During Thanksgiving dinner, did you have a second, third or fourth piece of pumpkin pie because you "couldn't" help yourself? Holiday dining often includes overeating for many, but for some it's a daily problem.
More researchers in food addiction today are crossing paths with those who study drug addiction. Should food be considered and treated like a drug?
From The Daily Beast:
The theory that the brain responds to high-fat, high-calorie foods similarly to how it responds to drugs is now gaining scientific muscle, led by renowned names in the field of addiction. Over the past few years, it has become one of the hottest topics in obesity research, receiving nearly $6 million of funding in 2011 alone from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "There is a huge amount of research now going on in this area," says the institute's head, Nora Volkow. In general, especially in studies of rodents, the brain appears to uniquely draw us to high-calorie, low-nutrient foods of the kind filling the shelves at every Kwik Chek, 7-Eleven, and corner deli.
Categorizing calorie- and fat-dense foods as addictive would mean, as it did with Sheppard, that "dieting" could become "recovery" and steps might be taken to restrict the way certain foods are marketed and sold. It could open the door to cigarette-style taxes and warning labels.
Ashley Gerhardt, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, will join The Daily Circuit Tuesday to discuss food addiction. Richard Shriner, psychiatrist-in-chief at Vista Psychiatric Hospital and program director of the Eating Disorder & Obesity Programs, will also join the discussion.
This morning we discussed food addiction. Can you really be physically hooked on certain foods?
Kerri's guests were Ashley Gerhardt, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, and Richard Shriner, psychiatrist-in-chief at Vista Psychiatric Hospital and program director of the Eating Disorder and Obesity Programs at the University of Florida.
Here's how one woman described her weight loss plan once she decided that she was addicted to sweets and fats. This is from The Daily Beast:
Like an alcoholic giving up drinking one day at a time, she began a daily abstinence from highly processed, high-carbohydrate foods. She stopped thinking about her weight. Her approach was so successful that she founded a program, wrote a couple of books, and now helps others. “If you focus on weight, you will lose,” she says, but “if you focus on recovery, you lose weight.”
There is a link between alcoholism and overeating. From MSNBC:
Both fat and alcohol can lead to "nonhomeostatic" behavior...meaning that we keep consuming them beyond the point that our bodies would otherwise tell us we've had enough.
Richard Shriner says that science is explaining something his patients have know a while:
"It is a duty that we owe our patients. It is science catching up with reality....Our job is to get going and assist our patients in overcoming food addiction."
Ashley Gerhardt says this idea of "food addiction" came out of noticing that patients with eating disorders resembled people who have other addictions.
Food cues, like the smell of a bakery, triggers a release of dopamine that starts the addict's food craving.
Guest Ashley Gerhardt.
For years now I have come to understand that my relationship with food is like an alcoholics relationship with alcohol. Even when I am eating a meal, I am looking forward to the next meal, in addition, I overeat!
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. Dopamine deficiency results in Parkinson's Disease, and people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction. The presence of a certain kind of dopamine receptor is also associated with sensation-seeking.
I have been in recovery for alcoholism for over 30 years. Then I stopped smoking. I am good at switching addictions so food was next. I have struggled with my weight since then. The relationship with food was not healthy. I joined Weight Watcher and it took
By looking at how the human brain responds to "fullness" messages sent to the brain by an implanted device that stimulates the stomach, the scientists have identified brain circuits that motivate the desire to overeat in the obese - the same circuits that cause addicted individuals to crave drugs.
Guest Dr. Richard Shriner
It took 20 years in Weight Watchers to recover from my overeating. I am at goal and have been for over two years. The support of weekly meetings is much like AA meetings.
Mentioned by Dr. Shriner, the ileal break:
Recent studies have shown that under normal physiological situations undigested nutrients can reach the ileum, and induce activation of the so-called "ileal brake", a combination of effects influencing digestive process and ingestive behaviour. The relevance of the ileal brake as a potential target for weight management is based on several findings: First, activation of the ileal brake has been shown to reduce food intake and increase satiety levels. Second, surgical procedures that increase exposure of the ileum to nutrients produce weight loss and improved glycaemic control. Third, the appetite-reducing effect of chronic ileal brake activation appears to be maintained over time.
I have battled with food addiction since I was 13 years old. I have been bulemic, anorexic and a combination of all. I am now almost 300 pounds. I still go back to food for comfort and immediate gratification. I can heal myself with food and control the action. Food addiction is about more than weight it is about controlling your life in the most basic way...Food heals food comforts.
Read Wheat Belly and find that wheat is an appetite stimulate. After giving up wheat I have easily lost 20 pounds. There are many gluten free breads available.
I've had over eating problems for many years now. I'm 27 and finally found a good job working for the state of Minnesota. The benefits are pretty good, and I decided to start going to therapy since I can finally afford it.
