The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: January 15, 2012
Can You Truly Be Addicted to Food?
- Is over eating due to lack of willpower or addiction to food?
- What's in the foods we crave that makes us crave it?
- Take Dr. Oz's quiz to determine if you are addicted to food
- Curb your food habits
- Dermatologists share the latest in laser skin treatments
- Cheap anti-aging products that work
Can you be addicted to food? Is food addiction a disease? It's a controversial topic. With two out of three people overweight in this country, Dr. Oz wants to talk about it. Is there such a thing as food addiction? Or is there something being put in our food that makes us want to eat it?
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For some people, food is a constant thought, finding and eating food is an obsession. Salty, sweet, and fatty foods are what people are grabbing and it's packing on the pounds.
Is there something happening in our brains that cause us to over eat, to eat unhealthy foods? Skeptics say over eating is a behavioral issue that can be overcome with the right tools.
Dr. Oz polled his audience asking, is addiction more important as a driver of obesity than will power? By a show of hands, about half of the audience believed that yes, addiction is the cause of people becoming over weight. 50/50 is a good number for starting a debate.
Keri Gans, dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You,
has treated hundreds of people who were over weight and eating unhealthy foods and says no, food addiction does not exist. Ms. Gans says over eating is a behavioral issue that can be changed with the right tools and support.
Ms. Gans says that she bases everything on science. She doesn't believe people can be addicted to food because how can you be addicted to something that your body needs? Her experience of working with hundreds of over weight clients has shown here that being over weight or obese is based on emotional issues and learned patterns.
Neal Barnard, MD [and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC] says absolutely, food can be just as addictive as drugs or alcohol.
Dr. Barnard says that a chemical change takes place in the brain when certain foods are eaten. Opiates and dopamine are released when certain foods are consumed. In his research, diabetes patients were found to have a specific gene that causes there to be too few dopamine receptors. For this reason, he believes that being over weight and obese is a gene-based issue and these people are over eating to get gain a chemical response in the brain that they are genetically pre-wired not to achieve.
The most addictive foods are chocolate and sugar, says Dr. Bernard. He has seen that using drugs for treating drug addicts on people who are over weight will cause a chocoholic to not want the chocolate anymore.
Ms Gans still isn't buying it. She explains that we want, crave, sugar when we are lonely, depressed, or angry. Everyone carries fond memories associated with food, we didn't get cauliflower when we did well on a test we got some type of sugar. That, she says, is a learned experience and that as adults, there has been no changed in behavior.
Dr. Oz conducted another poll [with I think visitors to his website? Or it could be with the audience?]
Do you think you may be addicted to food?
Yes – 63%
No – 18%
Maybe – 19%
Do you think people use food addiction as an excuse to overeat?
Yes - 48%
No - 52%
Is food addiction as bad as drug addiction?
Yes - 77%
No – 23%
Dr. Barnard chimed in to say that it was once thought that cocaine was not addictive but over time it was discovered that the behavior, using the same time of day and other factors lead science to determine that it is addictive. Giving the name addiction to a behavior is empowering, he explains, as it allows people to recognize the condition as a problem and are more likely to attack it and overcome the addiction.
Ms. Gans teaches people how to change this behavior, that Dr. Bernard says is an addiction, by simply giving them healthy food choices at times when they crave unhealthy foods. Over time, they learn to choose the healthy option to satisfy a craving instead of the “addictive” foods.
The audience participated in the debate providing views from both sides of the issue.
The first audience member share her story of over eating and eating the wrong foods. She believes that food is addictive because she's experienced withdraw along with compulsive and obsessive behaviors. Over eating leaves her feeling ashamed, she knows her eating the behavior is dangerous. After dieting she binges, feeling deprived of all her favorite foods.
Ms. Gans explained that deprivation during dieting never leads to success. It's important to learn how to eat these trigger foods properly. Getting the help of a nutritionist and possibly even a therapist can be the right resources to provide the right to learn how to eat right.
Dr. Oz voiced his opinion saying the reality we are facing is that the population is getting fatter every year and that's why this topic is has been opening. He shared that in the back of my mind, that he feels there could be something in foods that make us want to eat it. [It's a conspiracy, I tell ya!]
