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Although malnutrition is considered to be one of the most challenging problems of humanity, one should keep in mind that its contrary – food addiction leading to obesity – is not simply overeating but rather a serious issue. A food addict is a person who tends to overconsume specific foods, especially junk food, in an addiction-like manner. Although food addiction is usually thought to be the result of insufficient willpower, it may be caused by neuroscientific processes in the human brain as well. To overcome food addiction, you should understand the cause of the problem and develop a plan of action to fight it.
The first thing to start with when tackling food addiction is, to be honest with yourself about its cause. Contemporary scientists and doctors argue that there are certain foods that cause addiction. Such a perspective is supported by a significant amount of neuroscience research, “demonstrating that the chronic consumption of energy-dense foods causes changes in the brain’s reward pathway” (Carter et al. 105).
If the problem is mainly a result of consuming foods that trigger neuroscientific processes as those of drug addicts, the wisest decision will be to cut on those products. Sweets, high-fat fried or other junk foods, and sugary soda are among the most problematic ones and are better to be avoided in large quantities. Food addiction is a common cause of obesity and diabetes; excessive weight, in turn, may affect a person’s self-esteem and social relationships. Scientists argue that “recognition of the neurobiological and cognitive changes driving addictive consumption of hyperpalatable foods will produce more effective treatment” (Carter et al. 106).
However, although taking into consideration neuroscientific processes as a cause for food addiction may be useful to develop a treatment, other factors resulting in addiction are to be taken into account as well.
If the reason for food addiction is an inner one, try to identify its roots and analyze social or personal pressures that lead to overeating. Food addicts often fail to neglect social relationships, lack occupational realization; they tend to hide the amount of consumed unhealthy food from others and eat to the point of feeling excessively full. Quite often, a reason for food addiction is difficult to detect, so it is advised to seek assistance from a psychologist.
Once the cause is identified, the next step may be to develop a plan of action – daily, weekly, or monthly. It may consist of goals and ways of achieving them; an organized schedule facilitates the process of lowering food addiction. Eating healthy food such as fruits and vegetables and spending free time actively may greatly facilitate overcoming food addiction. One way to enhance cutting on some foods may be downloading a mobile phone app to control food intake and track physical activity. The app spurs motivation and makes a person ask oneself if the satisfaction from eating some foods worth the consequences of excessive weight.
To sum up, as people all over the world are gaining access to an increasing amount of food, food addiction has become a significant problem in today’s society. Their most common reason is either a lack of willpower or neuroscientific processes such as a dopamine signal affecting human brain biochemistry. Consequently, the food addiction problem is rarely resolved on its own, and overcoming it involves cutting on foods that trigger dopamine brain response, increased physical activity, and eating healthy products.
Carter, Adrian, et al. “The Neurobiology of “Food Addiction” and Its Implications for Obesity Treatment and Policy.” Annual Review of Nutrition, vol. 36, no. 1, 2016, pp. 105–128. Web.