Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Fight with "Food Addiction"

I am officially declaring a fight with the phrase "Food Addiction." It's bullshit. I do not believe you can be addicted to something that is required for sustaining life. What you can be addicted to is a habit of consuming too much, or a feeling that too much food or certain foods give you. But addicted to food? No. You don't hear about "air addictions" or "water addictions" why? Because these are things you can not give up entirely. The phrase alone, "food addict" is inherently setting people up to fail, and simuletaneously giving people an excuse.

Thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc., we are so quick to jump to the conclusion that doing something in excess is an "addiction." A person that is having a hard time controlling their weight automatically diagnoses themselves with a "food addiction." What is the traditional "cure" for addictions? Giving them up entirely. Well, now that works well for things like alcohol, gambling, and drugs, but no one can give up food entirely. This is how people are set up to fail.

Someone that diagnoses themselves as a "food addict" goes through the mock steps of accepting it, then possibly trying to change it, and most likely followed by the realization that they cannot simple give up food. This leads to throwing ones hands in the air, saying "I'm a food addict, but I have to eat food, so, guess I'm screwed." This is how people are given an excuse with the term "food addict."

I acknowledge that I have an unhealthy relationship with food, however I will never comfort myself under the blanket of a "food addiction." I have years of habit forming overeating to break. I like the way certain bad foods make me feel (perhaps dopamine is released?), but I also like the way I feel when I resist temptations, and the way I feel after a good, hard workout. Overeating and eating certain foods are things I CAN give up. I can not give up food altogether.

One thing I've learned is that fat people LOVE excuses. And I refuse to give myself another excuse by claiming a FOOD ADDICTION. End of fight.


  1. There is actually such a thing as food addiction. If you eat a lot of sugar then your body produces a lot of insulin to keep your blood sugar level low. So if you stop eating sugar yet your body produces a lot of insulin then your blood sugar will go super low and you will crave sugar- that is addiction. Similar things happen with fat but not so much protein. That is why you can CRAVE sugar and crave fat but you don't really ever crave protein.

    Plus, you can always have a mental addiction to eating when dealing with emotions. I know a couple people who had to work really hard to break this sort of eating rather than just eating crappy.

    I think food addiction is a healthy was for SOME people to approach life changing descisions. You have to eat food but you do not HAVE to eat the sugar and fat that your body is addicted to. BUT ADDICTION SHOULD NEVER BE AN EXCUSE. An alcoholic can never say 'Its okay that I hit that car because I was drunk and an addict.' A food addict cannot say 'I have health problems because I have to eat sugar cause I am an addict.'

    I just wanted to say this because I believe I was heavily (boarderline diabetic) addicted to sugar. No joke. It's not like smoking or herion (which are considered the most physically addictive drugs), but I ate high sugar (candy, thai food, icecream) at least 2-3 times a day and my eye doctors warned me about it because the blood vessels in my eyes were looking weird (precurser to diabetes- only place you can see live blood vessels from the outside).

  2. Yes! I was hoping this post would trigger some healthy discussion.

    I can believe a sugar addiction. That's what I was talking about when I said you can cut out certain types of food. But I do not think a sugar addiction can be broadly labeled a food addiction. Like you said, you do not have to eat sugar.

    I am mainly annoyed because everyone so quickly jumps to the "addiction" label. Yes there are people out there that have problems with food, and certain types of food, and quantities of food, but that does not necessarily make them an "addict" and therefore give them an excuse or comfort for their actions.

  3. I get tired of the addiction excuse as well. But I believe that because you know its an addiction you should word harder at solving it- not that it gives license to indulge more. No one else is responsible for our issues aside from ourselves.

    I say this with a grain of salt though because the sugar and corn industry is SO HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED that it is super hard get low sugar/carb foods. One frikin 8oz carton of yogurt has like 40 grams of sugar in it (about 10 teaspoons) THAT IS INSANE!!! Then you get into the socioeconomic/political aspects of food and diet becuase you know what is expensive: eating healthy. Its hard to ask a single mom to afford (or find time- or education if she is a teen)four square meals a day that do not include high carb foods. I really think sugar and corn subsidies need to stop.I also have a really hard time with soy products but that is for hummanitarian issues.

    I just get all riled up because W and I fight about this all the time. He thinks its easy but he is 1)High middle class 2) Has a hard time keeping weight on 3) Very well educated. It is easier for him.

    That being said- we still are the only ones that can change ourselves so we cannot be victims.

  4. L - Wow I had no idea that sugar was that big of a problem for you. Crazy! Glad it's getting under control :)

    V - You should share your tips/tricks for avoiding bad food choices and fighting triggers (or update the tips you posted 2 months ago) - or is it just your steely willpower??