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Old 01-15-2005, 06:46 AM   #1
Barry Cooper
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The following thought occurred to me yesterday: if food is a drug, as Barry Sears (to my mind, convincingly) argues, then is obesity a symptom of drug abuse? I'm half serious, half joking.

On the serious part, could there be an addictive element in hyperinsulinemia? It is, I believe, a known fact that fat and simple carbs in combination reduce cortisol levels, at least temporarily. Could they also in tandem create some sort of biochemical product not much different in kind from nicotine, caffeine, or even heroin addiction?

A lot of the research going on to combat the "obesity epidemic" seems to center around isolating the compounds creating the subjective sense of satiety. But if a biochemical "buzz" is the root issue, could obesity not perhaps be better treated as a literal addiction?

Food for thought.
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Old 01-15-2005, 06:48 AM   #2
Barry Cooper
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My computer seems to have remembered a different title. I meant to title this "Food as Drug."

Darn macros.
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Old 01-15-2005, 09:46 AM   #3
Lynne Pitts
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Hey Barry,
Fixed ya right up.
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Old 01-15-2005, 10:23 AM   #4
Paul Theodorescu
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I think it's pretty certain that obesity can be the result of food addiction. Many pleasurable actions can be addicting.

I know when I eat something full of sugar I suddenly become extremely hungry.
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Old 01-15-2005, 12:39 PM   #5
Scott Kustes
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I had that exact problem over xmas break. There were always Reese cups and such around my fiancee's house. I was fine until I ate one, then at least 6 would disappear. Her mom sent me back with 5 bags of candy and I tossed them all (except the Hershey's Special Darks...weakness) because I KNEW that I would eat it all over the course of a couple weeks.

We know that some foods, mainly sweets, have a stress reducing, comforting sensation. Remember the commercial about a woman getting 3 pints of ice cream and the clerk is like "Broke up with another one huh"? Many people do use food as a drug...rather than taking a hit, they take a bite. In a way, food is treated like an addiction...you abstain from it and if you're a real addict, you get withdrawal pains (such as headaches and sleepiness for major sugar addicts) and eventually you come out just fine...unless you slip off the wagon.
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Old 01-15-2005, 05:00 PM   #6
Andrew Brown
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Interesting that on this thread you talked about dark chocolate as a weakness- it, specifically is proven to have high levels of a chemical that mimics the effect of THC (active ingredient in marijuana). The link below is a pretty cool BBC explainer on the addictive nature of chocolate.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopi...dictive2.shtml

The same link shows some health benefit to dark chocolate, specifically fighting tooth decay and HDL levels.
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Old 01-15-2005, 06:30 PM   #7
Barry Cooper
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Thanks, Lynn!!
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Old 01-15-2005, 06:48 PM   #8
Larry Cook
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Would anyone go so far as to suggest that food companies know how to manage the addictiveness of food, similar to what the tobacco companies have done with cigarettes, in order to create a steady and growing demand for their junk products?
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Old 01-15-2005, 07:03 PM   #9
Barry Cooper
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Not me. I think it's simple supply and demand. People buy what they want to eat.
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Old 01-15-2005, 08:27 PM   #10
Larry Cook
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But if a biochemical "buzz" is the root issue, could obesity not perhaps be better treated as a literal addiction?


I realize you were just kind of throwing this out, but if this were to be accurate then it could be manipulated. If there is truly an addictive property involved, I am not sure it is a simple supply/demand issue.

Also just throwing this out.
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