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Are you addicted to food? A University of Wisconsin researcher says it's possible.

Is an addiction to diet soda making you fat? University of Wisconsin research says it may be so.
Is an addiction to diet soda making you fat? University of Wisconsin research says it may be so.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

June 16, 2010 - Yesterday's New York Daily News broaches the idea that overweight people may be addicted to food. In their article "Why isn't anyone addicted to broccoli? Foods that trigger addiction,"
columnists Dr. Dave Moore and Bill Manville cite an unnamed University of Wisconsin researcher's statement to the Obesity Policy Report. "Addiction is kind of a vague term, and we obviously can't say that we've proven that you can become addicted to food," they quote.

Manville says there are three main food groups that may cause addiction in people: refined carbohydrates and sugars, saturated fats and foods that taste sweet (even if they're not - like diet soda). Similar to what happens to alcoholics or drug addicts, these food trigger receptor sites in the brain and create an addiction spiral for food addicts. While not everyone who is a food addict is overweight, odds are when you're ingesting more than your fair share of sugar, carbs and fat, you're carrying a few extra pounds and at the very least are not healthy.

The columnists suggest tracking your food intake and identifying the emotions involved as well as feelings of (or lack of) control you may have while eating certain types of food. Do you binge? Do you feel guilty or remorseful? If so, certain foods may need to be eliminated from your diet.

Moore and Manville suggest those struggling with food addiction talk to their physician or even an addiction counselor. Meeting with a group like Overeaters Anonymous may also help.

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