Are Some Foods Addictive – The New York Times

In his clinical practice, Drs. Gearhart has faced patients – some obese and some not – who struggle in vain to control their intake of highly processed foods. Some try to eat them in moderation, only to find that they lose control and eat to the point of feeling ill and distraught. Many of his patients found that they could not quit these foods despite struggling with uncontrolled diabetes, excessive weight gain and other health problems.

“The striking thing is that my customers are almost always aware of the negative consequences of their highly processed food consumption, and they have usually tried dozens of strategies such as crash diet and cleanliness and getting their relationship with these foods under control Let’s try, “she said. “While these efforts may work for a short period of time, they almost always go away.”

But Dr. Hebrand Disputed the notion Addiction to any food. While potato chips and pizzas may seem irresistible to some, they argue that they do not cause a changed state of mind, the hallmark of drugs. For example, smoking cigarettes, drinking a glass of wine or consuming heroin, for example, causes an immediate sensation in the brain that foods do not, they say.

“You can take any addictive drug, and it’s always the same story that almost everyone will have an altered state of mind after doing it,” Dr. Hebbrand said. “It shows that the substance is affecting your central nervous system. But we are all getting highly processed foods, and none of us are experiencing this changed state of mind because there is no direct hit of any substance in the brain. “

In substance use disorders, people become dependent on a specific chemical that acts on the brain, such as nicotine in cigarettes or ethanol in alcohol and alcohol. They initially seek this chemical to get high, and then become dependent on it to reduce depression and negative emotions. But in highly processed foods, there is no single compound that can be sung as addictive, Drs. Hebbrand said. In fact, evidence suggests that obese people who eat more food consume a wider range of foods with different textures, tastes, and compositions. Dr. Hembrand It was argued that overwriting is induced Every year more than 20,000 new products are marketed by the food industry, giving people abundant availability of foods and beverages.

“It is the variety of foods that are so appealing and problematic, these foods do not contain a single substance,” he said.

Those who argue against food addiction also state that most people consume highly processed foods daily without showing any symptoms of intoxication. But Dr. Gearhart noted that narcotics do not eat everyone who eats them. according to researchAbout two-thirds of people who smoke cigarettes become intoxicated, while no third. Only 21 percent of people who use cocaine during their lifetime are addicted to it, while only 23 percent of people who drink alcohol develop dependence on it. Studies show that a wide range of factors determine the extent to which people become addicted, including their genetics, family history, risk of trauma, and environmental and socioeconomic background.

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