Food Addiction is real, and now there’s proof!
The title of this blog may seem obvious to you, but many in the medical and psychiatric community have doubted if food addiction is real. And now, ample evidence has been provided in a brand new textbook, currently available on Amazon, called Processed Food Addiction: Foundations, Assessment and Recovery written and edited by Joan Ifland, Marianne Marcus, and Harry Preuss, and put out by CRC Press (Dec 2017), the world’s largest textbook publisher.
The first section of the book is devoted to research showing what many of us already know and have experienced first-hand – that addiction to processed food not only exists, but is harmful on so many levels. It is a very difficult addiction to kick, not only because the food tastes so good, but because processed food is everywhere, it is legal, it has been researched and developed to be addictive, is relatively inexpensive, extremely well-advertised, and as the book indicates, we are highly susceptible to food cues. Plus, processed food is strongly linked to obesity.
I know my own addiction to sugar and white flour products created havoc and misery in my life (along with obesity and the accompanying shame and stigma), while I was simply trying to soothe myself from pain and anguish. After reading my story, Joan Ifland asked me to contribute a chapter based on my book, Binge Crazy, and to see how my difficulties matched the 11 criteria for substance use disorder (as laid out in the DSM-5, the reference book used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental illness). Imagine my surprise when I learned that I met all 11 of these conditions!
This textbook provides research and ideas on how to assess food addiction, and the last section suggests ways for food addicts to recover, and how practitioners can help. It is amazing to see how much research exists in support of the food addiction concept – and we owe much gratitude to the thousands of researchers who faithfully published their findings in the fields of obesity, eating disorders and addiction, and whose work has given the book a strong scientific credibility, and more power to the still suffering food addict.
Knowing how to organize food plans, avoid cues, and rewire the brain not to crave are all key components to success. Being kind to ourselves and understanding that food addiction is not our fault are gifts of the book.
Right now, there are only a few reviews on Amazon, most offering praise and one giving a measly single-star, because the Kindle version is so pricey. That made me think about how much money I have spent (and my clients say they have spent) on food binges – amounts which make the Amazon price a drop in the ocean in comparison.
By the way, if anyone – health practitioners especially – tells you that food addiction doesn’t exist, please show these doubters the Amazon listing.
I’ll be writing more on this, after I’ve read the almost 500 pages, to be sure.