Are you ad­dicted to lousy food?

The Buffalo News - - NFL - Dr. Mehmet Oz hosts “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Buf­falo na­tive Dr. Mike Roizen is chief well­ness of­fi­cer of the Well­ness In­sti­tute at Cleve­land Clinic.

‘‘N o one can eat just one!” Lay’s makes that bag of chips sound hard to put down. White Cas­tle will sell you a “crave case” of 30 slid­ers. And Coke prom­ises that you can “Open hap­pi­ness.” Added sugar in a soda will do that – not. All that sugar adds up to a fourth meal.

The mar­ket­ing pitches for fast foods have long trum­peted the ad­dic­tive qual­ity of ev­ery­thing from cola to potato chips and burg­ers to pizza, but it turns out this isn’t just hot air.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan have been look­ing at what’s cook­ing up your per­sis­tent de­sire to eat fast food. They’ve found that highly pro­cessed, high-glycemic, fatty foods are to blame. They pro­vide a con­cen­trated dose of their in­gre­di­ents, and they’re rapidly ab­sorbed – just like ad­dic­tive drugs.

Not only that, the same re­searchers have pub­lished a study in the jour­nal Ap­petite that es­tab­lishes a Highly Pro­cessed Foods With­drawal Scale: It seems peo­ple who are ad­dicted to fast and low-nu­tri­tion foods and then stop eat­ing them ex­pe­ri­ence with­drawal symp­toms, such as sad­ness, ir­ri­tabil­ity, tired­ness and crav­ings.

Break the habit – and why it mat­ters

You know that high-fat, sug­ary, overly pro­cessed foods are im­pli­cated in ev­ery­thing from heart at­tacks to di­a­betes and a lousy sex life. We share that info with you in as many ways as we can:

• Your drive-thru should be a drive-by.

• Your Mac at­tack should be lim­ited to your iPad’s com­puter games.

• Your fin­ger-lickin’ should be from a dip into gua­camole or salsa.

Now a new study from the Euro­pean Prospec­tive In­ves­ti­ga­tion into Cancer and Nu­tri­tion looked at 471,495 adults from 10 Euro­pean coun­tries and con­cluded that low-nu­tri­tion foods (back to that ad­dic­tive, fast-food world of non-nu­tri­tion) are cor­re­lated with the devel­op­ment of a va­ri­ety of can­cers, in­clud­ing those of the colon-rec­tum, up­per aerodi­ges­tive tract (lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vo­cal cords and part of the esoph­a­gus and wind­pipe); stom­ach and lung for men; liver and breast for post­menopausal women.

Ad­dicted and al­ways hun­gry

There’s dou­ble trou­ble. Your body mixes up a se­cret sauce that makes your ad­dic­tion to fast/highly pro­cessed foods es­pe­cially hard to shake: Turns out, for overeaters – that’s 70 per­cent of Amer­i­cans who are over­weight or obese – the urge to eat past the point of full­ness is wag­ing a war against your body’s sig­nal that says, “Stop eat­ing, please stop!” Re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Michi­gan pub­lished a new study in the jour­nal PNAS (Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences) that shows two tiny clus­ters of cells bat­tle for con­trol of feed­ing be­hav­ior, and un­for­tu­nately, the one that drives eat­ing over­pow­ers the one that says stop.

What does this have to do with ad­dic­tion? Well, it turns out the brain’s opi­oid sys­tem is help­ing fuel chronic overeat­ing, but re­search has now found that you can give power back to the “Stop Eat­ing” forces by ad­min­is­ter­ing the drug nalox­one – the same med­i­ca­tion that can pre­vent death from an over­dose of opi­oids. So where does that leave you? If you’re a fast food ad­dict and/or an overeater, you want to bathe your re­cep­tors in the joys of dopamine and sero­tonin; that’s what any ad­dic­tion does. Luck­ily there are some ways to do it that don’t in­volve food – or drugs – cooked up in a lab.

1. Ex­er­cise: Sweat it; you won’t re­gret it! Aer­o­bic ac­tiv­ity can ease with­drawal and boost dopamine re­lease. An hour on a tread­mill five days a week may stop your ad­dic­tion to lousy food. It works for co­caine ad­dicts, a new study finds.

2. Adopt the Dopamine Diet: Eat­ing mi­cronu­tri­ent-rich foods high in ty­ro­sine – the nat­u­ral build­ing block of dopamine – will help you re­gain plea­sure from eat­ing smaller amounts of good-for-you, un­pro­cessed foods. Those rich in ty­ro­sine in­clude: fava beans, chicken, oat­meal, mus­tard greens, dark choco­late and wheat germ. For recipes us­ing th­ese foods and more info on the diet, check out doc­toroz. com; search for “the dopamine diet.”

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