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What Is The Definition Of Food Addiction? 3 Scientific Factors

Last updated on April 14, 2021

Eating Enlightenment348
Eating Enlightenment

Food Addiction Definition

Summary of Food Addiction Definition:

It has been proven that rats can become addicted to sugar.

Oftentimes we say to ourselves that we are a Sugar Or Food Addict …

But what if this was simply a case of mislabeling a natural phenomenon?

Here are 3 scientific factors which may cause you to reconsider your food addiction definition.

  1. Studies that show food addiction in mice never control for dieting (starving the mice as part of the experiment).
  2. Studies in brain scans reveal food addiction lights up SAME brain areas as falling in love.
  3. Evolutionary biology suggests hunger and starvation cause binge eating

Here is another video of mine titled “Very Common Question – Why Am I Craving Sweets? Therapist Digs Deep Into The Root Cause Of Craving” which you can view here.

Stream-of-Consciousness Thoughts Post-Video Production:

Yes it is true that you can be addicted to food.

And yes, studies have shown the mice can become chemically dependent on food/sugar.

So yes, food addiction is a real thing.

However, food is different as well.

Can you become addicted to something you need?

Well, yes.

You can become “addicted” to falling in love with your partner.

You can become “addicted” to the sound of your baby cooing.

(studies have shown that the same centers of the brain in cocaine users will light up in mothers when their infant smiles)

So yes, you can become addicted to food.

But this addiction is the same as any other activity you need to survive.

You become addicted to breathing air, right?

Food is something you need to survive.

hunger training

Gambling? Alcohol? Shopping? Cigarettes? Weed?

Trust me, I have been a weed addict.

These substances can be addicting.

They are not needed for survival and can seriously screw up with your brain’s chemistry.

However, food is different. You need food to survive.

You NEED to be addicted to food. This is the philosophy of intuitive eating in a roundabout way.

Right? We get addicted to things that help us survive.

Can we at least agree on that?

But this analysis is not sufficient.

I’m starting off this conversation because so many people …

Think that they have an addiction to food that nobody else has. But in truth, everyone is addicted to food.

It doesn’t get to the heart of the issue.

Why do some people struggle with food more than others? Why are the food feelings so intense?

beat binge eating

Here’s where we take a look at Pavlov’s dogs.

You’ve heard of Pavlov’s dogs before, right?

It’s where this scientist guy rang bells next to to dogs, and then immediately fed the dogs after the bells were wrung.

The dogs quickly came to expect that the bells meant food was coming.

Eventually, after repeatedly “conditioning” the dogs to link food with bells …

The dogs started instinctively salivating at just the sound of bells.

This is crazy, right?

Instinctively, the dogs started drooling.

This is called Learned Conditioning.

The dogs didn’t start off drooling at the sound of bells.

But through exposure, repeated exposure, the dogs trained their biology to instinctively respond to the bells.

Now what do dogs have to do with your food addiction definition?

Well, what if you were just strongly conditioned?

There is a world of difference between strong conditioning versus addiction.

Strong conditioning can seem like addiction.

And yes, there is such a thing with addiction.

But with food, because we need food to survive, food is almost always a strong conditioning factor.

What To Do When Stressed

Because just imagine real quick …

How many times has food been related to your survival?

Were you not allowed to eat as a child in some circumstances?

Or were you punished as kid for eating too much or too little?

Were you abandoned, rejected or left alone and had to feed yourself?

Was your group standing in part based upon your weight?

These behaviors, especially in our youth and during middle school or early highschool, can start imprinting upon our brain this feeling of dependency.

We come to depend on food to survive.

We need to food not only to survive, but to manage our difficult emotions.

It’s what we have been doing since we were kids.

As a result of using food to cope with emotions for so long, it might FEEL like an addiction.

But it’s not.

It’s actually Learned Conditioning 10x.

And what’s worse is that humans can get stuck in patterns.

So when you try to stop eating sugar …

And you fail …

(you fail because food is related to your hunger and when you deprive yourself of food, your body think it’s under attack and makes you defend yourself by eating more food)

And after eating sugar …

You blame yourself. So you create a story.

You say to yourself “I’m worthless” or “I lack discipline” or whatever.

And then you start to expect these things to happen.

And every time you fail this becomes proof.

This negative cycle repeated over years seems like food addiction, but the real food addiction definition is actually much much much more frequently a case of learned conditioning.

Here is a complimentary post I wrote titled “Oh-Why Oh-Why Am I Craving Sweets All Of A Sudden And Losing Control Yet Again?

Eating Enlightenment348
Eating Enlightenment

Please know Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a serious problem that can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

It's time you found out if you have binge eating disorder or not.

A great way to find out if you are suffering from binge eating disorder is by taking this test!

This quiz will take 1 minute of your day and it might change your life forever. Take the quiz now!

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