As a board certified Addiction Medicine specialist I was compelled to respond to this question. I work with many individuals who are greatly impacted by all types of addictions.
Most think of addiction in terms of alcoholism, drug or sex addition, but as the issue of obesity increases across the world, it is important to take note that food can be just as addictive. It has long been determined that junk food is unhealthy, but there is sufficient evidence to support that unhealthy eating can affect your brain. Yes, those potato chips and candy bars can alter your brain in ways you never imagined.
The inability to resist certain foods may lead to feelings of lack of control or enslavement to eating, which is in fact what an addition is: enslavement to a habit.
The key to curing food addiction could lie in the balancing of neurotransmitters in the brain. When these are out of balance, you may feel depressed, anxious, angry, etc. Your brain will start telling the body that it needs more, and you will crave foods that will directly affect those neurotransmitters. A great example of this is sugar. When serotonin levels are low, many people will crave something sweet.
There are some healthy ways to curve your sugar cravings. One I strongly support is exercise. Daily exercise can raise your dopamine levels, increase your mood and reduce sugar cravings. Staying well hydrated is another way to protect your brain from imbalances. When eating, a good choice is to reach for naturally sweet foods, such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Eating regularly throughout the day (3 meals and one snack) will also reduce cravings.
Here is a list of foods which can help your dopamine levels:
- dairy products
- soy products
- sesame seeds
If you are starting to get the sense that you are losing control over your food and your food is controlling you, I recommend natural addiction therapy.
Using an integrative medicine approach, you can provide your brain with the substances it needs to restore normal brain functioning, often without the use of prescription medications.
For more information on natural remedies for your cravings go to the home page (www.carolynrossmd.com) and look for the Your Better Body supplement which is designed to help you crave less.