Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Food Addiction

When I saw the article that I am going to share with you tonight, I had mixed emotions.  I was intrigued and went to the story link because it referenced food addiction and lawsuits under a financial news headline.
I thought, if stock advisers are worried, the research must be getting interesting and it is.
My mixed feelings involve my personal and professional views on obesity/obesity prevention.  I stay away from weight loss research altogether and I seldom review individual level programs and strategies because they are usually about treatment.  I focus on environment and population studies because I think we need an even playing field before we can successfully implement individual level strategies.

In research or statistics, we use the terms "hold constant" or "control for" to mean making conditions the same between people (theoretically).  For example, let's say that we can make all of my environment/population factors equal (e.g  income, knowledge, education, access) along with  race and gender - because they might impact the population level issues.  Now in my hypothetical example, none of these things are different - the only thing left is individual choice.  If that were true, or when that is true, my philosophy changes.  I will then believe in  incentivizing or penalizing  for obesity prevention.  (health insurance adjustments for example)
Because I do shift to individual accountability and responsibility in the equal access world, I do  not like food addiction theory.  I understand it, but I am much more accepting of the science that shows metabolic or physiologic changes related to the over consumption of foods that are highly processed and refined. Again, even as I understand the neurobiology of addiction, because I do, I do not accept the studies that suggest certain foods are triggering the reward pathway to such an extent that people build a tolerance and an addiction to things such as honey buns.  I believe that my great reluctance is due to my philosophical change of mind when all things are equal.  I fear that people will embrace this addiction rhetoric in order to avoid the hard choice of not eating highly caloric foods in abundance.
All that being said - this news article that warns food producers that there may be trouble ahead was fascinating to me.  It is just a brief summary of a couple studies and after reading all this, you might as well take a look here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, my brain hurts with this one! Give me a few days to digest (pun intended!) all the info. If I could run, this discussion might take a half marathon for you to explain!