Why are we addicted to foods?
First things first, you aren’t alone when it comes to being addicted to food. There’s a reason why Lays, the huge potato chip company, used the slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one!” A Connecticut College study of rats showed that Oreo filling, morphine and cocaine stimulated the pleasure portion of the brain. However, when rats were given the choice between the three, they chose the Oreo filling!1
The food industry has scientists working around the clock looking to expose what your body craves to create a product that will keep you coming back for more. However, the secret to outsmarting the food industry is simpler than you might ever think.
Our bodies crave the big three when it comes to food – salt, sugar, and fat. This is a built-in method that stems from our instincts to survive in nature. Dating back to our ancestors, we have been able to detect which foods are safe in nature by how they taste.
*Sweet = safe
*Fatty = energy-rich
*Salty = preserves fluids
*Bitter = poison
When you ingest sugar and fat, you increase the number of opiates being released into your brain. These opiates stimulate your brain to release dopamine (the “feel good hormone”), which gives you pleasure, alertness, concentration, euphoria, and motivation. The problem is that you overstimulate the dopamine switch (dopamine receptor). Then they stop working which forces you to eat more.
The food industry has been able to create “food-like products” with concentrated addictive tastes, all without having any nutritional value. Remember, it’s their job to make you eat more of their company’s food, whether it’s healthy or not. These concentrated tastes overstimulate your taste buds in such a short period of time then your brain doesn’t have time to register how much you have actually ingested. It is concentrating on releasing the opiates, dopamine and that pleasurable feeling it has been looking for.
Typically, the food industry will eliminate the food’s dietary fiber, dehydrate it, and then process it at extremely high temperatures (which strip its nutrients). Addictive foods tend to be housed in packages to look tasty, convenient and attractive to consumers. Try to look for unpackaged foods, usually found on the perimeter of grocery stores, to avoid these processed foods and food-like products.
I like to use the example of a “parachute” when referring to addictive vs. whole foods. Foods with a “parachute” (whole foods) slowly digest, assimilate and absorb into your body at a rate in which you can fully receive all of the food’s nutrients. Additionally, your body is going to be aware of how much of these foods it has ingested. Foods with no “parachute” (food-like products, processed foods) immediately digest, spike your blood sugar, cause chronic high insulin levels and typically provide you with little to no nutrients. Think of it like this: every time you eat, it’s like you’re jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Obviously, you would want to jump with a parachute, which can safely control your fall and guide you to the ground nice and easy. However, if you jump with no parachute, there’s just the free-fall, that is what processed foods are doing to us!
*Satisfied vs. Stuffed – it takes your brain 20-30 minutes to catch up to your stomach. Think about foods without a “parachute” like a Twinkie - how many Twinkies can you eat in 20-30 minutes? I know I can eat too many!
Let’s take back our power! Focus on ingesting foods that are high in fiber (vegetables, small amounts of fruit), healthy fat (nuts, grass-fed butter, avocado) and small amounts of lean protein (wild caught fish, grass-fed meats). Utilizing fiber, fat, and protein will slow the digestion process, stabilize your blood sugar, help with satiety and increase your energy. You should always accompany each meal with vegetables since these will provide you with vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep you healthy and full!
Unfortunately, we as a society have not demonized the food industry as we have done with the tobacco industry, but isn’t it really the same thing? They’re both causing disease to spread like wild-fire throughout the world! If you are struggling with food addiction or implementing other healthy habits into your daily routine? The Best YOU Ever Challenge is your solution. Enter promo code YOU for 30% today! www.JackKunkel.com/you to sign up. Thank you! Jack
1.Connecticut College News. Student-faculty research suggests Oreos can be compared to drugs of abuse in lab rats. 10/15/13 available at: http://www.conncoll.edu/news/news-archive/2013/student-faculty-research-suggests-oreos-can-be-compared-to-drugs-of-abuse-in-lab-rats.htm#.VM7FQmTF90I