Food addiction is a common problem in Western society.
It involves binge eating behavior, cravings and a lack of control around foods (1).
There are at least 8 symptoms that are typical for food addicts. We decided to run a survey among our readers and ask about each of them.
An email went out to a total of 17,094 individuals and 875 of them answered.
Here are each of the 8 common signs and symptoms of food addiction.
It is not uncommon to get cravings, even after eating a fulfilling, nutritious meal.
For example, after just downing a nice meal with steak, potatoes and veggies, you may find yourself craving some ice cream for dessert.
You see, cravings and hunger aren’t the same thing.
You don’t actually feel “hungry” because you just finished a healthy and nutritious meal, but yet there is an urge somewhere in your brain to eat something else.
This is pretty common and doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a problem. Most people get cravings.
However, if this happens often and you have real problems controlling yourself, then it may be an indicator of something else going on (2).
This craving is not about your need for energy or nutrients — it is your brain calling for something that releases dopamine in the reward system of the brain (3).
Summary Cravings are obviously very common. Fewer than 13% of participants rarely or never experienced this.
What harm is there in having a small slice of chocolate cake? A little bit ain’t gonna kill you. Everything is good in moderation, right?
These are two remarks that people get to hear quite often when refusing an offering of unhealthy food for one reason or another.
Both of them are valid. One slice isn’t going to do much harm and if you can eat cake in moderation then it’s probably alright.
But for some people, there is no such thing as a bite of chocolate or a single piece of cake. One bite turns into 20 and one slice of cake turns into half a cake.
This is an “all or nothing” phenomenon that is common with addicts of all sorts. There is no such thing as “moderation” — it simply does not work (4).
Telling a food addict to eat junk food in moderation is almost like telling an alcoholic to drink beer in moderation. It’s just not possible.