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Food Addiction?

Food Addiction?

Worried about food addiction?

Is there such a thing? Or is it some made-up diagnosis? Let’s dig down to find out, shall we? Before we begin, I want to start with a thought experiment.

Imagine a world where we gave out cigarettes to kids during recess. Or how about a world where we give kids drinks filled with cocaine. Maybe a world where we allow babies to drink vodka with formula as the mixer (assuming the taste can be covered). Perhaps even less mind-altering drugs like nicotine in their crackers. What do you think would happen?

You would see kids utterly dependent on these things. They would cry out when you take it away. They would bug you and bug you and bug you until you brought it out again. They would only be happy when living life alongside it.

Doesn’t that sound quite crazy?

“Who would ever do that? That is insane,” you may say.

Or maybe others chime in with, “That’s too much of a hyperbole to be realistic. That would never happen… Why bother with such ridiculous hypotheticals?”

Really? I have one question for you: is it seriously that far off from the reality we live in now?

 

Soda comparable to hard drugs?


A few weeks ago I literally saw this same scenario play out. I was with a friend and her kids, one of which is a 2-year-old girl. She doesn’t know any better – but she knew something. She knew her life depended on having sugar right at that moment. It was her second orange soda-pop, and her mom decided to take it away for misbehavior. She immediately started screaming, crying, and lashing out in ways I can’t even imagine. It was like something possessed her. She needed to have it.

We have an entire holiday dedicated to filling kids up with sugar – Halloween. And I assure you this substance is a lot more harmful than you think.

Addiction diagnosis

The world we live in seems to care about finding a disease label or condition for everything. We are always looking for the next thing to diagnose. I go back and forth on the issue. Is it really necessary to label every lack of restraint a “disease” or “addiction?” Who knows. However, there are certain things in the world that are worthy of that title.

Unfortunately one of the most addictive things on earth is the very thing that keeps us alive: food. Of course, not all kinds of food are addictive. I don’t think anyone is worried about an overindulgence in kale. But what about things like sugar or even bread? Is there real harm to becoming hooked on these products? Yes, there is. And “becoming hooked” is an understatement…

In this blog I bring out everyday experience (that most of you should relate to) as a mere suggestion there can be such a thing as a food addiction.

What is “food?”

This last week has been a little rough to say the least.. That’s how this topic came up. Not the worst week ever by any stretch of the imagination – but difficult nonetheless. I have to admit I had some mishaps here and there. I ate a lot more bad food than I should have..

But actually, I am quite thankful this happened because now I can see the gravity of my situation. I hope you all can relate.

It got me questioning some things about food and how we should view its use. Food is such a blessing in our lives, but I think we have extended its meaning too far. What really is “food?” Should everything we label as edible be considered food? NO!!

 

By definition food is nutritious. Sugar is not.


And it turns out that I am not the only one who thinks this way. Just for fun, I Googled what the definition of food is. This is what came up:

“Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.”[1]

Unless you are stranded on an island, I think it is safe to say that ice cream and cookies are not food. They do not bring any nutritional value to the table. They present empty calories just like alcohol does. Yes, there is energy in the substance, but it comes with no nutrition and a whole lot of baggage. Let’s take a quick look at alcohol for comparison.

Alcohol as food?

Alcohol is metabolized and used by the body, and it even contains calories. Technically speaking, drinking alcohol should give us the energy to go throughout the day. In fact, alcohol contains almost twice as many calories (7 kcal/g) as carbohydrates do (4 kcal/g).[2But I think it is safe to say drinking is not the best way to sustain life – even though it could in an ideal world.

Alcohol contains energy, but is it "food?"


So why don’t we consider alcohol a “food?” Right! Not because it is liquid, but because it does not contain nutrients for survival. It also contains a lot of anti-nutrients that keep your body from absorbing the good stuff when it comes along. Likewise is the case for desserts, soda-pop, refined carbohydrates, and other foods I am sure you can think of.

What is this “stuff” then?

I’ve come to the conclusion that we shouldn’t even consider sugary snacks as food. They are substances ready for abuse. Just like hard drugs are a case of addiction waiting to happen, processed snacks lean toward the side of substance abuse.

That ought to be our starting point. These kind of sugary substances are drugs. While that may seem to be quite the absurd claim, it is true. The serve no need for our human existence, but we indulge in them anyway. Why? For pleasure of course! Isn’t that what we do with alcohol and other drugs? We take them because they make us feel better. When we take too much of them, we become dependent, and it is officially labeled “substance abuse.”

