Food Addiction Help: Kicking the Habit

Ever had trouble putting down that endless bag of potato chips?  Yes, I know we are all guilty of it at one time or another and a new study from Nature Neuroscience gives us some insight as to why this happens. It’s food addiction. Yep! It may sound a little strange but new research has taken a closer look into the brain chemistry of rats, showing a linkage between compulsive eating and pleasure responses in the brain.

This new study shows strong support for the theory that overeating “palatable” foods (those that are high in fat and calories and lurking in many grocery store isles and fast food restaurants) may initiate the same responses in the brain that highly addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine trigger.  Are you in shock yet??

It may be hard to believe at first but researchers studied groups of rats given calorie-dense foods, compared to another group given a normal diet of food. The high calorie foods provoked extremely addictive behavior, in fact the rats that were given the high-fat, high calorie foods equivalent to cheesecake, bacon and sausage consumed twice as much as the group of rats given their normal diet.

The results found in this study shed some light on food addiction and help explain why we just can’t put down that box of cookies…

Some takeaways and advice on “kicking the habit”

  • First, portion control! If you just can’t help reaching for something “palatable” make sure you you’re consuming real food versus packaged synthetic junk!
  • Second, have some water. Often times our bodies confuse hunger for thirst!
  • Third, try reaching for some cucumber and hummus or any of my other healthy snack recipes.   Once your body makes the switch from high-calorie dense foods you will no longer even crave those high-fat foods anymore. And if you stick with it long enough you’ll have kicked the habit and overcome your food addiction in no time!