FOOD ADDICTION: REASONS WHY IT OCCURS
Research shows that up to fifty percent of those who are obese may be addicted
to food. Thirty percent of overweight and twenty percent of normal weight
Americans may be addicted to specific foods or food quantity in general.
Food addiction is recognized today as a chronic disease that changes both brain
structure and function. The first time a person enjoys an addictive experience,
the brain’s pleasure or reward center “ lights up” when it secretes dopamine
that binds with its receptor called the D2 receptor. When this occurs, the brain
experiences a “hit”” of pleasure and reward. When the neurotransmitters
Glutamate and Dopamine combine, they create the memory of the “high”.
The next time a person eats their Crispy Creamy Donut, the brain’s reward center
is activated. Repeated over stimulation of this reward center leads to receptor
resistance and decreasing sense of pleasure or reward. A person doesn’t feel
anywhere near the pleasure and reward once enjoyed. This creates a new
tolerance which means a person wants more and more of the fix but never achieves
the same “high” again. The addictive cravings grow stronger.
Repetition causes our brain function to change from” liking” to” wanting” and a
person’s reasoning and emotions begin a “tug of war” to control the addictive
behavior. Compulsion takes over and intense cravings follow based on the brain’s
memories of the highs and lows. The positive effects of a master hormone called
Leptin are interrupted and the body no longer “hears” the messages telling it to
stop eating and to burn fat.
For more detailed information about food addictions, I recommend reading:” The
Hunger Fix” by Dr. Pamela Fix and” 7 Secrets to Wellness” and “Change Your Brain
and Change Your Life” by Dr. Timothy Gerhart.
By: Dr. Timothy Gerhart, D.C., D.A.B.C.I., Dip Ac. and Caren Marshall MSW, CHC,
The Hunger Fix by Dr. Pamela Peek
7 Secrets to Wellness by Dr. Timothy Gerhart
Change Your Brain, Transform Your Life by Dr. Timothy Gerhart
Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter