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Junk Food May Be As Addictive As Drugs

I’ve been reading some research lately comparing junk food addiction to that of drug addiction and I’m blown away that this doesn’t get more coverage.

Scientists are discovering that eating processed and refined foods can create a similar chemical response in the brain to that of drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Are you kidding me? Doesn’t anybody else see the shock value in that last statement? I mean I think nobody is really all that surprised that junk food can be addicting, no big news there…

But we’re putting junk food in the same sentence as some very dangerous drugs. That alone should be alarming. Now of course nobody is saying that eating Crispy Cream is on par with doing heroin, but this addiction thing is pretty eye opening.

Some excerpts from the research I was reading through on junk food being as addictive as drugs.

For Cari Banks, one of the hardest things to say no to is food. “I could eat half a pack of Oreos and milk and consider it nothing,” she said. “I would eat it, pretty much without thinking.”

But new research shows Banks’ sweet tooth could actually be more like substance abuse.
Dr. Joe McClernon at Duke University studies the brains of people who are addicted to drugs, such as the nicotine in cigarettes. He says that for many obese people, junk food can trigger the same response in the brain.

“You can see activation when smokers are looking at pictures of people smoking, and the same thing when overweight individuals look at food cues,” said McClernon, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and director of the Health Behavior Neuroscience Research Program.

junkfoodcues

(Yes, we’ve got work to do if this picture made you crave Ghiradelli chocolate!)

“We see activation in areas involved in visual attention. “We also see activation in both cases in a region called the striatum,” McClernon added. “It’s the part of your brain that tells you whether something is something you want to go after, or if it’s something you want to avoid. But it’s also the part of the brain that’s involved in learning habits.”

A new study by researchers at the ScrippsResearch Institute in Florida found similar results in rats. Pleasure centers in the brains of those fed high-fat, high-calorie food became less responsive over time — a signal that the rats were becoming addicted. The rats started to eat more and more.

They even went for the junk food when they had to endure an electric shock to get it.

“Your brain reacts almost identically to [that of] a cocaine addict looking at cocaine,” said Dr. Louis J. Aronne, a clinical professor at Weill Cornell Medical School and former president of The Obesity Society. “

And the interesting thing is that someone who is obese has even more similarity to the cocaine addict. In many ways, they can be addicted to junk food.”

Reference Article

Another strike against the theory that all you need is “willpower” and discipline.

Like I talked about in my blog post last week “What Will Be Your Turning Point?”, this whole idea is upside down and backwards.

You’ll find that willpower and discipline simply won’t work very well when you’re dealing with faulty thoughts at the subconscious level and physiological addiction to boot.

homer_doughnut

Not only do we have strong chemical signals being released by the brain that make the sugary foods addictive but you add insulin resistance problems in the mix and you’ve got a recipe for feeling like you’re stuck on a viscous “sugar wheel” that you can’t get off of.

So what’s the solution to the addiction?

You’ll hear all kind of advice on this and most of it is pretty weak and ineffective. Why? Because very few people want to tell you like it is.

Look I’d love to tell you that you should just cut back and focus on “moderation” with your favorite junk foods but then I’d be doing you a huge disservice.

The word moderation doesn’t apply when you’re dealing with hormonal imbalances like insulin resistance and sugar addiction issues.

Can you imagine going to an AA meeting and hearing the group leader say, “Ok, everyone we’re going to cut down to just one drink after dinner?”

That would be ridiculous. Why? Because these individuals are addicted to alcohol and there’s no such thing as just having “one drink.”

If sugar can be as addictive as drugs and alcohol why in the world would anyone think “cutting back” would be a good strategy?

Reality check….it’s not!

You need to draw the line in the sand and sell out on removing sugar from your diet if you want to solve the hormonal imbalance problem and gain liberation. The pathway to moderation must first go through the pathway of correction.

I’ve developed a diet routine to help you do exactly this in ONLY 30 days. It’s part of my “Lean Code Method” diet series that I’ve developed to deal with each individual’s unique bioindividuality (genetics, body type, hormonal imbalances, etc).

The “Rapid Fat Loss Diet” is currently going through “real world” testing and trial with personal training clients at Shaping Concepts. And I’ve got to tell you there have been some pretty impressive results that have been reported by the clients first to go through the program.

I’m putting the finishing touches on this program to be released next week in e-book format with exact step by step instructions. Be looking for more regarding some “pre-launch” specials I’ll be announcing soon.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the foundation foods used in this diet I’d encourage you to download my FREE e-book, “The Lean Code Method Quick Start Nutrition Guide.”

Easily a $39.00 value, this e-book is packed full of specific food recommendations for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, along with in-depth nutrition information simplified down for everyone to understand.

Download it now while it’s still available for FREE from my website, which won’t be for much longer.

Big Picture On Today’s Subject

At the end of the day it’s important you recognize sugar for what it can do not ONLY to your body but to your mind from an addiction standpoint as well.

And when I say sugar, I’m not just talking about candy bars, cake, pies, etc. All carbohydrates get broken down to simple sugar (glucose) for use as energy in your body, or to be stored as future energy.

If your diet consists of fibrous vegetables and a small amount of fruit as your carbohydrates chances are you’ll have zero problems with sugar.

However, you don’t have to be a “junk food fanatic” either to have issues with sugar and insulin sensitivity. You could have moved from white bread to whole grain bread for example and STILL have a sugar problem, reflecting itself in your inability to lose weight.

If you’re frustrated right now with your inability to lose weight, don’t look at trying to compare how you’re eating with your co-worker who downs fast food every day. This is a common stumbling block for a lot of people.

Look, I could give you a blue ribbon for doing “better” with your diet but at the end of the day if you’re not seeing results in the mirror you won’t give a hoot.

Don’t get caught in the trap of staying stuck in a rut by telling yourself how good you’ve done by exchanging Coco Puffs with Kashi cereal for example.

If that’s not working maybe you need to consider giving up cereal period. Grains is grains is grains people (I know nice English, but that’s what came out to make my point).

Maybe it’s time you declare an all out war on sugar as it’s the real enemy. It’s a formidable foe so I don’t suggest you play around with it.

And certainly don’t let yourself get “sweet talked” (I know that was bad, I’m on a roll) by its deceptive brothers like Sucralose, Splenda, Stevia, etc.

Fix the problem, get liberation first…then ask me about whether you can have Stevia with your 3.5 cups of coffee and tea a day.

No matter what though…don’t EVER give up on your battle to beat sugar into submission. Leave me a comment if you need some encouragement or advice. I’m here to help in any way I can.

Be blessed, talk to you soon friends- Shane

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Nutrition.