Researchers have spent millions of pounds and thousands of hours researching the commonly debated topic of our relationship with food and what we should and shouldn’t be eating. With nutritionists now claiming that fat isn’t as bad as they originally thought and it’s actually sugar we should be avoiding, it’s easy to see why so many people struggle to understand what’s good and bad.
One thing researchers do seem to agree on following the publication of a new study, is that we don’t get addicted to sugar and chocolate but rather to the act of eating itself. The study, which was conducted at the University of Edinburgh says that the real problem lies within our psychological compulsion to eat due to the pleasure and satisfaction we get from food.
It is now claimed that overeating is a behavioural disorder that is similar to the drive that sends gamblers back to the machines and card tables again and again. The researchers have said that rather than worrying about specific ingredients, more should be done to look into the reasons why people overeat and trying to help them eat less.
Research fellow at the university, Dr John Menzies commented:
“People try to find rational explanations for being over-weight and it’s easy to blame food. Certain individuals do have an addictive-like relationship with particular foods and they can overeat despite knowing the risks to their health. More avenues for treatment may open up if we think about this condition as a behavioural addiction rather than a substance-based addiction.”
Professor Suzanne Dickson of the University of Gothenburg concluded:
“There is currently very little evidence to support the idea that any ingredient, food item, additive or combination of ingredients has addictive properties.”
Researchers are hoping that this study will help to tackle Britain’s growing obesity problems. Earlier this year it was revealed that obesity rates have quadrupled since 1980 to nearly one billion in the developing world. Furthermore, in the UK alone 64% of adults are classed as being overweight or obese.
If you are concerned about binge eating or overeating and would like to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t hesitate to contact Life Works. Alternatively, you can also visit our Binge Eating/Overeating Treatment Programmes Page. You can also learn more about eating disorders at the Life Works Eating Disorder Knowledge Centre.