Food is one of our basic needs – we really can’t do without it. Food may also be a source of pleasure, no one can argue with that. But did you know it’s actually possible to be addicted to food? When it’s not just one of necessities, but stands front and center? Food addiction is a real thing, like alcoholism and gambling, and it works pretty much the same. There’s this activity (in this case, eating) which can hurt you if you overdo it, and you know how bad it can be for your well-being, but you just can’t stop. That’s food addiction.
In the long run, uncontrolled excessive eating can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even certain types of cancer. This is why it’s important to recognize the problem and get it under control before it causes irreversible harm to your health.
7 signs of food addiction
The following signs are commonly seen in food addicts:
1. They keep eating even when they are full.
Ideally, you’re supposed to have your normal meal, your brain and stomach should agree that you’re full, and you should stop eating. In food addicts, it doesn’t work this way. They may know they’ve had enough, but they’ll continue eating to the point of discomfort.
2. They will go to great lengths to get their favorite foods.
Sure, everyone has certain food preferences and may indulge themselves from time to time. But food addicts have a fixation on certain foods (such as junk food or candy) and eat them anytime they feel the urge to do so.
3. They go on food binges when no one is watching.
Food addicts usually realize their behavior is not normal, and they may feel guilty, ashamed, and afraid of being judged. That’s why they often eat in secrecy – say, in places where no one knows them, or at night when everyone else in the house is asleep.
4. They’ve tried to stop but couldn’t.
Food addicts usually know what excessive eating is doing to them, and they try to muster self-control and stop. This self-restraint may work temporarily, but then they snap and give in to cravings again.
5. They need more and more food to get the kick out of it.
It’s something that can be described as “food tolerance.” The more food addicts eat, the more food they need to get the same pleasure.
6. They feel sad and/or nervous when the food they crave is unavailable.
Much like other things people can be addicted to, food can bring intense pleasure. If you’re addicted to it, you’ll feel anxious and depressed when you can’t get your hands on the foods you crave.
7. They get physical symptoms caused by overeating.
Eating more food than you need on a regular basis can bring on a whole host of undesired consequences, especially if you fill up on unhealthy foods. Overeating can lead to significant weight gain, heart problems, low mood, and even impaired cognitive abilities. Most food addicts know their eating habits are harming them, but are just unable to stop.
If you think you or someone you know may have food addiction, don’t hesitate to get help. Therapists who have experience with food addiction and qualified nutritionists can help overcome food addiction and get back to normal eating habits.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.