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Why Is Food "Addiction" So Controversial?

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  • gigius72gigius72 Member Posts: 183 Member Member Posts: 183 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    gigius72 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    gigius72 wrote: »
    Lots of people rob grocery stores to get their cheese fix.

    That can be easily proven (it was also proven through MRI). Take a person who eats a lot of cheese and keep them 1 month without dairy, yet living cheese in their refrigerator.

    Yeah, pleasure centers in the brain light up on fMRI when contemplating tasty food, in receptive individuals. Also for things like petting cute kittens. Definitive: Petting kittens is addictive.

    I eat cheese daily. Pretty sure I could go a month with some in the fridge, but not eat it. Maybe not if it was a fully ripe well-made brie, or Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, but y'know, just general cheese, sure, no problem. No dairy at all for a month? Hard for me to get enough protein given current habits, but as long as I get to eat anything else I want, probably could. Cheese in the fridge wouldn't make it harder, except the ones I mentioned. (<= this paragraph is just joking around.)

    What's being ignored here is that when people have sufficient motivation, they quit cheese ALL the time. Vegans exist and we managed to do it without checking ourselves into rehab centers. I also know some people who have stopped eating cheese due to various allergy/intolerance issues, they also all managed to do it by deciding "No more cheese for me."

    That most people eat cheese is not evidence that it's the equivalent of Oxycontin, it's just an indicator that for most people it's a tasty, easily obtained, affordable, and satisfying food that they have no real reason to give up.

    When I was teenager I used to be drunk every Friday Saturday and Sunday quit cold turkey, no rehab. I smoked 30 years almost two packs a day... No rehab. Joints? No rehab. So they are not addictive either.
    Being addicted to something it doesn't mean all your D2 receptors are gone. There are levels of dependence and they are different for everyone.

    Physical dependence (which you likely had with the cigarettes, and I have had with caffeine, and which you don't seem to have had with the alcohol, and even many actual alcoholics do not although withdrawal can be deadly for those who do) is not required for something to be addictive, and it is also not sufficient for addiction of the sort we are discussing. It also is not demonstrated in the way you claim -- that certain portions of the brain are affected (again, which occurs in connection with anything we find pleasurable). All that shows is that we find both cheese and opioids pleasurable.

    The broader question is whether specific foods are addictive, and I don't think any evidence has been presented for that yet. (It's a different question than whether one can be addicted to food or eating more generally, and there the question is how to classify various addiction-like disordered eating behaviors.)

    As I said before, I'm pretty open to the idea that such behaviors can be looked at as a type of addiction, but the notion of only specific foods being addictive (usually ones that one wants to demonize for some reason, as I've mostly heard the cheese one from a few WFPB diet promoters, and we've discussed the sugar one already) is different and unsupported by anything serious.

    You also just don't need to prove physical addiction to argue addiction, as the hard part of kicking an addiction (vs. dependence) is typically not primarily the withdrawal. If it were, alcoholics who kick the dependence or don't have it (and it actually takes a lot to develop a physical dependence on alcohol, at least for most) wouldn't have addictive behaviors with it or be so prone to relapse. Same with opioids -- we know how to fix physical dependence, but not how to fix the broader psychological issue, or at least not consistently and in a way that works for everyone.

    No there are more foods I agree, which work the same way. I have no problem in saying that probably I'm more addicted to chocolate than I was to cigarettes.
    I think you can't find a psychological fix for everyone because everyone at the psychological level is affected in a different way. While there are now medicines that block dopamine receptors "requesting" for more, the psychological dependence has a different strength for every individual. That would take therapy. I happened to think about eating disorder (even though I don't think it effects the same area of the brain... But not sure).
    edited January 28
  • gigius72gigius72 Member Posts: 183 Member Member Posts: 183 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    gigius72 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    gigius72 wrote: »
    Lots of people rob grocery stores to get their cheese fix.

    That can be easily proven (it was also proven through MRI). Take a person who eats a lot of cheese and keep them 1 month without dairy, yet living cheese in their refrigerator.

    Yeah, pleasure centers in the brain light up on fMRI when contemplating tasty food, in receptive individuals. Also for things like petting cute kittens. Definitive: Petting kittens is addictive.

    I eat cheese daily. Pretty sure I could go a month with some in the fridge, but not eat it. Maybe not if it was a fully ripe well-made brie, or Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, but y'know, just general cheese, sure, no problem. No dairy at all for a month? Hard for me to get enough protein given current habits, but as long as I get to eat anything else I want, probably could. Cheese in the fridge wouldn't make it harder, except the ones I mentioned. (<= this paragraph is just joking around.)

    What's being ignored here is that when people have sufficient motivation, they quit cheese ALL the time. Vegans exist and we managed to do it without checking ourselves into rehab centers. I also know some people who have stopped eating cheese due to various allergy/intolerance issues, they also all managed to do it by deciding "No more cheese for me."

    That most people eat cheese is not evidence that it's the equivalent of Oxycontin, it's just an indicator that for most people it's a tasty, easily obtained, affordable, and satisfying food that they have no real reason to give up.

