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Can food really be addictive?

Today I'd like to share with your an article that was written by Dr Joel Furman,

One of my favorite doctors regarding a healthy Plant based diet. "Addiction is characterized by activation of the brain’s reward system, use of the substance or behavior despite negative consequences, loss of control, tolerance, and withdrawal. Although food addiction is not yet recognized as a psychiatric disorder, compulsive consumption of calorie-dense foods fits these characteristics.

Research suggests that excessively sweet, salty, and/or fatty (“highly palatable”) foods common in the standard American diet can produce dysfunction in the brain’s reward system, driving loss of self-control, overeating, and weight gain. There is evidence that the neurobiological underpinnings of compulsively eating highly palatable foods are similar to those of addiction to heroin or cocaine.

In the brain: Dopamine, reward, and tolerance

Hunger is not the only reason we eat. When we eat calorie-rich foods or engage in other pleasurable behaviors, the brain’s reward system reinforces that behavior with a neurochemical called "dopamine". The drive to consume large amounts of calorie-rich foods when they were available was advantageous for early humans, allowing them to store enough energy to survive through periods of food scarcity. But in modern times, that same drive for calorie-rich foods promotes obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases...

About the the Research

It has been proven that access to junk food developed binge-eating behaviors and weight gain + brains reward systems became less and less responsive, and a greater amount of junk food was therefore required to satisfy appetites Scientists traced these effects to a decrease in dopamine D2 receptors in a certain region of the brain. These same neurobiological changes have been shown to occur in rats that are given extended access to heroin or cocaine.

Sugar alone was found to produce a powerful reward response, as demonstrated by a study in which rats were allowed to choose between pressing two levers: one lever gave them access to sugar-sweetened water, and the other a dose of intravenous cocaine. The rats preferred sugar over cocaine... isn't it incredible ?? Just a quick info, we are here talking about refined sugar gyas, not the type of sugar you can find in fruits ;) In other words, overeating alters the dopamine reward system in humans, which then acts to drive further overeating.

Reduced numbers of dopamine D2 receptors have been reported in obese compared to lean people, and in women with bulimia compared to healthy women.

It has also been shown that the dopamine reward response is diminished over a period of weight gain or in response to frequent consumption of ... Guess what, ice cream . This sweet fatty and very enjoyable treat ... Another study suggested that higher-glycemic meals produced more activation in brain regions associated with reward and craving. These studies prove overeating highly palatable foods results in a diminished dopamine reward response and therefore tolerance, leading to a constant cycle of addictive overeating.

Withdrawal and “toxic hunger”

In addition to the effects on the brain’s reward system, withdrawal may also contribute to overeating and food addiction.

A diet low in micronutrients and phytochemicals and high in calories is associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, and the accumulation of toxic metabolites.

A few hours after eating, as the body begins to eliminate these waste products, uncomfortable symptoms arise, such as headaches, light-headedness, irritability, and fatigue; symptoms I refer to as “toxic hunger.” But your body is not hungry at all, he is just trying to Detox a bit...

Many people recognize these symptoms as hunger, because eating ceases this detoxification process, diminishing the uncomfortable symptoms. Misinterpreting these symptoms as hunger leads people to chronically consume more calories than necessary." In my NUTRIFLOW Program, I keep this fact in mind and teach you to eat adequately... I help you to choose wisely your food to nourish your body without creating an addictive pattern.

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