The definition of food addiction is simple. Some people are addicted to food in the exact same way people are addicted to drugs or alcohol. It activates the exact same parts of the brain, the same neurotransmitters and triggers about the same symptoms.
Losing weight, following certain diets is almost impossible for addicted people, because they cannot control their urges, exactly like a drug addict. Being a relatively new term and also controversial, it will take some time for the society to accept it as a disorder and place it right next to bulimia or binge eating.
The processed food, or junk food as we all call it, but most of us eat it anyway, has a secret love relationship with your brain, tickling it’s Nucleus Accumbens (the reward center) with regular doses of dopamine (the drug of happiness and wellbeing). Also sugar and wheat products tend to join this love relationship, making you lose the war with your own brain. Dopamine hijacks the brain control, sending fake signals you often think is lack of willpower when you try to hold back on some “good stuff”. The problem is, as many addictions, as the time passes, you always need to increase your dose to get the same amount of pleasure. Receptors flooded with dopamine time and time again actually go blunt, being overwhelmed. This means the dopamine goes thru few receptors, but needs to deliver the same amount of pleasure, so the level of dopamine has to go up (you got it, more junk food). It’s called tolerance.
You don’t choose to be like that, you are actually born obese. Obese people actually have a slight change in their neurotransmitters that makes them more likely to eat more. It’s not necessarily a rule that all people who are born with slightly different neurotransmitters will become obese, but most of the obese are born with that one. Again, this is slightly new data, maybe 8-9 years old, we are still working on it.
So the thing is, you can’t stop craving, but with some really hard work, you can stop eating. It will be hard and it will stay hard as long as you hold back on the food you like, but it’s what drug, alcohol and nicotine addicts do too. The only difference is that they overcome it in time, you will always be an addict in your brain, but you decided to successfully give up the food to live longer and healthier.
This article does not contain tips for food addicts, unfortunately there are few tips you can get. I wish we invented a drug that fixes that one, but you are on your own. It’s not you, it’s the neurotransmitters.