I think the big problem with food as an addiction, which I think it can be, is not that addiction is so severe or intense, but that we cannot use total avoidance as a treatment. Starvation is not an acceptable side effect.
Zoe Harcombe was unhappy with me for saying in a post a while back that “food is not addictive like cocaine or heroin.” I think she misunderstood me (understandably). I didn’t mean food isn’t addictive, like cocaine or heroin. I meant what Kurt said … food addiction is not as severe or intense as cocaine or heroin addiction.
But yeah, not being able to abstain is a real complication. Fortunately, it’s generally not “food” that people are addicted to but “food stuffs” that are highly processed and refined.
In theory, these could be “avoided” … however, that’s easier said than done. Enter QoTD #2 from Yale’s Ashley Gearhardt in The New Science of Sugar Addiction last year (around the 21:00 mark):
The role of cues is especially important … think about the amount of floods of advertisements and food cues that you saw today. Just imagine, shifting in your head, thinking if those were all alcohol cues and you were someone who was struggling to control your alcohol use. That’s going to be a really difficult challenge. The role of cues, potentially dealing with the cues in our environment, is an especially important area to look at in the future.
Coming soon, a post in which I compare food addiction to Nanny McPhee. Really!