Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dieting as an Addiction

The article, "Researchers show dieters can experience neurobiological similarities of drug addicts", is not new to me. (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-11/bumc-brs110909.php#). I read a similar study recently...in fact, I might have blogged about it before.
The last sentence probably sums up the findings: "The stress experienced by frequent dieters in abstinence from palatable food has neurobiological similarities to the negative emotional state of drug and alcohol addicts."
Yes! Is there a dieter among us who has not felt the "stress" associated with giving up palatable foods? Favorite foods? The anticipatory stress that we feel when we decide it's time to cut back or cut out completely something we love to eat because we believe that food is contributing in a negative way to our body? I mean, isn't that one of the reasons we have to wait until Monday to start a diet?
And isn't there longing? Craving? A feeling of extreme deprivation? Regardless of how inclusive the diet is (like Weight Watchers, which allows all foods), there's always a feeling of loss, a sadness, a hunger--both physical and emotional.
From the article: "Forms of obesity and eating disorders can be defined as chronic relapsing conditions with alternating periods of abstinence....and relapse...that continue despite negative consequences." This is the definition of a dependence disorder--whether it be alcohol, drugs or in this case DIETING.
A dependence on dieting. Relapsing by gaining weight back. And dieting again. Even though dieting is only a short term fix. And there are negative consequences to dieting (as well as to obesity). The negative consequences of dietiting, again both physical and emotional, are rarely discussed. The goal is always to lose weight--almost at any cost.
Food for thought.

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