Are You Suffering From A Food Addiction?




This is a topic near and dear to my heart.  For, in all of my years working with patients, I have seen so many people suffer serious health conditions as a direct result of their food addictions.  But, do people see it this way?  Very rarely.

Certainly, there is a lot of attention and concern, rightfully so, for addictions to tobacco, drugs, alcohol, illicit behavior, and more.  Yet, all too often, food addictions are not serious considered to be in the same classification of these other addictions.  Yet, they definitely are.

Surely, A Food Addiction Isn’t Like Other Addictions … Right?

For anyone who has tried to quit tobacco, it is surely a very real challenge.  Multiply that many-fold to understand the ravages of drug and alcohol addiction.  Many years ago, I worked as the Chief Medical Officer of a California County Jail System.  If you know anything about the jail and prison systems, you know there is a tremendous amount of alcohol and drug dependence.  I dealt with the ravages of those addictions every single day when I cared for my inmate patients.   The power of addiction is real, indeed.

However, when you consider the state of being addicted to food — most people seem like they are not sure what to think.  They may feel, “Surely you cannot be addicted to food!”  Or, they may think, “I am just craving ice cream right now. It’s not an addiction!”  Well, I will grant that there is indeed a spectrum of beliefs and behaviors.  However, food addiction is a very real phenomenon.  It is also a dangerous one, indeed.

How Are Food Addictions Different?

The unique distinction about a food addiction, which differentiates it from all other addictions, is that you cannot quit ‘cold turkey’.  Ever thought of that?  While it may be difficult, you absolutely can quit tobacco in an instant.  You can quite heroine ‘cold turkey’.  Alcohol, too.  Surely, depending on the level of dependence, quitting alcohol and heroine in an instant could put you in a state where you need to be medically supervised — but, it is indeed possible.  However, you CANNOT just quit food!  Obviously, food is necessary for our survival.  By it’s very nature, we cannot quit the substance that is causing the addicting thoughts and power.

How Do You Know If You Have A Food Addiction?

That being said, if you suspect that you may have some elements of “Food Addiction” operating in your life, it would serve you well to look more closely.

  • What foods are you strongly craving?
  • Is it an irrational craving at times?
  • Do you find your thoughts obsessing on what your next meal or snack may be?
  • Are you  hiding food?
  • Do you find yourself embarrassed to eat certain foods in public?
  • Is your appetite emotionally driven?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you just may be struggling with a food addiction.

If You Do Struggle With A Food Addiction, Is There Real Harm?

First of all, recognizing and admitting to yourself that you have a food addiction is the first step you must take towards recovery.  Many people may recognize it on one level, but they only acknowledge it on a superficial level.  Perhaps if you understood the real danger, this acknowledgement would flow from your head down to your heart…

The risk of obesity is significantly increased in those who struggle with food addictions.  With obesity comes so many other health concerns — diabetes, heart attack, strokes, bad joints, low back pain, and more.  Certainly you don’t want any of these conditions!

Is There A Solution???

Just like breaking the addiction to any powerful substance, there indeed is a solution to breaking the grasp of food addictions.  This is a topic deserving of it’s own article, so let’s dive into that tomorrow.  See you then!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Prager September 10, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Hi. May I swap a couple of e-mails with you about this post? I’m an author who has written about this topic, and would like to compare notes.

Julie Schmitz September 13, 2010 at 11:41 pm

I cant wait to hear what you have to say about this topic!

Janet Bruno MD September 15, 2010 at 10:48 pm


Stay tuned — There’s lots more to share on this topic…

If you have any specific comments or questions, I am happy to address those. Just let me know. The two-way communication of a blog is what makes it all so much fun!

Judi September 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

do you think food addiction has a biochemical aspect

Janet Bruno MD September 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm


Welcome to my site. As an author on this subject, I’d be happy to exchange emails with you about this post. It sounds like you do have a wonderful passion, and story. We need more people like you out in the world sharing successes and strategies! Feel free to email me at

Janet Bruno MD September 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm


Welcome to my site!

Your question about whether food addictions have a biochemical aspect is a good one. There is indeed a biochemical aspect. Every true addiction has a biochemical element. It generally revolves around the stimulation of a hormone called dopamine. This is often referred to as a ‘pleasure hormone’, for it really does get stimulated by pleasure-inducing activity. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, or certain types of foods, the biochemical cycle is stimulated. There IS a way to break the cycle, though.

Please stay tuned … I have created a video on this exact subject which will be uploaded to my YouTube channel within the next day or two … Here’s my channel so you can go right there:

Here’s to your improving health! 🙂

Judi September 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Thanks for your reply. I look forward to your explanation on breaking the cycle on YouTube

eberl insurance adjuster September 25, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Great post! I wish you could follow up to this topic!?

Janet Bruno MD October 1, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I’m happy to follow-up on this topic if there is further interest. Feel free to let me know what in particular you’d like me to address. I’m happy to answer questions and clarify .. that’s what this blog is all about!

Here’s to your ever-increasing health…

Janet Bruno MD

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