The Biology Of Food Addiction

The biology of food addiction….this is a topic that has always been of interest to me, we are what we eat and so many people suffer from the ill affects of poor diets and cravings from filling their diets with processed, sugar filled “foods”.

It’s not about your lack of motivation & will power that is causing your diet to fail-> it’s the food we are addicted to!

Obesity isn’t driven by calories but rather the composition of those calories. 

The diet industry convinces us that it all comes down to energy balance (calories in v.s calories out) but its not that simple.

Your metabolic rate, storage of fat, and hunger depend on the composition of your diet. This depends on the quality of the food you are eating (carbs/fats/proteins) and how they affect your hormones, neurotransmitters and your inflammatory cytokines. 

These are the biological factors that are driving changes in your brain function and metabolism with every bite you take.

The diet industry tell us to eat less and exercise more? Moderation is fiction in the face of food addiction, they tell us there are no good/bad calories, they are all equal right?…..WRONG! 

You can’t out exercise a bad diet! We need to be fuelling ourselves properly in order for our bodies to function at their best! Different foods are going to result in different functions within the body. Eating 100 calories of broccoli v.s. 100 calories of cookies are going to be a lot different in regards to how your body uses it as fuel and utilizes the nutrients available. One is going to nourish your body, one is going to cause your blood sugar to spike, crash and lead to fatigue.

Processed foods are all around us nowadays and they are made for us to be ADDICTED to them, these companies hire cravings experts to find the bliss point of foods so that we can easily crave them and become addicted to them! 

We have a sugar economy, one that needs to change, we have to take a stand on what we feed ourselves with. We have to take responsibility for our own health in a world that wants the exact opposite! 

When we eat these foods high in processed ingredients and sugar it releases dopamine in our brains, it creates an addiction due to the pleasure it gives us! Our bodies begin to crave it more and more until its all we can think about until the next time we eat it…sound familiar?

Eating this way changes our microbiome, drives up inflammation, can lead to leaky gut & other digestive issues, causes weight gain, leads to nutritional deficiencies, and many other chronic diseases in the long run.

When we focus on reducing calories to lose weight it will work short term but compensatory mechanisms in the body will override calorie restriction in the long run leading to increased weight gain and an optimized environment for fat storage and a slow metabolism.

Why this theory is faulty....There are many factors that regulate our metabolism: dietary composition, microbiome, toxins, infections, allergens, nutrient status, mitochondrial dysfunction, hormonal & neurotransmitter regulation, its not just the calories!

In the long run this is setting up your body to hold on to fat! You slow your metabolism down, you increase hunger-> not the best situation right? 

Calories are not all the same! In a vacuum yes they are😆 but are we a vacuum...no! Certain calories make your fat cells hungry and cause them to crave more similar foods! 

We have created a culture that is obsessed with food! We constantly think about it, we crave it, we are obsessed with it! 

Take a second and think about these questions...

Do you worry about cutting down on certain foods you eat?

Do you consume certain foods even if you aren’t hungry because of cravings? 

Do you feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating? 

Do you spend time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods? 

Do certain foods control your life? 

Do you need more of the food you crave to bring you pleasure? 


Our bodies go through the process of building up higher tolerances to these processed foods, so we constantly need MORE and MORE!

Our bodies are all different in how they respond to this “stimulus” some people have receptors that need more and have less of a response to high sugar foods yet some need less. The more you eat these highly processed foods your body will begin to adapt and you will begin to need more of it to get that same response or “high”. 

Voluntary control over your food intake is not going to work long term! Counting calories doesn’t work, our bodies are SO smart! They know what to do if we give them the right information or “foods” and eat intuitively after breaking the cycle of food addiction. Intuitive eating is natural to us but when we are bombarded with processed foods or try to manipulate our calorie intake this causes everything to become unbalanced and our bodies’ hunger cues and hormonal responses don’t know what to did anymore which is why it seems SO hard to do at first.

When you eat more processed foods and begin to restrict your calories your fat cells essentially THRIVE, they become hungrier and want more. Your training your cells to crave those foods and store more fat and toxins, all of your food and “fuel” is going to go into fat storage, your going to still be HUNGRY because you aren’t “nourishing” your body you are just feeding your fat cells. Your body thinks you are starving so you begin to store more fat as your metabolism slows 

It’s your biochemistry that is driving your behavior, it’s the fat around your midsection that is making you tired, lazy and crave more processed foods! 

So what do we do about this? 

The availability of fuel within your blood determines your hunger, you want to change that by changing WHAT you eat and the QUALITY of the food you consume 

The key here is insulin, insulin is the fat storage hormone, we need to keep this within balance. 

You have much more control about what you eat vs how much you eat, you can’t change willpower…. you need to change the metabolic state of your fat! 

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If you focus on wholefoods, real foods from the earth, foods rich in fiber, water, antioxidants, phytonutrient rich plant foods you will change your metabolism and how it stores fuel 

What we eat is so important! Food can change the state of your health, prevent chronic disease, it’s information for your body! With every bite it tells your body what to do, bad food is like putting bad information in to your body, you change your gene expression with what you eat, you change your microbiome, change your hormones, you are literally WHAT YOU EAT! 🥭🍑🍒🥬🥒🥑🥦

You want to focus on filling your plate with an abundance of wholefoods everyday, feeding your microbiome with prebiotics and fermented foods, drinking water, eating foods that reduce inflammation......what is this going to do overtime? 

Reduce anabolic drive of visceral fat cells, reset hormonal responses to food, normalize brain chemistry and dopamine receptor status to begin regulating your appetite and decreasing cravings, increase your energy and decrease reliance on certain processed foods.

Your body is going to be nourished not just fed, there is a HUGE difference in the two! 

If you are currently struggling with a food addiction know that’s it’s possible to change and heal your body! It takes time, consistency of flooding your body with good foods, patience and kindness towards your body. Your body loves you and wants you to THRIVE, you just have to believe in that too.