Here’s a question that’ll determine if you’re a food addict: Do you like ice cream? Experts say a new study shows that some people’s brains crave ice cream and other high-calorie foods just like drug addicts crave cocaine. That causes them to stuff their faces because they’re desperate for a bigger hit, putting them at risk for everything from chronic over-eating, to diseases like diabetes.
Researchers at Yale University had women fill out a questionnaire about their relationship with food. For example, "I eat Ring Dings even when I’m not hungry.” Based on their answers, they were divided into two groups – those whose questionnaires showed they were addicted to food – and those whose didn’t. Then, researchers used MRIs to scan their brains while showing them a picture of a chocolate milkshake loaded with ice cream and chocolate syrup. The result? The food addicts’ brains lit up like crazy in the area that’s tied to drug and alcohol cravings, but in non-addict women, there was drastically less activity in that same region. Five seconds later, both groups of women tasted the milkshakes. The MRIs found that the food addicts showed dramatically less activity in the self-control parts of their brains than the others.
So, why are some people addicted to food? Researchers say it’s because their brain chemistry is off, just like drug addicts. So, food addicts often have high hopes about their next food fix, but when they taste it, it’s not enough. Their brain tricks them into overeating to get that feel-good high. Experts say that while binging on cupcakes may not seem anywhere near as dangerous as binging on cocaine, it is. That's because over time, ODing on food can damage a person’s health. So, experts say, if you’re a food addict, you need to treat yourself just like a drug addict, and see a therapist now. If you’d like to go further, check out OvereatersAnonymous.org.