• Emma Green

Why food addiction is not a thing

The word 'addiction' gets thrown around a lot. Sometimes in a very casual way (eg 'I'm addicted to chocolate cake') and sometimes in a more intentional way (I'm addicted to sugar). Regardless, food addiction is NOT a thing. Here's why:⠀ 1. You're a human not a rat: Anyone who proposes to have scientific evidence for food addiction will more than likely point you towards studies of rats. The problem is that rats are not a great model for humans, they differ substantially psychologically and physiologically. Findings from rat studies on food addiction have not been successfully replicated in humans. 2. You're supposed to find food rewarding: Food is supposed to be highly enjoyable otherwise we would not survive! People suggesting that food addiction exists will often cite the brain's release of the dopamine as evidence. In fact, this is a completely natural and functional response. Dopamine is actually thought to have played a key part in human evolution. 3. You don't get a withdrawal effect: Unlike drugs, when you reduce intake of a particular food (consciously or unconsciously) you naturally are less bothered about it after a while. You don't get a withdrawal effect. There is no scientific evidence of withdrawal in humans and very little even in rat studies. Your body doesn't treat food like a drug. .⠀ It's easy for people to sound credible now by citing a few studies, throwing around scientific words and repeating content they've heard from an 'expert.' In the age of information overload, it is so important to remain skeptical. Like the Carl Sagan quote: 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.'

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