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Episode 33: Are We All Addicted to Food?



Are we all addicted to food?

Our eating habits are such an integral part of our identity. All of us have specific likes and dislikes. Does the chemistry of the food we eat have a role to play in this? Food addiction remains a controversial medical diagnosis.

Dr. Joan Ifland, who specializes in food addiction sheds light on this. She received her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies with a specialization in Addictive Nutrition from the Union Institute & University. She is also the author of the popular book—Sugars and Flours: How They Make Us Crazy, Sick, and Fat and What to Do About It. She is currently developing online approaches to recovery from food addiction at and has a highly active group called Food Addiction Education on Facebook—both of which we’ll be talking about with her.

Key Learnings:

Tune in to my conversation with Dr. Joan Ifland and learn about:

  • The science behind food addiction; how the brain & body react in response to processed foods
  • The resemblance between drug addiction and food addiction
  • The ‘criteria’ or list of behaviors to be observed in people who suffer from overeating/addiction
  • Food ingredients that make particular food addictive
  • Training and reprogramming the addiction neurons
  • How the food industry makes its products more marketable and addictive
  • Why food addiction needs to be treated through Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  • The correlation of food addiction in the environment and genetics

11 Behaviors or Indicators of Overeating according to Dr. Joan Ifland:

  1. Unintended use
  2. Inability to cut back
  3. Time spent
  4. Cravings
  5. Inability to fulfill roles
  6. Trouble in relationships
  7. Activities given up
  8. Hazardous behavior
  9. Use in spite of knowledge of consequences
  10. Tolerance
  11. Withdrawal

Specific Food Ingredients that Make Food Extremely Addictive according to Dr. Joan Ifland:

  1. Sugar – All kinds of sugar activate the dopamine system.
  2. Flour- Gluten has natural morphine, making it more addictive when concentrated.
  3. Excessive salt – Morphine addicts often seek large amounts of salt in their food.
  4. Caffeine
  5. Other food additives
  6. Dairy


Dr. Joan Ifland:
“Obesity is not the only manifestation of processed foods. You can have an addicted person who’s not obese.”

“That’s not an eating-related problem—It’s a drug use problem.”

“Stress is a big precipitator of loss of control.”

“Stop identifying with mainstream culture and start identifying with a group of clean eaters.”

Dr. Avishkar Sabharwal:

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Our eating habits are, in a way, such an integral part of our identity.”


Website: Food Addiction Reset

Facebook Page: Food Addiction Education 

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