People who eat a whole bag of chips or an entire box of cookies say they can't stop, they can't control it. Some say the food industry is adding something to food to make them addictive, to keep us buying more.
Sugar, salt and fat are stimulating and satisfying, explained Dr. Barnard. MSG is added to food to enhance the flavor. Artificial ingredients give big flavor with a corresponding big let down after so people want to go back to the food again. Obesity rates have exploded while at the same time there is a correlating increase in the use of food additives.
It's an excuse Ms. Gans says. There are portion sizes listed on the label. No one is making anyone eat those foods. People can learn to eat these trigger foods with responsibility.
Linda from the audience shared that she has a problem with sugar and wheat. Once she starts eating these foods she can't stop. For the last 15 years, she says she has lost and gained 100 pounds every year. She says her weight gain and loss roller coaster has been documented with various weight loss groups.
Ms. Gans was careful in her response to Linda and said that over eating comes from a lack of discipline which can be learned.
Randi, from the audience, shared her story. In 2004, she weighed 210 and lost exactly 100 pounds. She said she hasn't gained back the weight and won't because she makes it a choice and doesn't deprive herself.
Mr. Barnard said that people need more willpower. If a seven year old is inundated with TV ads for sugary, salty and fatty foods they are going to be socialized toward those foods. He says there needs to be a system of social support and these foods should not be in the house.
[I'm with Ms. Gans on this point. It's all about behavior and education. Case in point, my kids watch cartoons and are exposed to those same TV ads for unhealthy, nutritionally lacking foods and yet they are not socialized to believe they need those foods? Why? Because we have talked about what are in those foods and we have talked about how foods effect the body. My kids will ask for chocolate and they would love it if I bought them soda and cheesy poofs. Yet they know those are, as Cookie Monster says are sometimes foods and that fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and proteins provide the fuel their bodies need to grow and thrive. So when they see those ads they know it's a marketing campaign for foods that should be avoided.
Lisa, from the audience, said there is a difference between cravings and an addiction. She feels that people are getting confused. These are cravings.
Ms. Gans stated that eating issues are not due to one cause but are mulch-faceted. Calling it an addiction is over simplifying it.
Janet, from the audience, wanted clarification of the meaning of addiction. Using a substance or a process to cover an emotion is an addiction but because we need to eat food, issues of overeating are not categorized as an addiction and she feels that it should.
[In high school science class I learned that a drug is anything that creates a chemical reaction in the body. When I heard that, I thought, well gee, then anything we put in our body could be considered a drug. If food can change blood sugar levels, give energy, take energy, and as Dr. Barnard discussed above, food causes a chemical change in the brain. Even water will cause a change in the body. So by that definition then, yes, food is a drug and a drug can become addicting.
- The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
- The condition of being abnormally dependent on some habit, esp compulsive dependency on narcotic drugs.
- A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol. In physical addiction, the body adapts to the substance being used and gradually requires increased amounts to reproduce the effects originally produced by smaller doses.
I think food addiction can fall into some of these definitions however there are several points where it wouldn't. Personally, I don't think ceasing a favorite food would cause severe trauma. There are, I'm sure, people who would disagree and if someone said I couldn't have chocolate anymore, I may change my story!]
Dr. Oz's final thoughts on the idea of food addiction: there are certain foods that can be as addictive drugs, for some people.
Could You Be Addicted to Food?
Take The Power of Food Quiz on DoctorOz.com. He has put together a 16 question quiz to help people get a sense of how they look at food. Answer the questions then wait for your score and explanation of each question. [According to DoctorOz.com, I am not preoccupied to food and I think I can extrapolate that I am not addicted to food. But I do love chocolate!]
On the show, Dr. Oz went through five statements people can ask themselves to see if they have a problem with their relationship to food.
1. I spend a lot time thinking about food when I’m not hungry.
2. I get more pleasure from food than anything else.
3. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you are not eating. Addicts experience visceral symptoms such as shaking, dizziness and sweating.
4. I hide food in my home, car, and work place.
5. My relationship with food interferes with my home life.
Conquer Your Food Habits
Know your body’s cues: when you feel hungry, satisfied, or full.
