Finally studies and the media are showing what naturopaths have known for years. Let’s start with…
The Bad News
Food is addictive just like drugs. High sugar and high fat foods cause the body to release chemicals that affect the reward centers of the brain just like drugs. Similar to drugs, the body develops tolerance/addiction to these foods so that you have to continually eat more sugar and fat laden foods to get the same reward and pleasure activation in the brain. This is why these foods are addictive. This makes it very difficult to resist those foods and stick to diets. This pleasure activation/addictive qualities cause us all to get caught in a trap. Eating high sugar/fatty foods cause feelings of relaxation, stress reduction and pleasure, but after awhile those feel good chemicals decline and the feelings go away and the cravings come back and these foods are then eaten again. Eventually the body develops tolerance similar to drugs where more food is needed to create those same feelings of pleasure, thus the addiction!! Now….
The Good News
Just like with drugs, food detox/rehab is possible. Completely cutting out these foods for a short period of time, such as in a 2 or 3 week detox or strict diet, allow those pleasure centers to reset. If you have every done anything like this you have experienced the reset. That is why when people first start a diet feel miserable. They are depressed because their pleasure centers aren't being activated, but overtime those pleasure centers readjust. That is why first eating more fruits and veggies doesn't taste as great, but if done over time and in addition to eliminating high fat and high sugar foods, fruits and veggies start to taste good and sweet again.
The Game Plan
If you feel like you are caught in this addiction or pleasure trap, consider a detox/ diet change. This can be hard this time or year and may need to wait until after the holidays.
The diet should eliminate all high processed foods and only include fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, seeds, and lean meats and should be at least 2-3 weeks long to allow those pleasure centers to reset. After that, sweets can be put back into the diet in small amounts and very slowly, Be careful however, for some people small amounts of these high sugar/fat foods will cause a quick "relapse" into the food addiction cycle.
So if you feel like this is happening to you and you need some help going through food "rehab" and getting out of this vicious cycle, call us at 303-688-6698 or click HERE to schedule an appointment.
Adam Graves ND, LAc