Monthly Archives: May 2012
I have always enjoyed SHAPE magazine and recently found this on-line. The article is written by Jennipher Walters and describes what symptoms to look for if you’re wondering if you could be addicted to food/eating!!
I often say that in college I was addicted to Pop Tarts. In graduate school, it was candy corn. These days, thankfully, I’m more drawn to more nutritious foods, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard others say that they’re addicted to chocolate, or chips or fast food. While we usually all say these things in jest, the more research that is done on the brain’s reaction to some foods, the more food addiction isn’t just a joke — it’s a reality.
The latest study to come out Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that a chocolate milkshake may affect the brain in the same way that cocaine might. Cocaine! Researchers are finding that high-sugarand high-fat foods, in a way, hijack the brain into not just craving but needing certain kinds of food. So how do you know if you are truly addicted to food? Or if you just really like and crave something? Below are five symptoms that may indicate an addiction to food.
5 Food Addiction Symptoms
1. Food is all you think about. If thinking about eating — or worrying about what you just ate — is getting in the way of your ability to go to work, be social or be a good family member, you may have a problem.
2. You want to stop — but you can’t. If you feel like your love of food is out of control or if you want to stop eating so much but can’t stop, it may be a sign that you need professional help.
3. You eat in secret or lie about what you’ve eaten. One characteristic of most people who are addicted to food is that they hide their eating behaviors or lie about what they’ve consumed. Feelings of guilt and shame when it comes to eating is another sign of disordered eating.
4. You eat beyond the point of fullness. Eating too much on Thanksgiving or your birthday is one thing, but regularly binging is another. If you regularly eat so much that you feel sick or can’t stop eating even though you’re full, you might be addicted to food. If you use laxatives or purge after binging, it’s especially important to seek professional help.
5. You are compelled to eat when you’re not hungry or are feeling low. While we all eat out of emotion every now and again, if you find yourself always going for high-fat and high-sugar foods when you’re lonely, bored, stressed, anxious or depressed, this can signal food addiction, as your body is using some of the chemicals in those foods to boost levels in the brain.
Jennipher Walters is a certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, and holds an MA in health journalism.
So many people have seriously – and half kidding – have asked me if food can be addicting. And my answer is always a resounding YES! I know this is just a little over 7 minutes but when you’re wondering about how/where cravings begin, and how (food) addiction keeps you from losing weight, then you need to view this video. Our THINKING (in fighting the battle of the muffin top) is critical but the pathology of addiction is something that needs to be understood too – and I think this video does a nice job of it!
Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, “Relax, it’s just a bend, not the end!”
The research linking weight and meal frequency is fuzzy. A recent study suggests that it’s not the number of meals you eat that matters, but the total number of calories consumed. While both the overweight and normal-weight participants reported eating three meals a day, the thinner ones ate fewer calories even though they reported eating one more snack a day.
“Eating the right foods at the right time helps keep your blood sugar steady, but eating frequently is not a ticket to overeat,” says Sari Greaves, R.D., nutrition director at the Step Ahead Wellness Center in Bedminster, N.J.
Here’s the latest evidence for different meal plans:
- Three Meals. It’s the magic number, according to a January 2011 review that found that eating one or two meals a day left people hungrier than eating three meals a day, even when they consumed the same number of calories.
- Eating Less. Another study of 15 middle-aged adults compared eating three meals a day with just one large dinner. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner diet was linked to lower blood pressure, lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and feeling fuller. But those who ate just one meal a day had higher HDL (good) cholesterol and better glucose levels. Researchers said there are benefits to fewer meals, but the key is to cut your overall calories.
- Six Meals. Eating six meals a day on a regular schedule has been associated with lower overall calorie intake, and lower total and LDL cholesterol compared with an irregular meal plan of three to nine meals a day, according to British researchers.
- Bottom Line. If you’re watching your waistline, research suggests that eating three meals a day, with a healthy snack thrown in, will curb hunger pangs. If you opt for smaller, more frequent meals (about 300 to 4– calories each), stick with those that are nutrient-dense, like lean meats, low-fat dairy, and produce. You can use a notebook as a food diary to keep tract of your calories.
If you don’t have much of an appetite, focus on larger meals that contain high-quality protein like egg whites, healthy fat like almond or peanut butter, and lower carbohydrates, such as Greek yogurt, to remain full longer.
A French proverb says “A good meal ought to begin with hunger.” Well, there is some truth to that. Make sure you’re not experiencing a craving (which is just an intense desire for some particular thing) before you convince yourself it’s time to eat.
True hunger is the gnawing, growling feeling that happens in your stomach, an indicator letting you know you are truly h-u-n-g-r-y. So make sure when you experience true hunger that you’re eating a good nutritional meal.
Take the stairs–and save time?
It’s true, according to a recent study. Researchers timed four Canadian hospital workers as they took the stairs or an elevator to their designated floor. Using the stairs took just over 13 seconds per floor, on average, while the elevator took around 36 to 38 seconds (including the time spent waiting for it to arrive). Saving time is in addition to the obvious advantage of taking the stairs, which is that they help you get more exercise. (Consumer Reports on Health, April 2012)
If you’ve ever pushed the button for the elevator and waited, and waited (and pushed the button again), how many times have you muttered “it would be faster to take the stairs?” Well, next time, take the stairs!!