Science News has an article on studies suggesting increasing links in the brain process involved in drug addiction and obesity, also suggesting that some of the treatments for drug abuse may also be of use in overeating.
When Volkow and her colleagues looked at the brains of 10 obese people, the team found a dopamine-receptor deficiency identical to that in drug addicts. Volkow stresses that obesity seems to be a significantly more complex disorder than drug abuse because many unrelated factors, such as glandular problems, lack of exercise, or a genetic predisposition to storing fat, can lead to weight gain. However, the brains of several of the obese volunteers in Volkow’s study seemed to be telling another story: “These people were compulsively driven to eat as if food were their stimulus of choice,” she says.
More information on the neuroscience of obesity is available in an issue of Nature Neuroscience made available online as an open-access publication.
Link to article ‘Food Fix’.
Link to Nature Neuroscience on ‘Feeding regulation and obesity’.
One thought on “Addicted to food?”
I’m not HUGE, but I’m a big guy. My parents and my sibling are bigger even.
I’d like to formally state “DUH” on this one.
People discount cravings and just say we’re weak or making excuses.
Well, of course we are weak and making excuses. We don’t LIKE being fat, but in a way, we do. We “feel” fat, so our bodies sync up to match. If we avoid food, then we feel bad.
Luckily for me, my happy weight is just under some threshold, so I still operate pretty well.
And it’s not just any food, it’s specific foods. Starches are pretty addictive… ie, fries. Rice is kind of different, but bread counts too. I’ve been known to eat TWO WHOLE LOAVES of Macaroni grill, and when I’m eating it, it’s like I’ve never eaten before. Granted, it’s good bread, but no food is THAT good.
It’s definitely emotional. Every chemical interaction in the brain is tied into some sort of feedback loop, with inhibitors and modulators.
Some people, they eat one serving, and they are done.
Me, I eat and it’s so amazingly good that I have to eat more. I can put it away, but I’ll just get it back out. I eat fast, because it is amazing. I’ll eat past the point of hurting, and still “be hungry”.
I don’t even REALLY know what hungry actually is. All I know is that it calls to me. Sometimes it seems to be related to salt (salty meat, salty bread, salty potatos, all are very common cravings). But, I think, if I had it figured out, then I wouldn’t be suceptible to it anymore. I think it’s an emotional issue, and that my emotional mind doesn’t REALLY want it solved, so it isn’t ready to let me completely figure it out yet.