Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that when you are dieting, food cravings can take over. What happens when food cravings are more than just a desire for food? What happens when what you eat starts to control your behavior?
It sounds like science fiction, but there’s nothing further from reality: food choices CAN control human behavior. If that weren’t frightening enough, food addiction has been linked to a variety of health problems and even early death.
To prevent becoming prey to your own menu, avoid these 3 most addicting foods.
Top 3 Most Addicting Foods
Trans fats are a type of chemically modified fat, meaning that they do not exist in nature. Man-made fats like these are not only unhealthy and linked to a variety of health problems, but they have also been shown to cause powerful food cravings. Almost all packaged, processed foods that you can find on grocery store shelves contain some sort of man-made fat. Trans fats are known to cause changes in brain function including memory impairment, cellular damage and even arterial plaque buildup. Because the consumption of trans fats has also been linked to changes in brain chemical production (including that of dopamine a feel-good brain chemical), eating foods that contain trans fat may actually alter the way your brain works, and influence the foods you crave. These cravings can be so powerful that they feel uncontrollable.
This is one of the most addictive food substances on the planet – and it goes by over 50 different names on food labels. This can include: high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, malodextrin, sorghum and many more! Recent research has revealed that sugar is found in an estimated 75 percent of packaged foods. Clinical data supports that sugar is as addictive as street drugs like cocaine, as it lights up the same reward center of the brain when consumed. One study reported, “Overall, [the study] revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive.” This suggests that consuming large amounts of convenience snack foods could alter a person’s eating behavior, and without them even knowing it! It is estimated that sugar may even be up to eight times more addictive than cocaine.(3)
While consuming meat is generally considered healthy, eating large amounts of it is not. Not only does overeating meat reduce your intake of other healthy foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but it has also been linked to the growth of “bad” bacterial strains in the gut microbiome. An imbalance of gut bacteria can cause a variety of health problems including poor digestion, a loss of immunity, and (you guessed it) a powerful drive to eat specific foods including more meat, saturated fats, and other nutrients those “bad” bugs love to eat. Talk about controlling!
Can my eating habits control my behavior?
When it comes to food, cravings are a thing of the past. Researchers have found that the foods you eat can actually change the way your brain functions, meaning that what we once thought of as food cravings is really a food addiction. Scientists have confirmed that this is true with many different types of foods. This comes as a great relief to millions of people struggling with weight loss. The fact is: if you cannot lose those unwanted pounds, it’s probably not even your fault.
What most people don’t realize is that the foods they eat are more than just habit-forming comfort foods – they are a drug.
The best foods to eat to beat food addiction
Another way that food can control a person’s behavior is by influencing the gut microbiome. The microbiome is an astronomically large colony of intestinal microbacteria that is easily influenced through diet. And this bacterial ecosystem literally has a mind of its own!
The bacteria microbiome includes some trillion of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. Some strains are considered “good,” and some “bad.” While they are all really “good” bacteria and needed in your body, an imbalance of the strains can become problematic and has even been scientifically linked to changes in brain function. In fact, one study aimed at understanding the microbiota-gut-brain connection revealed that managing the microbiome may help to prevent and treat mental illness, including anxiety and depression.
These are types of “good” bacteria that are naturally found in your gastrointestinal tract. It is important to feed them, and keep the number of “good” bacteria high in your body so that those “bad” bugs don’t start telling your brain what to eat – and they do! They LOVE trans fat, sugar and other processed ingredients. Probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha and pickles.
Prebiotics are foods that the “good” bacteria in your digestive system eat. Many prebiotic foods contain a type of fiber called inulin to feed those “good” bugs and keep you craving foods that keep you healthy. Prebiotic foods include acacia gum, chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion greens, garlic, leeks, cooked onions and jicama.
Any type of food that comes straight from nature will support a healthy digestive system and proper brain function. Today, there are so many foods that contain a long list of ingredients (some things you can’t even pronounce) that should never enter a human body. Aim to consume foods that only contain five ingredients or less. Think of it this way: an apple contains one ingredient – apple. Stick with Mother Nature and you’ll never need to wonder what you’re putting in your body or if it will lead to food cravings that control you!
Don’t let food control your life. Mind what you eat – it doesn’t solve all your problems, but it is a good first step to take if you want to be healthier and happier.
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.