Having trouble losing weight and can’t understand why everyone around you is reaching their weight loss goals and you’re not? You could possibly be addicted to food, and you’re not alone. Two-thirds of this country is overweight or obese, which has scientists looking into various different factors involved. A study published by researchers from Yale and the University of Texas have found that brain responses to both the anticipation and consumption of food are different for those who exhibit more symptoms of food addiction. Basically, the brains of those who display “food addiction” symptoms react to food much like a drug addict’s brain reacts to drugs.
Now there are a couple issues with this study, it was very small, and cross-sectional in nature, so it is difficult to determine whether there is a cause and effect relationship here (that the brain response is actually causing someone to overeat; or if it’s actually something else). Also, the researchers did not examine the differences between brain responses of obese participants and those with a healthy weight. The participants were broken up into those who reported experiencing several food addiction behaviors and those only displaying small amounts of food addiction behaviors, regardless of their weight status. This may mean that anyone can be a food addict, not just someone who is obese.
So how do we cope in the meantime?
Check out the Yale Food Addiction Scale used in this study to determine those who with high food addiction behaviors.
Start by avoiding foods linked with addictive behaviors/thoughts (processed foods high in sugar and fat).
Seek the help of a mental health professional.