First of foremost, the subject at hand is still in constant debates; whether food addiction truly exist or not, for as we all know food is vital to our survival as a living organism. Also, we all have this tendency to get addicted to anything, ergo; it is logical and stands to reason that our body can have some sort of chemical reaction to something wherein it makes us want more of it.
I hovered around different websites to gather informations regarding the subject, contemplating the aforementioned introspection to check if my basic cent were right. Well, hell yeah it is. Research suggests that food can be addictive — fats and sugar were the two most prominent and pointed out determinants, still, the conclusion drawn is controversial. Which foods are the hardest to resist wherein we can experience withdrawal symptoms?
Obviously, we can be addicted to just about everything: phones, sex, shopping and I’m discussing a topic where food should be addressed– so junk food to be specific. There is, of course, a point in which a serious clinical addiction and figurative addiction are distinct — construed throughout this thesis, it’s the former. As I stated earlier, food is necessary for our survival as living organisms, and this is the rhetorical question that I want to raise: can we really become dependent on certain unhealthy foods in the same way that we can on drugs?
Rats can’t resist junk food
What in the hell does rat have to do with this? Well, I stumbled upon this research paper where a group of psychiatrists contemplating the study of obesity decided to dig deeper into whether some people’s anecdotal claims of food addiction could be proven. They conducted a subsequence of studies wherein rats are served with highly palatable sugary or fatty food (they had the option of their regular healthy food, too, but that didn’t get a look-in). To expand a quote from Nicole Avena (part of the research team) “We found signs of tolerance, withdrawal, craving and measurable changes in neural chemicals such as dopamine and opioid release,”. Boiling it down to my own understanding, it seemed that though the animals were addicted to a drug, even tolerating “foot shock” (running over an electric grid) to appease to their urge.
Today, the food addiction theory is still relatively young and controversial on its very essence. Regardless, expanding a quote from Avena, “additional studies have been conducted that validate these initial findings. And there’s been some studies done in humans now that have really begun to characterise this.” Pondering the thought whether it’s the nutrient or taste (I.E fat or sugar), after digested, that’s makes us chemically high. It could possibly be both. Involved in Avena’s experiment are rats getting the taste of sugar and nut necessarily the nutrient also other way around, and any of which way dopamine is still released, ergo; these two together shall result in a dopamine double whammy.
What’s really is the most addictive food?
Up until this point, exact confirmations calls attention to both fat and sugar, rather than a particular items, for example, oat or toffee. In any case, we now realize that fat and sugar create diverse reactions in the cerebrum’s limbic framework. With sugar, rats undergoes withdrawal; shaking, perspiring, changes in body temperature, nervousness and, says Avena, “they show changes in the brain in terms of release of chemicals such as dopamine and the opioids.” Fat doesn’t have this impact, however this doesn’t really mean it is less strong than sugar. Avena brings up that cocaine addicts don’t hint at withdrawal like heroin addicts do.
There have been studies on the foods individuals say they find addictive. A considerable amount human examinations into food addiction have been based around the Yale Food Addiction Scale (pdf), a poll used to decide if somebody could be delegated a food fanatic. One of its inquiries is about which foods the subject finds most hazardous, and Ashley Gearhardt, the co-maker of the scale, has shared the top 10 nasties. Crisps, chips, desserts, chocolate and rolls manifest — no curve balls there. White bread and pasta likewise highlight, and number one is dessert.
What constitutes dependence in any case?
This is a subject of continuous discussion. Avena and associates established a finding criteria in the standard American guide for specialists, The Indicative and Factual Manual of Mental Issue. This stipulates three of the accompanying more likely than not connected to a person over the previous year to qualify them as addicts:
- The substance is regularly taken in larger amounts than planned.
- A tireless attempt or unsuccessful endeavors to cut down substance dependence.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance.
- Important activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
- Substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
Even if we grant validity to its very gist, the manual itself, in general, has lost credibility, pulling in a revolt from numerous specialists and criticism for including such things as “gambling issue” and “caffeine withdrawal”. What’s more, as an aside, there are substance addictions (which are frequently treated by specialists) and conduct addictions, for example, betting (which are definitely not). It isn’t clear who ought to treat “food addicts” and how, in spite of the fact that Avena has been seeking after microbiological examines into food fixation, aware of potential future pharmacological medications.
Now, without a doubt: if food addiction truly exists, it can’t be a sweeping fault for obesity. As Gearhardt says, “Most people don’t become addicted to any addictive substance. For example, only about 10% of people become addicted to alcohol, but around 90% drink it.”
I would’ve been one of the skeptics, not until I’ve done my own personal research which confirms my unsure presumptions. Paul Fletcher, proffesor of health neuroscience at Cambridge College, is confused by the “evidently uncritical acknowledgment of food addiction.” As he would like to think, it is far too soon for it to be taken as a legitimate or helpful notion, let alone a theory. While the observed evidences from the rat are sound, he says, how much they can be extrapolated to people that arew restricted. Also, whatever is left of the examination comes about are conflicting. Likewise raised amidst his disposition what, exactly, the addictive substance in food is: sugar, salt, fat or simply anything that tastes great? Hmmm which I would gladly agrue with implications for.
In the mean time, his partner Hisham Ziauddeen, in a shockingly diverting comical way (yeah there is a such thing as scholastic comedy), about the authoritative ramifications of food habit. Parentss who feed their and, wheeze, their youngsters cake moved toward becoming tyke abusers medium-term? The chocolate advertise is driven underground?
Fletcher says: “We are finding that ‘addiction’ is a handy term to be applied to lots of human behaviours now: sunbed addiction? Facebook addiction?” Does the idea of nourishment fixation seem to be valid to you? Has sugar withdrawal given you the sweats or shakes? What nourishments do you think that its irresistable??
Anyhow, I surely, find the notions with implications for food addiction compelling and I think they should conduct more experiments and scrutiny to confirm and establish its validity as a scientific theory for it to help with our advancement in the medical field.