Makes the food addicting

The human brain, which is apparently particularly susceptible to addiction-like behavior, is also particularly problematic. Because its reward center releases feel-good hormones when we eat something, such as dopamine. After all, people should have fun surviving, which is why the brain rewards people for eating.

In the past, this made a lot of sense, as getting food could be quite time consuming. You either had to wander for miles through the landscape and pick berries, collect edible greenery and dig up roots with digging sticks or - in the dead of winter - ambush game for hours, chase it through deep snow and, last but not least, fight with predators for the animal that had finally been slain.

So that people get up to all this hardship and not just sit by a cozy fire in their cave, the reward center was "invented". As soon as a person has managed to steal something edible, he is rewarded. So he goes out regularly to collect or hunt. Because the feeling when you eat afterwards is just too nice.

Sugar, salt, fat, aromas and flavor enhancers are particularly problematic

Today, however, the reward center in connection with food intake would no longer be necessary. We also know that we should go to work regularly in order to have enough money to buy groceries. And we know that we should eat regularly to survive.

It used to be that it was naturally good to eat something high in calories, e.g. B. preyed on high-fat meat, as this increased the chances of survival. Carbohydrates and sugar were also rare in the past. But both provide quick energy and were therefore very helpful in prehistoric times. So the brain rewards particularly profusely when we eat foods rich in fat and sugar.

The feel-good hormones feel so great that the body wants to experience this feeling over and over again. So there are cravings up to cravings and binge eating. The evil takes its course.

Sugar, salt, fat, aromas and flavor enhancers are particularly problematic

Today there are full pantries and supermarkets on every corner. Hardly anyone has to make an effort to get something to eat, not even to track down fatty and sugary foods. Unfortunately, industrially manufactured finished products contain not only fat and sugar, but also aromas and flavor enhancers that heat up the limitless food even more. (8, 9, 10)

There is food addiction - and with it overweight and all chronic diseases that can be traced back to overweight and obesity. (11, 12)

In the case of food addiction: seek help!

Binge eating and eating behaviors like any addiction, like any addiction and compulsive behavior, can cause serious problems. In addition to being overweight and the corresponding secondary diseases, other problems can arise, such as feelings of guilt, withdrawal from social life, escape into isolation, loneliness, depression, listlessness, etc.

Binge eating occurs when you can no longer control your food intake and the choice and amount of foods you eat. So if you can no longer decide for yourself from today not to eat this or that, but instead something else, something healthy.

Test whether you can implement our tips for overcoming sugar addiction: How to overcome sugar addiction

If you cannot do it on your own, contact the appropriate advice centers and get help from outside.


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  2. Gearhardt AN et al., Binge eating disorder and food addiction, Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2011 Sep; 4 (3): 201-7
  3. Davis C et al., Evidence that 'food addiction' is a valid phenotype of obesity, Appetite. 2011 Dec; 57 (3): 711-7. doi: 10.1016 / j.appet.2011.08.017. Epub 2011 Sep 3
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  11. Hebebrand J et al., "Eating addiction", rather than "food addiction", better captures addictive-like eating behavior, Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Nov; 47: 295-306. doi: 10.1016 / j.neubiorev.2014.08.016. Epub 2014 Sep 6
  12. Laurent JS, Sibold J., Addictive-Like Eating, Body Mass Index, and Psychological Correlates in a Community Sample of Preadolescents, J Pediatr Health Care. 2016 May-Jun; 30 (3): 216-23. doi: 10.1016 / j.pedhc.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Aug 7
  13. AB, The 18 Most Addictive Foods (and the 17 Least Addictive), December 2019, Healthline

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