Monday, March 15, 2010

food addiction?

I finally looked up the source for one of my favorite quotes. It's from Psychology Today in an article called, "The Science of Willpower." I hope you read it.

Here's the quote:
"Food might not be addictive on its own, but prohibiting it can set off a cycle of anxiety, craving, and overconsumption that for all purposes looks like addiction."


  1. In my experience in my own life and observing others, forbidding normal, human behavior tends to cause obsession, anxiety and "addict-like" behavior. But, as someone who has survived eating disorders and loves the body acceptance cause, I have especially seen the truth of this when eating becomes taboo or immoral... or when eating a certain way becomes taboo or immoral.
    When I look back at my own ancestory, I remember the Irish potato famine and see the wisdom of my hunger and my body's propensity to be fat as a way to survive. That famine wasn't so long ago... and most people in the world today don't have enough food to eat as it is. It makes sense that the body is wired to resist the self-imposed famine of dieting.

  2. See, I thought one way to describe addiction is that you end up treating something that is completely optional to life like it's air, food, or water -- which is to say something that is required to live.

    Food is NOT OPTIONAL.

  3. I totally agree with both comments. I'd love to know what you thought of my recent book review on End to Overeating that seemed to lay all the blame of our societal craziness with food on the addiction model. I had a serious problem with that. I also recently did an interview where I talked about how much I hate that we use the language of addiction around food with kids. Nutrition ed materials aimed to "teach" kids introduces and validates the nonsense notion that food is inherently addictive and that we can't control ourselves. I've seen words like "snack attack," "craving," "out of control," "control your urges" etc. As a culture we create this addiction model around food, notice that the quote says, "look like an addiction," not is an addiction.
    Mostly I put a link to this article because I kept using the quote to stress the role of restriction but was too lazy to find the source! Thanks!

  4. This is a tough question. There are certain foods that I literally can't eat enough of, it was a type of candy that my parents hid around the house as when I was a kid and their are other foods that I can eat to satiety and stop, even foods I really like.

    So I'd say I'm addicted to one particular food, but not all food. Does that work?

  5. Kate, great post. Interesting that the food you feel "addicted" to is the one that was "prohibited" or hid from you as a child! If your description of your experience works for you, it works for me! I used to feel "addicted" to Coke and Doritos. I found that after allowing myself unconditional access and permission, I ate a lot for awhile, and now can take it or leave it. I still enjoy a coke, but don't crave it or drink lots when I have it. Most times I only feel like about a third of the can. I wonder if you did an experiment of having that candy around and eating as much as you wanted, whenever you wanted if it would eventually lose it's power? Not a recommendation since I don't know you or your situation, just a thought!