Originally published October 14 2010
Food Addictions Come with the Standard American Diet
by Cindy Jones-Shoeman
(NaturalNews) No, people don't think of food addiction like they do other addictions. For example, people don't go to a dark alley with a wad of cash to score a chocolate chip cookie, and people don't go to a rehab clinic so they get help kicking their caffeine addiction. While there are no food rehab clinics and there are no illegal foods that are bought and sold on the black market, food addiction is very real. Unfortunately, food addictions are inevitable if one is following the Standard American Diet.
Just a little research on the topic will lead readers to discover that withdrawal from food addictions can result in many of the same symptoms drug addicts suffer when they withdraw, suffering from symptoms like headaches, sweating, chills, and depression, among others.
Foods that People Might Find Themselves Addicted To
Caffeine: Most people have heard and know that caffeine can be addictive. Caffeine is a mild stimulant that can be found in a variety of foods, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and - of course - soft drinks with added caffeine. While there is still much debate as to whether caffeine is good or bad, many people would agree that any substance that causes addiction is not good.
Sugar: Few people would argue today that sugar is a good additive to have in food. Not only is sugar highly addictive, but it also has been proven to be bad for one's health. Sugar, in its many forms, can lead to many diseases, the most well-known being Type 2 Diabetes.
Salt: Salt is added abundantly to many processed foods and so it is easy to become addicting. Most Americans eat far more salt than is necessary and, like other foods, they can become addicted to it, craving more and more as time goes on.
Fat: One now-famous study published in Nature Neuroscience in March 2010 demonstrated that rats who became addicted to high-fat foods experienced withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by drug users, and they found it difficult to quit the fat. Fatty foods can be addictive to people as well.
Casein: Casein is a protein found in cow's milk and consequently cheese and other dairy products. Casein, according to Dr. Neil D. Barnard, breaks down during digestion into casomorphins, which are opiates that work just like any other opiate. They make the eater feel good during and after eating, create cravings, and cause withdrawal when the eater gives them up. Barnard states that casein is more concentrated in cheese than in milk.
So how does a person avoid becoming a food addict? Barnard, like other experts, recommends a low-fat vegan diet, which avoids many of these addictive foods; avoiding processed foods, which are known for being heavily-laden with salt, sugar, and fat, will also help people avoid the worst of these foods. People don't want to be slaves to their food; food should nourish, satisfy, and fuel a body, not make it go through withdrawal symptoms when people can't get their lunch fix right away.
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About the authorCindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101.
Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.
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