Food Addiction and connection to substance use

What Is Fast-Food Addiction and How Do I Overcome It? – Pt 1 of 2

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Everyone’s bodies respond to foods and chemicals a little differently. Some people are more subject to sugar-highs, some are more prone to alcoholism. Some people are knocked out on half a Benadryl, some people talk through twilight sedation. Believe it or not, fast food addiction falls into the same category.

Have you ever wondered why normal foods aren’t as saying as fast foods and junk food, or why  you crave fast food and miss it if you go too long? These are normal signs of addiction because your body processes sugar in an addictive way.

Fast Food as Sugar Addiction

Wait, you may be thinking. Maybe you only get hamburgers and fries, or you live for chili-dogs. It’s all about how the food processes in your stomach. All carbs process almost instantly into sugar, so refined carbs and refined sugar are basically the same. For your energy and nutrition, a carton of fries is not too far from a chocolate milkshake of the same calorie count. So when we say sugar addiction, this can be with cakes and ice-cream or burgers and french fries.

Sugar addiction is when your body processes sugar more like speed, which it is similar to. You’re more likely to get a rush, to crash, and to get cravings in between. If you get cravings and if you can’t be satisfied with home-cooked or even homestyle restaurant foods, this is an addiction to refined sugars rearing its ugly head.

Fast Food and Eating Disorders

On the other side of the coin is food addiction, a behavioral eating disorder. Eating disorders are a psychological condition that forms in response to high stress relating to control and territory. Most eating disorders come with signature yet personal fixations. Fast food, or food from a specific fast food chain, can become the fixation in a person’s eating disorder.

If you feel like not having the fast food represents a lack of control or cravings take the form of obsessive thoughts, you may have food addiction as an eating disorder. Fast food addiction can be your way of handling a need to control your behaviors through what you eat and even how much you eat.. In this form, fast food addiction can take the form of habitual eating, overeating. or even ordering food and not eating it.

At-Home Tips to Tackle Your Fast Food Addiction

  1. Learn to Make Your Favorites at Home

Some things are just as good at home as they are from the fast-food place. Learn to cook yourself a buttery, eggy English muffin or to swirl candy bits into softened ice-cream. Whatever you crave from a fast-food place, you can very likely make something similarly satisfying at home. This puts the power in your hands, and also separates the act of -going- to the place (or ordering food) from eating the food.

If what you want is buttery eggs whenever you want, you can take control of your access and even start changing the obsessive pattern at home.

  1. Identify Your Triggers

Addiction and cravings always come with triggers – things that make us think or feel the way we sate with fast food. Maybe it’s emotional stress or a bad day at work. Maybe it’s feeling insulted or out of control or impending deadlines. Maybe it’s talking to someone specific, or even based on other physical conditions you might have or go through.

Knowing your triggers gives you the choice to respond. For example, if you know that bad news makes you crave fast food and then hear some bad news, you can choose to deal with this in a deliberately different way that still makes you feel better – like watching a movie or making a fresh smoothie.

Join us for part two where we’ll dive deeper into overcoming your own fast food addiction or helping a loved one rebuild their life around healthy eating.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment In Fresno County

First Steps Recovery is a drug and alcohol addiction rehab center. Sometimes there are correlations between food addiction and substance use disorders. If you have any questions about the connection or are struggling with substance abuse, we can help! Contact us to talk about your challenges or those of someone you love. We look forward to hearing from you. Call us today! 844-489-0836.

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