By Sally Jones
Weighing in on Food Addiction A study published in the British Medical Journal this week, warns that obese children could be at 30 to 40 per cent higher risk of stroke and heart disease than normal-weight children if the obesity continues. In the study, obese kids as young as five-years-old were already showing risk factors for stroke and heart disease -- risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
"Weight and especially obesity has a significant effect on the risk parameters for cardiovascular disease," the study authors say.
This is sad. But is it even news to us? It seems like every other day we hear of some new study saying, basically, that obesity is worse than we had thought and that rates are rising.
We health writers have been writing the same standard advice year after year -- "eat less, exercise more". And still, obesity rates continue to increase, to the point where now one in three adults in the U.S. is overweight or obese compared to 20% a few decades ago.
Can we conclude that our standard advice is simply just not helpful?
If "eat less, exercise more" were the answer, we'd all be getting thinner, not fatter. So, what gives?
In her book The Hunger Fix, doctor Pam Peeke makes the case for food addiction being the underlying cause of obesity in our country. I don't think it will come as a shock to us food science nerds that sugar -- especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup (25x as sweet as sugar) and especially when layered in dishes with high fat and high salt content (i.e.: the so-called highly palatable "junk" foods) lights up the dopamine centers of the brains of some folks like crack does a cocaine addict.
But even if you are certain that you, yourself, personally, are in the grip of food addiction, what can you do about it? And furthermore, how can one help a family member?
This book offers a course of action to break the food-addiction cycle.
What's new and notable:
* Ingesting highly sugared or highly palatable foods every day over a number of years turns off/on switches in our genes, leading to alterations in cellular structure
* Those genetic changes can be passed on to offspring in the womb (thought-provoking reading for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive)
* The effects can be reversed
The book offers a food-addiction assessment survey (quiz) to help determine if you may be addicted to food, as well as a food-fix detox plan for recovery that includes an eating plan (with recipes), stress reduction tips, and even advice on how to get a better night's sleep.
Even if you pass the food addiction quiz with flying colors, there are plenty of tips in the book for anyone wishing to get a grip on their eating, establish better habits, and maybe even lose a few pounds.