Last week the LA Times featured an article that caught my eye. It wasn’t a feature story by any means, but it jumped right off the page at me (or computer screen in my case). The article was titled, “If Food Addiction Exists, Blame The Brain – Not The Cookies” by Marissa Cevallos. It was a quick synopsis of a recent Yale University study that demonstrated a connection between chocolate milkshakes and the area of our brain that is associated with addiction! That’s right…science is linking high fat, high sugar foods to addiction. It seems that when test subjects were shown advertisements for a chocolate milkshake, then given said milkshake, they responded with a stimulated area of the brain for cravings and also showed a less active areas of the brain that curb urges. It’s not that hard to believe, right?
It’s such a common joke in our society – a woman who can’t resist chocolate, a refreshing bowl of ice cream, or the bag of chips that didn’t stand a chance. What do these foods bring to the table? Easy, they bring varying combinations of sugar, fat and salt. It’s not a new concept. In 2009, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, David A. Kessler, MD wrote a very well researched book entitled, “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” which shined a bright light on the processed food industry and how these foods contain the perfect, and key word here….’unnatural’, chemical balance of sugar, fat and salt. When these foods are taken in this perfectly unnatural ratio, the results are nothing shy of food addiction.
So, at the risk of taking all responsibility off your plate (pun absolutely intended!!), if you’re frequently eating foods that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize, you’re likely eating these ‘perfectly, unnatural’ foods that light up the craving centers of the brain, thus, making you a slave to your cravings.
It wouldn’t be fun without a little challenge, so here’s your latest experiment….for one week, eat only from the earth: fruits, vegetables, whole grains (like brown rice and oats), beans, olive oil. You can even throw in a little lean protein like chicken or fish. Give it a go! See if you don’t feel cleaner, more energetic and experience far fewer cravings and mood swings. Go ahead, I dare you! And when you’ve completed the week, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email them to email@example.com and I will post your anonymous experience to share with our Community.