    When I was teenager I used to be drunk every Friday Saturday and Sunday quit cold turkey, no rehab. I smoked 30 years almost two packs a day... No rehab. Joints? No rehab. So they are not addictive either.
    Being addicted to something it doesn't mean all your D2 receptors are gone. There are levels of dependence and they are different for everyone.

    Dependence is not addiction. Habit is not dependence.

    Not necessarily.

    That's kind of the point of quite a few posts in this thread, actually.

    We might be saying the same thing in different words. In my language there is no addiction, only dependence. We have drug dependent, not addicted.
  • snowflake954snowflake954 Member Posts: 6,180 Member Member Posts: 6,180 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    Yup...and this is why I have a really hard time being on board with food or sugar addiction or whatever...outlandish claims of sugar being equivalent to alcohol and cheese being the same thing as opioids...SMH...

    You should come to NM where we have a massive opioid problem that comes with a massive homelessness problem, prostitution, violent crimes and robbery, theft, etc. I'm pretty sure I've never heard on the news about someone giving out sexual favors for a good block of aged Vermont white cheddar or someone being so desperate for their sugar fix that they're going to hand out BJs for Jolly Ranchers.

    seriously, I have known friends that have been addicted to Opiods and that is not a pretty picture. I don't think anyone is going to be dumpster diving for sugar to fill their "addiction." I always hated the sugar/food addiction argument because it trivializes real addictions like alcohol, opioids, etc...

    One of my good childhood friends has been a heroin addict for the better part of 30 years...he started using in high school. Over the years he has been on and off the wagon...it was always gnarly seeing him come off the heroin and he's had to check himself in more than a few times...but even more sad when he would fall off the wagon after being sober for months.

    In general, he was pretty high function (good career, wife, family, big outdoors kinda guy with hiking and fishing)...but I'm not sure what happened...I haven't seen or heard from him in about 2 years now and nobody seems to know where he is. Last time I was talking to him, he was going through a divorce but seemed ok and had been clean for about a year...after that, he just kinda fell off the map and nobody seems to know where he is. He's no longer employed with the company he worked almost 20 years for...ex-wife has no idea...and he hasn't been in touch with any of the old gang. Pretty sad, and I worry and think about him often.

    It's when you here stories like this, it makes you really wonder about this fixation with food "addiction". I just can't sympathize. It's a mental problem with food--OK. But you have to moderate it. You have to eat to live.
  • J72FITJ72FIT Member Posts: 5,725 Member Member Posts: 5,725 Member
    Many people seem to confuse physical dependance with habits...
    edited January 29
  • MichelleMcKeeRNMichelleMcKeeRN Member, Premium Posts: 284 Member Member, Premium Posts: 284 Member
    I don’t think science 100% has this all figured out but I love reading theories and seeing what various experts and lay people believe.
    I read something once that speculated people who overeat are getting less enjoyment from their food in comparison to normal weight people. They made it sound like overweight people are chasing the dragon. 🐲
  • Slacker16Slacker16 Member Posts: 1,160 Member Member Posts: 1,160 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Slacker16 wrote: »
    My personal opinion on food addiction has been stated multiple times already (no addictive foods, overeating could, in some cases, be likened to a process addiction) so I'll leave that dead horse alone, but about the "no one robs convenience stores for donuts" comment... it's a funny witticism, but that's all it is.

    I mean, it's true, but then again I'll take a wild guess that most of us don't live in societies where food is scarce. Back when food was scarce, the general attitude was a bit different. Ever wonder why gluttony was one of the seven deadly sins (and there were similar taboos in most pre-modern cultures)?

    People still steal food nowadays when they're starving (or even more likely, when their kids are). Scarcity is a different case than the addiction issue, though, unless you count needing food to live as an addiction.
    That's not the point I was making, though.

    People are basically arguing that no one goes to the same lengths to satisfy overeating as they do drug addiction. While that's certainly true, it's also true that there are no such lengths to go to anyway. If you live in the developed - or most of the developing - world, food (by quantity if not quality) is neither hard nor inconvenient to get.

    Back when food was scarcer, people would go to sufficient lengths that a social taboo existed.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    The time-honored gluttony prohibition is more about not taking more than your share, in times of scarcity, I would think. (...)
    Not only, the Old Testament for instance warns against gluttony as leading to poverty (along with drunkenness). There were also injunctions against "luxurious" food.

    Some of that is just old-timey self-mortification fetish, but the bottom line is simply that back then food was the main expense/economic activity for most people...
  • SunnyBunBun79SunnyBunBun79 Member Posts: 1,143 Member Member Posts: 1,143 Member
    I have found myself wanting different tastes at several different times in my life, and I didn't want to eat anything different. First it was sweet things, and then it was spicy things and then it was just a chewy mouth feel. Not sure what it's called, but the Japanese have this term for the 'lonely mouth' ...that the mouth feels lonely so they eat :D it's funny, but I totally understand that term!

    I still struggle with spicy and salty snacks. I cant seem to avoid overeating those. Not sure if that is addiction or just inability to be disciplined about it and practice self control but isnt that what most people struggle with? self control in mind and body?
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