food as Poison, Dealing with Food as a (Sweet) Addiction: Part I:
I recently wrote an article that goes into further detail on food as an addiction. It also reviews how food can be a medicine for health and how junk food can be poison to the body. I will be posting this on my website next week, so stay tuned.
Food as Medicine, Food as Poison, Dealing with Food as a (Sweet) Addiction: Part II:
In an article that I will be posting soon, which is published on Natural Path, I discuss five ways to help support those with a problem with food addiction or unhealthy eating patterns. These are a preview of the Five (5) Key Ways to kick the sugar and junk food habit:
- Know if You’re a “Moderator” or “Abstainer”
- Use Stress Reduction and Mindfulness
- Support Brain Balance (balance the different areas of the brain by using specific nutrients to target imbalances and support neurotransmitter balance through hormonal modulation, microbiome health, blood sugar balance).
- Modulate Mood and Emotions with Essential Oils
Stay tuned for the full article to be posted on my website.
To Fast or to Eat- Is There Still Room for Breakfast? All the confusion! How about fasting? In this blog, I explore the caveats of the “fasting crave,” and highlight who it may help. Hint- ladies, you won’t want to miss this! (http://dr-lobisco.com/to-fast-or-to-eat-is-there-still-room-for-breakfast/)
The Fructose- Alcohol Connection
As I was writing this blog, I came upon a study I had not seen before. This study compared the “metabolic, hedonic, and societal similarities” between fructose and alcohol. This was a unique way to assess how food could be similar to a substance of abuse. The authors wrote:
Rates of fructose consumption continue to rise nationwide and have been linked to rising rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Because obesity has been equated with addiction, and because of their evolutionary commonalities, we chose to examine the metabolic, hedonic, and societal similarities between fructose and its fermentation byproduct ethanol. Elucidation of fructose metabolism in liver and fructose action in brain demonstrate three parallelisms with ethanol. First, hepatic fructose metabolism is similar to ethanol, as they both serve as substrates for de novo lipogenesis, and in the process both promote hepatic insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hepatic steatosis. Second, fructosylation of proteins with resultant superoxide formation can result in hepatic inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol. Lastly, by stimulating the “hedonic pathway” of the brain both directly and indirectly, fructose creates habituation, and possibly dependence; also paralleling ethanol. Thus, fructose induces alterations in both hepatic metabolism and central nervous system energy signaling, leading to a “vicious cycle” of excessive consumption and disease consistent with metabolic syndrome. On a societal level, the treatment of fructose as a commodity exhibits market similarities to ethanol. Analogous to ethanol, societal efforts to reduce fructose consumption will likely be necessary to combat the obesity epidemic.
Source: Lustig RH. Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Sep;110(9):1307-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.06.008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20800122
Summary: Our nation is either obsessed, addicted, or caught in the mirage of diet confusion in regards to food. I hope these resources provide you with some information that can help you, or someone you know, who is struggling with their eating patterns. Remember, when willpower won’t work, you have to ask why? Biochemistry and emotions will trump willpower everytime!