I’ve believed junk foods to be addicting for a very long time.
As a recovering drug addict (sober since January 4th, 2010), I can tell you that the cravings are exactly the same as cravings to drugs of abuse like cannabis or amphetamine.
That’s right, exactly the same.
In this video, Dr. Lustig and Dr. Epel explain how junk food may lead to changes in the biochemistry of the brain, resulting in addiction.
- Palatable foods lead to dopamine release in the reward area of the brain.
- Consumption of hyper palatable (very rewarding) foods cause an even greater dopamine release.
- Over time, this leads to changes in the biochemistry of the brain.
- The brains of obese people light up differently at the sight of food.
- Still, when obese people eat food, their reward response is blunted. It is like an “urge that they can not satisfy.”
- When these changes have occurred, there is a relentless biochemical drive going on in the brain, telling them to eat.
- If this drive is ignored, withdrawal occurs and the urge becomes even stronger.
- Junk food consumption leads to both tolerance and withdrawal, which are the hallmarks of physical addiction.
The video is 7 minutes long.
This video confirms what I already believed to be true about junk foods and addiction.
In my experience, the effects are almost exactly the same as addiction to drugs of abuse. The “high” may not be as noticeable, but the cravings and difficulty to abstain are exactly the same.
The only solution that has consistently worked for true addicts is complete abstinence from the substance in question. Now that’s something to think about.