Why Certain Foods can lead to Addiction

If you feel like you are reaching for certain foods during times of high stress that leave you feeling anxious and over-tired, but you continue the routine, you may have developed a food addiction—or be well on your way to one. Craving hyper-palatable foods, which by definition means foods that have combinations of sugar, fat, salt, and carbohydrates, tap into the brain’s reward system in the same way drugs and alcohol do, leading to addiction. These ingredients, over time, can be incredibly hard to stop eating but unfortunately have been engineered (think processed foods) to be easy to eat—and very yummy!

Overeating tends to decrease the dopamine response and in turn can increase the overeating response that leads to addiction and dependency. Certain foods are more likely to cause emotional and physical addiction that can create “food dependency.” When you eat processed, junk food, your brain is triggered with a dopamine reward that can set into motion a cycle of dependency. For a list of the 18 most well-known hyper-palatable foods, check here.

Take the quiz below check your habits as it pertains to when and why you reach for ‘comfort food’ instead of foods that nurture your mind, body, and spirit. And if you find yourself meeting the food addiction threshold after completing and need help, please, reach out.

  1. I find myself consuming certain foods even though I am no longer hungry: a) Never b) Once a month c) 2-4 times per month d) 2-3 times per week e) 4 or more times per week.
  2. I worry about cutting down on certain foods:  a) Never b) Once a month c) 2-4 times per month d) 2-3 times per week e) 4 or more times per week.
  3. I feel sluggish or fatigued after overeating: a) Never b) Once a month c) 2-4 times per month d) 2-3 times per week e) 4 or more times per week.
  4. I have spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods instead of spending quality time with family, friends, and colleagues at work/play: a) Never b) Once a month c) 2-4 times per month d) 2-3 times per week e) 4 or more times per week.
  5. I have had physical withdrawal symptoms (i.e., agitation and anxiety) when I cut down on certain foods. (Do not include caffeinated drinks.): a) Never b) Once a month c) 2-4 times per month d) 2-3 times per week e) 4 or more times per week.
  6. My behavior regarding food and eating causes me significant distress: a) Never b) Once a month c) 2-4 times per month d) 2-3 times per week e) 4 or more times per week.
  7. Issues related to food and eating decrease my ability to function effectively in my daily routine: a) Never b) Once a month c) 2-4 times per month d) 2-3 times per week e) 4 or more times per week.
  8. In the past 12 months I kept consuming the same types or amounts of food despite significant emotional and/or physical problems related to my eating.___Yes ___No
  9. In the past 12 months I have found that eating the same amount of food does not reduce negative emotions or increase pleasurable feelings the way it used to.  ___Yes ___No

YOUR RESULTS:
To meet the food addiction threshold, you must answer Question 6 or 7 with (d) or (e); AND you must answer at least three of the other seven questions in the following way: Questions 1 and 2 (d); Questions 3, 4, and 5 (d) or (e); and Statements 8 and 9 (Yes).



Casa‌ ‌Capri‌ ‌helps women from all walks of life make a positive change by giving up addictive behaviors. If your loved one suffers from alcohol use disorder or is in denial and needs help, call us today. Let us guide you through the next steps to getting her the support she needs. Call‌ ‌Casa‌ ‌Capri‌ Recovery ‌today:‌ ‌844-593-8020‌

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