“Food Addiction”: A Controversial Concept, But One That Many People Have Found Very Useful
Many people have reported that the concept of food addiction has played a huge role in their successes in improving and regaining their health.
It does remain a controversial topic – not fully accepted by all. However, what-ever the arguments on the technical definition of “addiction”, the practical reality is that this concept has been profoundly useful to many people.
One part of the story is that, as is so often the case with anything to do with food or nutrition, there is much more at stake in the discussion than simply the factual merits of the medical/health question itself. If the existence of food addiction as a medical condition became acknowledged and recognized, there are major financial, regulatory and societal implications and consequences. People with recognized medical conditions require treatment, timely and fair access to treatment, consideration and accommodation, and protection from discriminatory treatment. I have no doubt that these factors play some role in the over-all nature and tone of the debates regarding food addiction.
I do have a concern that sometimes, or even often, the term is too loosely applied. Very often when people have the sense of a driven or erratic appetite, a major part of the problem lies in the physical function of their body, not in psychological factors or in an “addiction” response in their brain.
Emotional factors do have a major role to play. Food addiction is likely a real entity and an accurate term. I have talked with many people, though, who have been convinced that their unwanted eating behaviour was rooted in emotions, when actually it all settled down when they started to eat according to their body’s valid physical needs.
Erratic or driven or binge eating can be simply the natural response of your body to such things as rapid swings in blood sugar or a restrict/rebound eating pattern, among other factors.
However, I do not at all mean that it all comes down to such physiological factors.
I hope you find these resources useful:
1) Dr. Pam Peeke offers many resources via drpeeke.com
Dr. Peeke addresses the David Lynch Foundation Women and Stress Event, April 2012, New York City
Dr. Peeke’s Lecture on Meditation and Food Addiction, University of Maryland School of Medicine, November 2012
2) the work of Dr. Vera Tarman MD of Toronto.
- Her web site : Addictions Unplugged
- An interview on LLVLC with Jimmy Moore on September 3, 2012: the web page (also gives links to other formats for listening to the interview)