Are You Addicted to Food? Learn How to Overcome Cravings and Establish Healthy Eating

food cravings

Do you suffer from seemingly out-of-control food cravings? Achieving healthy weight goals goes hand-in-hand with your relationship with food. Do you use food as fuel or as a coping mechanism? If you said the latter, you are not alone. Many struggle with how they use food. Abusing food can lead to a mountain of problems including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Learn how functional medicine can reveal why you are craving what you are (usually a sign of a deficiency somewhere) and how we can help you transform how you feel about food.

Where Do Cravings Come From?

“Some experts believe food cravings last only about 3-5 minutes,” reported Medical News Daily. According to research in the U.S. News and World Report, there are three main reasons that you will experience food cravings: 1) Simple conditioning; 2) A Physiological Craving; and 3) An Addiction. Let’s explore each of these areas in a little more detail.

When it comes to food cravings, your brain is largely to blame. Cravings, that almost undeniable urge to eat a certain something are triggered by regions of the brain devoted to reward, memory and pleasure.

You can condition your body by training your brain to receive a certain stimuli and receive a certain (food-related) result. Overtime, your body anticipates certain results from the conditioning process you inadvertently created.

Emotional eating or “comfort foods” are often part of this category of conditioning. You feel sad so you have certain foods that bring you “comfort” which you have conditioned your body into feeling like they need in a given situation.

Physiological cravings are often triggered by a nutritional deficiency. The body craves the vitamins and minerals it lacks.

“An imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, can also cause food cravings. It is also possible that food cravings are due to endorphins that are released into the body after someone has eaten, which mirrors an addiction,” Medical News Today said.

What is the Most Common Vitamin Deficiency?

The following seven nutrients are listed by Healthline as the most common vitamins and minerals that we usually lack sufficient quantities of:

  1. Iron
  2. Iodine
  3. Vitamin D
  4. Vitamin B12
  5. Calcium
  6. Vitamin A
  7. Magnesium

Our functional medicine approach to treatment uses your personal bloodwork/testing to establish a treatment plan that will keep your vitamins and mineral balances in check helping you to eliminate cravings that are due to these factors.

How Hard is it to Break a Food Addiction?

According to research from WebMD, “Experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods. Highly palatable foods are foods rich in: sugar, fat and salt.”

These highly palatable foods trigger your feel-good brain chemicals (dopamine) causing pleasure associations between foods and the brain leading to real addictions.

“Science is still working to understand and find treatments for food addiction. Some argue that recovery from food addiction may be more complicated than recovery from other kinds of addictions. Alcoholics, for example, can ultimately abstain from drinking alcohol. But people who are addicted to food still need to eat,” WebMD said.

Your best recourse is to work with a nutritionist to help you establish a plan for overcoming your food addictions and behaviors in a healthy, purposeful way.

How Can Functional Medicine Reveal My Food Cravings

Functional medicine relies on special testing–including unique labs and tools–to assess the processes from which imbalances arise either prior to disease development or in the process of treating chronic illness.

A functional medicine initial screening can help you see where Balanced Well-Being Healthcare can be of the most help towards establishing better wellness. Our comprehensive screening process for patients focuses on the following key categories that impact wellness:

  • Food. What you eat, how you fuel, has a direct relationship with disease triggers and outcomes.
  • Inhabitants. Infections and toxins (heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, Biphenyls) can invade your body and become difficult to eliminate on your own. Know what inhabits you. Our testing also looks for hidden sources of infection.
  • Nutritional Needs & Deficiencies. Nutrition is key for fueling your body’s innate healing abilities. Many of us become nutritionally depleted due to stress, infection or a toxic burden.
  • Digestion. Cultivating a healthy gut is the foundation to a healthy body. If digestion is not complete, we lack the proper tools to breakdown and absorb the vital nutrients from our food.
  • Hormonal Imbalance. Hormone regulation involves 3 categories: Sex, Thyroid and Adrenals. Making sure hormone levels are balanced is essential for feeling good and keeping your immune system effective.
  • Energy Production. Making sure your mitochondria are functioning and firing properly can ensure that your body is processing energy correctly. Mitochondria are the power house in the cell and sustain life.
  • Lifestyle Choices. Sleep habits, stress management and social health all impact your overall wellness.
  • Metabolic Highways. This screening ensures that your metabolic highways are free and operational for the nutrients that need to travel through them to the areas of your body that need them. Genetics, your diet, the health of your gut and environmental exposures all influence how cluttered your highways remain.
  • Methylation. Methylation is a biochemical process where chemicals are added to proteins, DNA, or other molecules to support proper body functionality. Know how your environment and genes affect your methylation. If your body is not properly performing methylation, it can be diagnosed by increased levels of homocysteine, the amino acid by-product. One of the main risks from high levels of homocysteine is coronary artery disease.
  • Detoxification. This process allows your body to rid itself of harmful toxins and open your metabolic highways for better nutrient absorption.

Get a handle on your food cravings and addictions by recruiting Balanced Well-Being Heathcare’s on-site nutritionist and experts in your efforts! Learn more by calling 970-631-8286 today to set up a consultation.