Food Addiction and Recreational Eating

Food addiction is often treated as a mental disorder.

I've always thought it was normal, good clean fun. Who doesn't enjoy recreational eating?

My ideas have changed drastically since I've gotten older.

Is it the same as compulsive eating?

Apparently there are degrees of food addiction, just as there are degrees of being overweight.

If you're just carrying around an extra 5 or 10 pounds, that's not too bad - unless you're a young female model.

Then again, an extra 5 or 10 pounds might be a big advantage for some modeling situations.

Or it might be nothing depending on your height and bone structure.

What kinds of foods seem to bring on food addiction?

Would they be mostly desserts, or fried foods?

Some members of my family love to go to buffet-style restaurants. I have to admit, I always enjoyed myself whenever I went along.

There's no doubt, eating with friends and family members is highly enjoyable.

When we were younger it often seemed to be a contest as to who could out eat the others. There was a lot of laughter over who could pile the food higher - or who could carry more plates and dishes on their tray.

It's hard to miss the fact that many customers of the big buffets are substantially overweight. These types of places advertise all you can eat for a set price - so you almost feel compelled to overeat in order to get your money's worth.

Just because you might occasionally pig out at the local buffet doesn't mean you have a food addiction.

But if you're a regular - and you also munch continuously while watching the tube or while involved in other sedentary non-activity, maybe you're in trouble.

Food addiction may not be as simple as lack of will power.

Some foods actually cause addiction.

Chocolate cake is an obvious example of a food which is addictive not only because it tastes great, but because many of the ingredients are addictive for very solid nutritional reasons.

The chocolate in the cake and the frosting has to be loaded with sugar in order to taste delicious.

Just try eating chocolate with no sugar or other sweetener. It might just cause you to give up chocolate.

Many chocolate cakes are made with milk chocolate.

Dairy products bring on a whole wagon full problems. So the chocolate cake made with milk chocolate and washed down with a glass of milk, or accompanied with a scoop or two of ice cream is potentially very addicting.

I was lucky. Eating anything that rich would produce a migraine-like headache within 30 minutes.

That's called forced will power.

I always thought it was the sugar. Turns out it was probably the wheat and the sugar and chocolate together.

Fried chicken has to be right up there with chocolate cake for many people.

If Colonel Sander's main product line had been baked chicken, it's doubtful they would have survived all these decades.

The thick crust made mostly from wheat flour then deep fried is amazingly tasty. On top of the taste, though, are all those addictive carbohydrates from the wheat and fat.

Here's yet another addicting combination: hamburgers. Especially fast food variety with high fat-content hamburger and sesame seed buns. Pickles, onions and tomatoes.

Highly nutritious, right?

Don't we all wish it were so.

There's just no escaping the wheat. A hamburger wouldn't be a hamburger without the bun. It once was touted as the perfect meal, nutritionally.

Ah, the gullibility of the American consumer.

Enter the French fries with lots of salt.

Potatoes don't even taste very good without salt and some form of fat - preferably butter.

All the foods discussed here so far are very enjoyable to eat because of the taste and the texture.

But the addictive nature of these and many other foods - especially high carb foods - comes from reasons other than the fact that food addiction comes from physiological reasons.

When you've been eating foods commonly available from supermarkets, restaurants and fast food joints, food sometimes known as the Standard American Diet - SAD for short - your body is being starved of one or more nutrients absolutely necessary for your health and wellness.

There are a lot of vitamins and trace minerals which fall into that category.

It would require some fairly expensive blood tests or possibly some less expensive hair tests to determine which nutrients are not being supplied by your diet.

Meanwhile, something else is happening while you eat or overeat lots of high-carb goodies - or even if you eat what is sometimes called a balanced diet.

Most foods available in most supermarkets and restaurants are loaded with chemicals to preserve freshness or prevent rotting. Most of those chemicals are toxic.

The FDA says it's okay for us to be consuming small amounts of those preservatives and other chemicals, but unfortunately they accumulate in bones and soft tissue, as well as causing damage to intestinal walls.

So while you're being starved of certain nutrients, you're also being poisoned.

Then of course, there's the problem of wheat.

I can hear many saying - if they've read this far - What's next? Do we now find out that apples are dangerous?

Ooooo - that's another little problem.

The apples themselves would be great - but most commercially grown apples are so loaded with pesticides and chemical fertilizers that they're not really safe to eat.

Organically grown apples are one of the best investments you can make.

But if they should never be baked in pies with wheat crusts.

If you want solid evidence of the dangers of wheat and certain other grains, buy a copy of Dangerous Grains by James Braly, M.D. and Ron Hoggan, M.A.

Or, check out my page on Dangerous Foods.

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