Can You Be Addicted To What’s On Your Plate? – Foodinsight.org
Recently, I was a guest on the Doctor Oz Show to discuss whether or not a person can become addicted to food. To prepare for the segment I searched for conclusive science-based evidence pointing in that direction. An important and recurring question was whether or not the body goes through physiological withdrawal in the same way it would for drugs and alcohol when we stop eating a particular food. My research into controlled human trials on the topic left me unconvinced.
So I am going with my opinion here, and claim that NO, you cannot be addicted to food, BUT you can have behavioral and emotional reasons that may lead you to overeat. In my more than 12 years of experience in private practice I have seen a lot of people who thought they were addicted to various foods. But after working together over time on changing their behaviors and recognizing their emotions, they no longer felt the same way.
It is not surprising that at a very young age, our intake of food and our emotions become intertwined. How many small children are given ice cream as comfort when they are crying or a cupcake because they were “good” and deserve a reward? Then when you get older and you are feeling sad, stressed, angry, happy, etc… wouldn’t it make sense to reach for these same foods? They are familiar to you, but the problem is now that you are older you might also use these foods to cover up your feelings instead of focusing on why you’re feeling that way.