I've been working for a couple months on many issues surrounding validation and stress, both of which contributes to my negative eating habits. I can understand how it helps some people to abstain from certain foods, but for me, "living without" specific foods would be detrimental to my recovery. Getting therapy is really helping work though the reasons I eat and why I choose to eat certain foods.
If giving up the foods you love makes you genuinely unhappy, at what point is it just not worth it? I have Fibromyalgia/CFS and I struggle with chronic pain and a real inability to exercise (I used to exercise a lot). In many ways I feel like good food is one of the few things I have left. This makes it VERY hard to give up foods that aren't good for my health.
I also have to say, I would love to see stronger government regulation in our food system.
There are additives, chemicals, and GMO's that are outlawed in other countries of our caliber, and the weight issues are not as prevalent probably because of that.
High Fructose Corn Syrup, whatever the hell they put in Hot Cheetos, these are things Americans just do not need in our food and we have no way to stop. HFC for instance, its EVERYWHERE.
@eb Good for you! :)
Dr. David Kessler's book "The End of Overeating" is fantastic in analyzing the neuroresponse, food environment cues, and emotional comfort issues associated with overeating. Just READING his book helped me lose weight. Because it engaged my mind in observing my behavior and cues.
@Jim Allison Jr. Hey, thanks! Its slow but steady progress. I'm hoping to work on these things now and be free to live my life in the future because of that healing. :)
I've struggled my whole life with binge eating. The only thing that has worked has been to eat a primarily whole foods diet. My cravings aren't as strong if I stay away from processed food.
@View_From_Here You can hear Kerri Miller interviewing David Kessler here.
I use iPhone app Nxtnutrio to avoid food that cause obesity it's really helping me. I believe it's a local company
I am curious about the degree unresolved psychological issues contribute to eating disorders like food addiction or the opposite side with bulimia and anorexia. I have seen how much these unresolved issues effect drug addiction and being that they trigger the same pleasure receptors in the brain I wonder how something like extreme insecurity due to childhood experiences would lead to eating disorders / food addiction as well
Between this segment and the one last week on ADHD, I love how MPR is always talking about the issues that directly affect me.
@eb I'm glad we're relevant! I really like the segments where our audience shares their stories.
@DailyCircuit definitely time for the government to step in and start controlling what people eat. We must curb this addiction
I wasn't able to breast feed my second daughter, who is a binge eater who can't stop when she starts eating high-fat and high-carb foods (donuts, chips, etc.).
The first daughter I breastfed and she doesn't have this problem, nor do I (I was breastfed).
Can the doctors comment on role of cow-milk-based formula is predisposing a child to be a binge eater (my daughter also has PCOS, which can cause diabetes, and has high cholesterol)?
The book "Wheat Belly" by William Davis, MD ties into this. He talks about the hybridization of wheat and thus how a piece of bread raises your blood sugar level significantly more than a candy bar. a snickers bar will raise your blood sugar to 41 but a piece of bread will raise it to 72 and whole wheat is worse than white !!!
@kelli You're the second person to mention the book.
Dr. Shriner says "eat like the French" to control how much you eat:
Eat a little bit and walk away. Eat a little bit and walk away. The food will have time to get to your small intestine and the "ileal break' will work and turn off your appetite. (See an earlier post for more about the ileal break.)
people are not addicted to broccoli. They are not addicted to salad. They are not addicted to eggs. Consider what people are addicted to. I would love it if you would interview William Davis :)
Dr. Shriner says that social media have revolutionized how to deal with food addiction. Support from other people 24-7 helps people control their appetites.
I agree other posts about eating disorders and underlying issues. Food is part of human life and it may be worth it to think about what are bodies need and how we listen to our bodies. Mental and physical body cues are really challenging to get in touch with, especially while living a high-stress, fast-pased lifestyle. Perhaps giving some thought to these things may help. I reccommend reading "Life Without Ed" by Jenni Schaefer.
Back a couple of years ago I found I was eating 1-3 King Size Snickers everyday with a big chocolaty coffee, with frequent McDollar visits as well, all to my concern, as otherwise I do my best to eat well. A few people began mentioning an herb that they thought I might like, it was "Salvia divinorum". I did research on the herb and how to use it, Terence McKenna's note gave some clues as well as did more recent scientific research on Salvinorin A, a kappa opioid receptor agonist , κ-opioid agonists have very marked effects on all types of addiction including alcohol, cocaine, and opiate abuse.
After a series of sessions 90 minutes apart, besides having a series of paradigm shift, I found lucid dreaming ever night as well as my Snickers consumption went to once a week or less with no cravings, I also cut my cannabis and coffee consumption (which I didn't see as problems, except for the sugared coffee) in half with no problem or effort.
The change has stayed yet the herb which didn't need constant usage became illegal and unavailable. There seems to be a need for more education of substances and less fear and control surrounding them, especially non-toxic natural ones.