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Are You Addicted to Food?

by Mahogany Speaks Writers

Updated June 1, 2018

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Many people associate overeating or obesity with poor willpower and bad eating habits. Often, those who suffer from obesity are encouraged to simply change the way they eat and get more exercise. Research shows that the cure to beating obesity may not be as simplistic as one might think. In fact, there are some individuals for who food addiction just might be the culprit. 

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According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, the brains of women who have symptoms of food addiction respond to the prospect of delicious food in much the same way as the brain of a drug addict responds to the idea of drugs. 


In one study, thirty-nine women were presented with a chocolate shake. Their brain response after seeing the chocolate shake was observed.  As was expected, the parts of the brain associated with anticipation and craving were activated just by the mere image of the chocolate shake among those women with symptoms of food addiction. 

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Once they tasted the shake, the parts of their brain that should signal them to slow down showed decreased activity, essentially encouraging them to seek more chocolate shake.

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Leptin, an appetite hormone is thought to be at the root of the problem of food addiction. Leptin triggers the brain to recognize when it is we feel full after eating. Studies show that obese individuals may not respond to leptin in the way that others do, meaning, they are not as sensitive to the release of it. 


Ultimately, this makes them less likely to stop eating at a time where others would experience satisfaction and fullness.

What Causes the Leptin Imbalance?

The following factors may contribute to Leptin Sensitivity:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Poor stress management
  • Overeating
  • Eating too many carbs
  • Exercising too much
  • Too much sweetener/sugar substitute intake

There are a few ways to reset your Leptin Sensitivity so that it suppresses your appetite. 


Change Your Eating Habits

Protein for breakfast, leafy greens and fiber-rich goods have been reported to have the greatest impact. Limiting or reducing carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes, flour-enriched foods or heavy meals can also have a positive effect. 


Step Away from the Sugar

Sugar is a mean condiment for you if leptin is working against you. Sugar has a nasty way of triggering leptin resistance --even when you try to take the high road and use sweeteners in its place. To reverse leptin resistance, try decreasing your consumption of sugar and staying away from sweeteners. 


Go to Bed

Next, get a little sleep. Our bodies prefer it when we give it adequate time to recover. Try going to bed by no later than ten. 


Increase Your Physical Activity

Yoga, walking, cycling, Zumba, or even swimming are excellent ways to add physical activity into your daily routine. Try to work on increasing your exercise over time. Exercise but don't over-do it and finally, work on better managing your stress.