Again, a quick Google search of the definition of substance abuse yields the following:

Overindulgence in or dependence on an addictive substance, especially alcohol or drugs.”[3]

Just like cigarettes, sugar is addictive


How does that not describe our very situation with refined carbohydrates? One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about the keto diet is that it is “too hard” to follow and “unsustainable.” People don’t think it’s unhealthy, they just can’t seem to follow it. Do you know why?

BECAUSE THEY ARE ADDICTED TO CARBOHYDRATES. We all are. It takes a lot of time and effort to get over an addiction. The fact that people find it too hard to follow should signal in and of itself that there is an addiction. We can’t seem to let the bad food go.

The hard thing about sugar

So if its an obvious problem, why is it not addressed? Isn’t that a little weird? Clearly there is a problem, but no one talks about it. That’s because it is in almost everything. Nearly every kind of food you eat (unless otherwise stated) contains sugar.

It’s a little hard to admit an addictive substance when everybody uses it. It is a part of society. We have all advocated for it at one time or another. There is more than just special interests at play here. It is our entire community who embraces it. It is sad but true.

Sugar is a major problem


Now if sugar was used in very small amounts, it wouldn’t be a problem – just like most drugs. But the problem occurs with addiction. You can’t stop it. It’s an overindulgence as the definition above stated. You want more and more of it. That is true with sugar. I’d say we need to go back to the way God intended for us to enjoy sugar – through the eating of fruits. That is nature’s dessert. And even then, fruit used to only be available during some parts of the year. It is a treat, and we should treat it as such. (No pun intended.)

What to do about it

The only real thing we can do at this point is to admit it’s an addiction. We constantly ignore the fact that it’s real. It is time to stop that. Sugar is a drug. Sugar is addictive. And sugar needs to be a bigger deal than it is.

There are more than a few published studies showing this. A quick Google search will reveal that. Seriously anyone can see from either personal experience or advanced scientific research that it’s true.

They even put sugar in cigarettes for goodness sake![4] This is a much deeper reality than most like to admit. But if we can spread the word, then we are making progress.

Ridding a society of a harmful and dangerous product takes time. The first step is recognition, which is what we propose here. Then as time goes on, the younger and younger generations will recognize this and decide for change.

The great physicist Max Planck puts it very well when he said, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

Save the children from sugar!


We need to make this a reality for our children and our children’s children. It might be too late for us because of how rampant the problem is, but it is not too late for our children. If we don’t stop this train from moving forward, then the entire world will be exposed to metabolic diseases and obesity. It is already close to that. We must rid sugar from our food!

Full, rich, fatty food is the answer. It tastes great, and without the sugar addiction, it satisfies all need of nutrition and pleasurable taste. That is one of the reasons we promote the ketogenic diet. If you would like to learn more about how to use the diet to ensure metabolic stability, sign up for our Starter Guide here. We would love to help you in your journey out of sugar addiction and into a full and liberated life.


Understand people’s struggles

Sometimes I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. And I am sure I am not the only one out there experiencing this. Everyday people do the very things they know will destroy them. They don’t want to do them, yet they do.

But at the end of the day, we have to face the reality that people do this because they are addicted. While there is a role for personal responsibility, the fact is that addiction takes a lot more choice out of your life than you can imagine. Let’s get rid of those substances from our lives.

References:

[1] “Food definition”. Google. [Online]. Available at: https://www.google.com/search?ei=Fs8rW96YHcjd0gLk3JagBQ&q=food+definition&oq=food+definition&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l10.3266.5262.0.5384.13.12.1.0.0.0.138.1102.8j3.11.0….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..1.12.1106…35i39k1j0i67k1j0i131i67k1j0i131i20i264k1j0i20i264k1j0i131k1.0.qH7MkitOUUU. Date accessed: 21 June 2018.

[2] “Alcohol and Nutrition: The calorie and carb breakdown.” The Catholic University of America. [Online]. Available at: http://deanofstudents.cua.edu/alcohol/alcohol-facts/nutrition.cfm. Date accessed: 21 June 2018.

[3] “Substance abuse definition”. Google. [Online]. Available at: https://www.google.com/search?ei=EBcsW83bDuzdjwTulY3QBg&q=substance+abuse+definition&oq=substance+abuse+definition&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i20i263k1l2j0l8.354174.355225.0.355339.11.10.0.0.0.0.123.871.8j2.10.0….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..1.10.867…0i67k1.0.HHB3nd51G-w. Date accessed: 21 June 2018.

[4] Roemer E, Schorp MK, Piade JJ, Seeman JI, Leyden DE, Haussmann HJ. Scientific assessment of the use of sugars as cigarette tobacco ingredients: A review of published and other publicly available studies. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 42(3): 244-278.

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