Food addiction a ‘habit problem’

Eating certain foods can be a comfort for many people as a reward for their long day at work, a way to gain energy to complete difficult tasks, or a chance to socialize in the evening. But others may have a compulsive and uncontrolled desire to eat certain foods, especially those “fast” with excessive taste, which can affect their daily performance and their ability to fulfill the roles they play in their social, work, or family lives. .
A report published by the magazine “The Conversation” states that “many people become addicted to food because of their strong desire to eat it without feeling hungry, and their motives may be related to low mood or mental illness such as depression and anxiety, or to high levels of stress or heightened feelings.”
In general, “food addiction” is not a clinically diagnosable condition, but patients ask health care providers how they manage their addictive food intake. They’re getting answers about the mechanisms of food addiction, and they’re being evaluated for signs of eating behavior via the Yale Food Addiction Scale, but they’re not getting treatments with proven effectiveness, at a time when researchers are finding that addiction and reward pathways in the brains due to stress, heightened emotions and mental illness are linked The desire to overeat, as well as the abundance of junk food and its associated advertisements, and the delicious ingredients of various processed foods, force people to eat, whether they hungry or not .


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Some people report that they cannot control their eating, regardless of their desire, and seek help. Statistics indicate that one in six people, between 15 and 20 percent, has food addiction problems. Food addiction specialists associate this with accessible and highly sought-after foods that contain a mix of energy, fat, salt and sugar, making their nutritional value low. This includes chocolate, candies, ready-to-eat foods and pastries.
These foods provide a high level of mental reward, which requires the pull of people’s thoughts, especially as it can improve their mood and distract their mind from disturbing or painful thoughts. Over time, a person can eat more of these foods to get the same satisfying feelings. This means that food occupies the minds of people with addictions, while others get feelings of satisfaction.
It is noteworthy that the controversy continues about causing addiction to food components or eating behavior itself, or both, because people consume food for many reasons, and people can get used to habits related to certain foods, and this issue differs from person to person.
A study conducted by Ricci Burrows, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle, UK, and a nutrition researcher at the same university, Megan Watnal, reveals that many people who suffer from food addiction attribute their behavior to a variety of experiences, some painful, occurring in childhood, prompting them to follow diets or habits. Restrictive eating is associated with poor body image, or dissatisfaction with it.


Compulsive desire to eat "fast" (Sergey Fadeshev/Getty)

A compulsive craving for “fast” food (Sergey Fadeshev/Getty)

The study found that addictive eating in the teens was associated with a lower quality of life and lower self-esteem, and that it increased in severity over time. She noted that children and adolescents are less addicted to food than adults.
With regard to the treatment of food addiction, the study found that the diversity of causes of food addiction hinders the provision of one-size-fits-all treatments, so it is necessary to try a wide range of treatments, including self-help support methods and taking medications such as “Naltrexone” and “Bupropion.” They target hormones related to hunger and appetite, working to reduce food intake. And also, bariatric surgery for weight loss, note that the stomach is tied by an adjustable strap to place its upper part to apply pressure and reduce appetite.
Medications and bariatric surgery have been shown to be effective at losing weight and reducing symptoms of food addiction in some people, but they may not be appropriate for some, such as those of a healthy weight or those with complex underlying health conditions. Diet and lifestyle changes.


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Researchers Burroughs and Watnall suggest holistic approaches to managing addictive eating, based on a behavior modification approach in which online participants received personalized feedback about their symptoms of eating, diet, physical activity and sleep, and formulated goals, distraction lists and mindfulness plans.
Three months later, she began trying the treatment by testing the right program for each person and its effect on reducing food addiction symptoms and improving mental health.

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