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3 Facts About Food Addiction




As the obesity epidemic continues to grow, more and more physicians are considering treatment. Obesity is recognized as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association, and even binge eating, which can lead to obesity, has been officially classified as an eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

As doctors work to find more effective ways to treat obesity, the underlying causes of weight gain are also being considered. While societal factors and lack of education on exercise and dieting certainly play a role, physicians should also consider even deeper causes of excessive weight in the individual, including food addiction.

Recent studies have begun to show that the pattern of weight loss and regain, combined with the inability to control eating habits, clinically presents like an addiction. The clinical presentation and symptom profile between substance abuse and food addiction is
well documented.

To learn a little more about food addiction, take a look at this infographic and download our free white paper on food addiction by clicking here.


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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Your Biggest Enemy When It Comes to Cravings Could Be… Your Brain



Obesity stigma may lead many of us to believe that giving in to cravings is just a problem with overweight people and that it is solely the result of a lack of willpower and self-control. But the truth is we all experience food cravings that range from mildly annoying to completely distracting. But what makes us crave foods, particularly foods with the most fat and sugar and the least nutrition? Many studies suggest the answer lies in our brain.

Most of us have food cravings. In fact, 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men who participated in a study published in the journal Appetite reported experiencing them. Cravings are motivational states that give us the urge to seek out and consume a particular food.

Some theories suggest that cravings signal areas that are nutritionally deficient in our diets; for instance, if you are deficient in sodium, you may crave salty foods. However, that is not always the full picture. Other theories suggest that cravings for high-fat, high-calorie foods are linked to hard-wired survival mechanisms in our brains because our instinctual hunter-gatherer origins connect this type of energy dense food with our ability to sustain our bodies till the next meal.

Another reason we may crave fatty foods? Opioids. Fatty, sugary foods release chemicals called opioids into our bloodstream. Opioids bind to receptors in our brains and give us feelings of pleasure and even mild euphoria. Similarly, in a 2004 study, participants were asked to think about a favorite food. This triggered various areas in the brain and ultimately the dopamine reward system. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone also produced during sex, compulsive gambling and drug activity. That’s right… you can get high on chocolate.

Psychological factors can also influence the intensity and timing of cravings. Studies on mood have found that our emotional state normally has a greater impact on cravings than hunger. Diet influences our levels of the hormone serotonin, which regulates our disposition. Read more about whether or not you are an emotional eater here.

So what can you do about cravings? Well, first off, be gentle with yourself. Acknowledging that there is a physiological and mental component to why you crave unhealthy foods can be the first step in letting go of the shame that can contribute to overeating and giving in to cravings. Then, you can start to use various tools and tricks to control them, such as our 5 Tips to Control Your Worst Food Cravings.

Interested in learning more about how the brain and hormones influence appetite? Join us for a free webcast, “Brain Systems Underlying the Munchies,” at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Dr. Alfonso Abizaid will discuss the problems associated with dieting, as well as identify hormonal mechanisms associated with the generation of appetite, and how the motivation to eat may change under normal and during stressful situations. Register now!

Sources: Lifehacker, How Stuff Works: Science, Tufts University


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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9 Tips on How to Eat Mindfully for Weight Loss



When it comes to dieting, many people develop an adversarial relationship with food. Dieting often becomes about what you can or can’t eat … with all our favorite (junk and comfort) foods ending up on the chopping block. However, while watching what you eat is certainly important, more experts are pointing to HOW you eat as an important tool toward better eating. It’s called mindful eating, and it’s helping people rethink and shift their relationship to food.

Registered dietitian, Jenni Grover, describes mindful eating as “intuitive eating… a concept with its roots in Buddhist teachings, [which] aims to reconnect us more deeply with the experience of eating — and enjoying — our food.” No, you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk or meditate every day to be a mindful eater. Mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies’ hunger signals, not emotional ones — like eating for comfort. According to a recent article in the New York Times, mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving anything up. Rather, it’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it.

Part of the reasoning behind mindful eating when it comes to health and weight loss is that it combats mindless or unconscious eating. Research shows that mindless eating plays a significant role in weight gain because we do not recognize when we’re actually full, causing overeating. However, when we eat mindfully, not only can we better experience the pleasure of the food we eat, we build more awareness around how much food we need to eat, as well as create opportunities to make healthier choices around food selection.

Thinking about trying it? Consider these 9 tips to start you off in exploring the concept of mindful eating, which are intended to help you slow down and pay attention to your meal:

1. Chew 25 times
2. Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand
3. Eat everything with chopsticks for a week
4. Put your fork down between each bite
5. Take your first bite with your eyes closed
6. Try to identify every ingredient in your meal
7. Put your food on a plate
8. Sit at a table
9. Eat in Silence

For a little more in-depth resource about mindful eating and how it can benefit your weight loss goals, check out this fun Infographic from the Summer Tomato blog, all about the benefits of eating mindfully.


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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