Food Addiction Can Become Similar to Drug Addiction

Measuring tapeDo you ever feel like the more you eat, the more you want to eat?  There are several complex mechanisms that do indeed create this viscious cycle. 

One factor was recently studied by researchers from the Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York’s Long Island. In their recent study, the brain activity of hardcore drug and alcohol addicts was similar to obese participants who were ”addicted” to food.  The researchers conducted several brain imaging studies of obese patients using PET-CT scans.  Very close similarities were found in brain activity between patients addicted to cocaine or alcohol, and those who were obese and ”addicted” to eating.  

In other experiments, the researchers also found a higher body mass index (BMI) was linked with lower prefrontal cortex function — the area of the brain that regulates inhibitory control. In other words, those who were more obese had less impulse control. 

So the more we overeat, the less we’ll be able to control our desire to overeat, or possibly control other impulsive negative behaviors as well. Not a pleasant thought.

The studies also revealed that a higher BMI was linked to a decrease in memory and executive functioning.

These are all very good motivating factors to curb any overeating now, before it’s too late.  And if it is too late, you might want to consider getting some professional help, as overeating is a very serious problem. 

Whether or not you have an eating problem, a program of regular exercise is an excellent way to live a happier, healthier and longer life. Regular exercise will fight the fat, boost your energy, improve your mood and self esteem, increase immune function, fight cancer, ward off viruses, improve the quality of your sleep, strengthen your muscles and your heart, lower high blood pressure, improve arthritis and many other common conditions.  

Read more about getting started on an exercise program.

Source: “Doctor’s Orders: Brain’s Wiring Makes Change Hard”, MedPage Today/ABC News, February 2010

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