Signs of Food Addiction to Watch out For

March 1, 2019

After writing a number of articles about how certain individuals shed more than 100 pounds by altering their diet habits, I sought to investigate how people reach their oversized shape in the first place. An alarming statistic that I discovered shows how common obesity is: more than 1 in 3 adults in America are obese.

Obesity is more than just being overweight. It is when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher (you can find out your BMI using a BMI calculator). There are many factors that contribute to obesity, and scientists believe that food addiction may play an important role in it.

In the U.S., food addiction occurs in 7% of women and 3% of men. For women between 45-64 years of age, they have an even higher occurrence of 8.4%. In recent years, the scientific community has begun to study food addiction more closely because of its serious, and sometimes fatal, consequences. A documentary “Addicted to food: Sharon’s story” about Britain’s fattest woman Sharon Mevsimler who died of a heart attack due to food addiction that went untreated.

What Is Food Addiction?

Food addiction is an behavioral condition characterized by the obsessive eating of hyper-palatable foods like those rich in fat, salt, or sugar. It strongly affects mental health via the reward processes of the brain, which take control and make it difficult to control eating habits.

Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in a person and, naturally, they seek more of that. The early stages of the condition usually come in the form of cravings, and it grows into an addiction when food activates the reward system in the brain despite detrimental consequences that it causes.

Symptoms and Signs of Food Addiction

The Yale Food Addiction Scale is the first diagnostic criteria of its kind to identify people who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of food addiction. It was developed by the researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy.

According to this scale, there are at least 8 common symptoms and signs of food addiction, and they include the following:

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