Why Are We Addicted to Food?by holistic-optimal-nutrition on Sep. 10, 2013, under Uncategorized
Everyone one of us has experienced it at some point in our lives. We are driving in our car, feel like we are hungry and the first thing we crave is some type of sugary or high fat food. We ask ourselves if eating a large batch of nachos is the same thing as doing cocaine? Food addiction cannot be as severe as a drug addiction? That is wrong. A number of scientific studies have now proven that as far as the brain is concerned, food addiction is essentially the same as a drug addiction.
Experiments done in humans and animals have discovered that most people experience in food reward triggers the same as found in cocaine and heroine. Highly palatable foods such as sugar, fats, salt, meat and dairy release high amounts of dopamine in our brain. Once the release of dopamine is felt, you soon feel the need to want to eat again, even if you are not hungry. In most cases, we do not even realize that this is occuring.
A great example of this is casein, which is in all dairy products. Casein is a protein that is broken down in our digestive systems and casomorphines are then created. This releases an opiate in our body that make us subconsciously feel calm and relaxed. The intention of casein in nature was to simply allow the baby calf to enjoy the milk to encourage it to keep coming back. However, for humans, this fuels an addiction both physically and mentally.
Scientists now believe that whether you are obese or considered a normal weight, these addictions are still highly likely. Genetically, some bodies are built to handle the calories, while others increase their activity to compensate for the excess calories.
How do we break the cycle? As a society, we need to change how we look at food. Fifty years ago, we were not aware of the harmful chemicals in tobacco. Eventually, through research, the public became educated. We did not change cigarettes but merely changed the public view.
The good news is, there is an answer to all of this. We can change. I am sure that most of you have heard the phrase- “situations do not change, we have to change.” Following a 100% plant based diet is the best way to combat these addictions, however, it will take a few months to reinforce new habits. Some are able to do it overnight while others need to ease into the lifestyle.
Because of the addictive nature in animal products and fatty foods, it may take time to overcome the natural opiates. This is not because you are normally carnivorous or because you are lacking nutrients. It is simply because your body is craving a fix. We have all experienced this when cutting out certain foods, cigarettes or caffeine.
It is important to clear your head of the constant concerns you will hear, such as being nutritionally deficient. If you are eating a diverse amount of foods that are low in sugar and oil, you will get all the nutrients that are required daily and then some. A B12 supplement may be helpful. As the months continue your entire brain process and cravings reboot themselves. You will find that the foods you were addicted to will become unappealing.
Once your digestive tract starts to calm down and lethargy is not as prominent, this will encourage you to continue on your path. I strongly encourage everyone to start doing their research on food addiction, chemicals found in food and the overall health benefits of a plant based diet. These benefits are substantial and can help prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.
Always be good to yourself and allow yourself treats. There are many many decadent and yummy foods associated with a plant based diet. Be motivated and know that every decision you make everyday will affect your body. Call me today to get your body rebooted on the right path. I will help you ease into this lifestyle so that you can live it happy and healthy for the rest of your life!
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