Wean yourself slowly off addictive foods to keep stress low. Cold turkey raises stress which could lead to binging.
Know your trigger food time. If you always have cravings at 8pm, then schedule yourself in an activity to avoid giving into the craving. Or go for healthy snacks. [Carrot, apples, popcorn!]
Know your trigger emotions.
If you think you have a problem with food, Dr. Oz says to take it seriously and get help. Don't be ashamed that there is a problem or that you need help.
Cutting-Edge Laser Dermatological Procedures
Hundreds of dollars and hours of time are spent to deal with dermatological issues and people are left without the results they want. [Dr. Oz has brought on the dermatologist parade, again, to help viewers understand cutting-edge dermatological procedures.]
Wrinkle Laser Treatment
Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, dermatologist, [and she has her own skin care line!] demonstrated the Alma Pixel Q-Switch laser treatment for wrinkles. [Click here to read a little more about the Alma Pixel Q-Switch laser treatment from a clinique offering laser dermatological treatments.]
Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas explained that the laser penetrates to target deeper layer of skin stimulating collagen growth. It's a non-surgical, non-invasive, painless and, according to Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas is extremely safe.
She took a hand-held device, that looked like a gun, that shot light at the skin. Treatments of the Alma Pixel Q-Switch cost $200-500 per treatment and several treatments are required. Other laser skin treatments cost upwards of $1200. Results can be seen after six months.
Sun Damaged Skin Laser Treatment
Dr. Oz says you can take years off your face with the Sciton Broadband Light/Microlaser Peel. Mathew Avram, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center, explained that this is a one-time treatment for discolored skin.
Dr. Avram says the procedure is not particularly painful, isn't very painful. [Sounds to me like it could be painful!] The first part of the procedure is a bright shot of light blasted onto the skin and instantly removes discoloration. It is targeting brown spots, freckles, red pigments at a microscopic level.
The second part of the treatment is mirco laser peel. The laser scans across the skin in small diamond patches vaporizing skin the width of a sheet of paper. A smoke evacuator is included with the handheld device to remove the smoke after the skin is vaporized. [That sounds painful!] The audience member having the treatment said it felt like little pricks on her skin.
The cost of this treatment is cost $1000-1500 and it was said the treatment was only used one time. In the next breath, Dr. Avram said a few years later another treatment would be needed if the patient goes out in the sun.
The before and after looked like two different people, one with freckles all over the face and one without any freckles at all.
Cheapest Anti-aging Products
Three women were sent shopping with Dr. Oz's credit card to buy skin care products to address their skin concerns. They each went after the most expensive product because, they each said, it must work!
Ellen Marmur, dermatologist, says consumers should look at the label of product instead of the price tag. The best anti-aging products will contain a moisturizer to protect and the skin, and should contain SPF.
A product labeled for wrinkle repair was purchased for $42. The shopper said she chose the product because it was in a anti-theft plastic container so it must be good. On the label, it stated dermatologist and scientists recommended it that, along with the high price, lead her to buy the product.
Dr. Marmur said a the cheapest, and best, option would cost only $4.79. She said the most popular wrinkle product on the market right now is St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen and Elastin Facial Moisturizer. With a silky smooth feel, she said it's a sign of a good moisturizer.
Under Eye Bags and Wrinkles
This shopper uses a lot of concealer and tends to go with the most expensive options. She bought a product saying it was equivalent to eye surgery costing $68.
Dr. Marmur recommended a product for only $3.99, Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel, as natures best beauty bargain. She explained that witch hazel is an anti-microbial which cleans the skin, an astringent to shrink blood vessels, it's also an antioxidant and ant-inflammatory to reduce the appearance of bags and it's also a moisturizer.
A product called a skin tone perfecting cream for $27 was up next and claimed to get rid of brown spots,freckles and pink pigments.
Dr. Marmur recommended, instead, a product that cost only $2.99 Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick. Cocoa butter will get rid of blemishes and, according to Dr. Marmur, also contains carotene which has anti-wrinkle properties.
The anti-aging product Dr. Oz can't live without: aspirin. Dr. Oz that aspirin can reduce inflammation the appearance wrinkles. He recommends taking two aspirin a day.
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