All of us at times feel like we overindulge on sweets. Whether we like ice cream, cake, chocolate, or just seem to crave fruit or juice, sweets and sugar are all around us. Even if you don’t consider yourself to have a sweet tooth, most likely you know that it can be hard at times to say no to desserts. While many of us feel like we are addicted to sweets, we have no idea just how controlling these foods can be to someone with a real food addiction.
Researchers at the Oregon Research Institute have recently looked into the effects of sweet foods on the human brain. The subjects of the study were teenagers who were given milkshakes, and then monitored to see the impact it had on their brains through MRI scans. Those who ate the most ice cream began to need more ice cream to experience the same amount of pleasure, much like a drug addict needs more of their substance to feel the same effects. Because of this, these researchers concluded that ice cream has “addictive properties”.
Addictive Properties of Foods
While ice cream may be one of those foods that we always seem to want more of, this does not necessarily mean that ice cream or sweets are going to take over our lives the way alcohol or drugs control addicts. Humans do often struggle with overindulgence, especially when what we consume makes us feel good or feel satisfied. That is why many Americans struggle with trying to avoid fried foods, sweet foods, and unhealthy foods. We use food as a reward, as a pick-me-up, and as a sympathizer, and the majority of people in our society eat foods they shouldn’t and eat more than they should, simply because some foods do have addictive properties. Most people, though, with a little hard work and discipline, are able to overcome the urge to eat sweets or unhealthy foods when necessary, or before they negatively impact their health.
However, there is such a thing as eating addiction, and many people do suffer with food taking over their lives. Sweet foods are particularly problematic for these addicts, as well as greasy, fried foods, because of their addictive properties. Individuals with an eating addiction find themselves as controlled by eating as a heroin addict is tied to their drug. For those with a true eating addiction, professional help may be necessary. These individuals need to learn how to manage stress and be happy without turning to food to cope, and how to consume healthy food in healthy quantities.
Most of us could say that we could do a better job of eating healthy foods. For someone with an eating disorder, the struggle to control what they eat has become an impossible one, and one that they need help to overcome.