Food addiction is a woldwide problem
The food addiction section of the site covers all issues where food behaviors have a negative impact on your level of self control. This covers what is the fundamental energy supply for the brain and the physiological “engine” for self control.
Food addictions and eating disorders are of interest as a model of addiction in general. This is because food addiction works to limit resources for executive function and thereby promote automatic reactions and short sighted unhealthy behaviors
Eating disorders and food addiction will limit self control and executive function because those functions are heavily dependent on a stable energy supply ultimatly derived from food sources. When the brains energy supply is suboptimal, behavior relies on instinctive or habitual behavior that can be run on automatic while energy is sparse.
All addictions will to some degree work to limit self control – thus being addictive – but food addiction is primary in the sense that energy supply is what most often act to limit self control and regulation of behavior. Food addiction directly affects the basic physiological systems that support executive function.
Food addiction is thus primary in the same way that heart problems are primary: Restrictions in blood supply to your heart muscles constitutes a different category of disease than restrictions in blood supply to your left arm or some other limb. All tissues in the body relies on the heart for oxygen and nutrition. Likewise all choices and all behavior relies on executive function for guidance and control.
There are other threats and limitations to executive function beyond food addiction, but none are comparable in scale to this problem. In a global study on trends in mean body-mass index published in the Lancet this month it is stated that: “If present trends continue, not only will the world not meet the global obesity target, but severe obesity will also surpass underweight in women by 2025”
The time scale in which food addictions self perpetuate is a lot different from the time scale of an acute stroke. But the structure and principle of generating causes for cyclic aggravation and spiraling out of control are basically the same. This works to limit the progress that can be made independently of changing food behaviors and the fuel situation for the executive brain.
While the larger medical and scientific society is focused on the somatic health implications of obesity and eating disorders, the focus on this site is on the implications for self control, regulation of behavior and the potential for the erosion meaningful choice. These issues are represented in all kinds of addictions and addictive behavior, and we will seek to clarify the connections and similarities.