Tag Archives: addiction

News You Can Use-Week of March 30th-April 5th

News You Can Use

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder and obesity treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your weekly news update for the week of March 30th-April 5th.

Milk, Calcium, and Bone Health

Even if you live under a rock, you know that in the US the current recommendation for most of the population is to enjoy 3 servings of dairy a day, including milk. One of the most well funded and persuasive ad campaigns of the three decades has been the Got Milk campaign led by the National Dairy Council. Parents are encouraged to provide milk for their kids’ growing bones and schools serve milk with every meal. LEARN MORE

Why Sleepy Shopping May Lead to a Bigger Waistline

Imagine you just pulled an all-nighter studying for an important exam, worked a double shift through the night, or were up all night with your child who has the flu. The next morning, you find yourself hungry and suddenly remember the lone jar of mustard sitting in your fridge so you decide to stop at your local grocery store to stock up for the week. Stop! Step away from the automatic doors, maybe grab a healthy bite out, and embark on this mission afresh after getting some rest. LEARN MORE

Anorexia Affects More Men Than Previously Thought

Zachary Haines was 16 years old when a physical examination put his 5’7”, 230-pound body within the obese range.  Soon after, Zachary began working out and watching his diet, entering his junior year at high school 45 pounds lighter. LEARN MORE

4 Steps to End Emotional Eating

When Kami waltzed in the room, I cringed. She had her head held high, and offered me a firm, confident handshake and a brilliant smile. Dressed to the nines in a size two expensive summer dress and high heels, her persona screamed, “I am the Martha Stewart of Corporate America on a Weekend Getaway.” She was stunning, and looked more put together than I’ve ever felt in my whole life. LEARN MORE

Yes, You Can Get Addicted to Exercise

People are often astonished to discover exercise isn’t always a panacea. Because physical activity confers so many benefits to our muscles, bones, liver, heart, and brain—not to mention its powerful mood-boosting effects—the notion that it could be hazardous to our well-being may seem ridiculous. Unfortunately, for approximately 3 percent of the population, striving to stay fit does them more harm than good. LEARN MORE

What to Do When Organic Isn’t an Option

Whether you’re stuck in a food desert or have a tight food budget, you don’t need to be exposed to dangerous pesticides. LEARN MORE

Were there any news articles that you saw this week that really grabbed your attention? Leave a comment with a link. If the article helped you, it will likely help some of my other readers!

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Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Eating Disorder Pro Podcast: Defining “Food Junkie” W/ Dr. Vera Tarman

Vera Tarman

On this week’s episode I spoke with Dr. Vera Tarman. Dr. Tarman is the author of Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction.

She is also the founder and spokesperson for Addictions Unplugged. Dr. Vera Tarman has focused her medical practice over the past 17 years on addiction treatment and recovery. Along with serving the addiction community through her own private practice, she has been the Medical Director at Renascent since 2006 and the Staff physician with Salvation Army Homestead since 2004.

If you missed it, you can tune in HERE.

What We Covered:

0:55- Dr. Vera Tarman, Author of Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction

1:43- Dr. Tarman’s Professional Background

2:20- Definition of Food Addiction

3:05- Signs of Food Addiction

7:06- Causes of Food Addiction

7:15- Below The Radar-Dr. Norton’s Book

9:15- Are People Born With Food Addiction?

12:11- Caller Joe

13:01- What Is The Solution For Food Addiction?

13:45- What Do You Abstain From?

15:00- How Do You Determine What To Eliminate?

16:22- Are Coconut Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup The Same?

18:24- Coconut Sugar and Norbu Sweetener

23:32- If You Have A Food Addiction, Will You Always Have One?

25:48- Ways To Overcome Food Addictions

30:26-Can You Become Addicted To Fruit?

32:53- Physical & Emotional Addiction

33:26- Definition of Addiction

39:06- Stages of Recovery

40:08- What Is The Number One Sign You’re Addicted To Something?

41:43- Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction

42:54- Contact Dr. Vera Tarman at addictionsunplugged.com 

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

Show Notes – Food Addiction with Dr. Vera Tarman

In this weeks episode we talked with addictions specialist Dr. Vera Tarman of addictionsunplugged.com. We talked about the science behind food addiction!

Listen to internet radio with Eating Disorder Pro on Blog Talk Radio

In this episode we covered:

3:40 – About Dr. Tarman
4:45 – What is food addiction? How did you becomes interested in becoming a specialist in food addiction?
6:38 – What are the signs that someone is a food addict?
11:38 – Is there a relationship between food addiction, obesity, and/or eating disorders?
13:50 – There’s an article on your blog entitled “Are we dieting ourselves into obesity?”. What do you mean by this?
20:10 – What impact does food addiction have on recovery from drug and alcohol addiction?
21:55 – Caller Question – What does an addiction-free diet look like?
33:10 – What is the three-part brain model?
36:39 – What role do dopamine, seratonin, and endorphins play in food addiction? What are symptoms of low neurochemical levels?
42:05 – What is the most successful treatment for food addiction?

Links We Discussed

Addictions Unplugged
Anorexia, Addiction, and the Three-Part Brain Model
How Maji Gets Mongo Off the Couch! for purchase from EatingDisorderPro.com | amazon.com
Maji and Mongo: Let’s Eat! for preorder from amazon.com
Dangerous Liaisons:  Comfort and Food – Understanding Food Addiction DVD

 

Let’s Connect!

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Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

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View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

News You Can Use – September 4-11 2012

News You Can Use

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder and obesity treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your weekly news update for the week of September 4-September 11 2012!”

Were there any news articles that you saw this week that really grabbed your attention? Leave a comment with a link. If the article helped you, it will likely help some of my other readers!

China investigates whether children used in GMO “golden rice” trial

Canned Food’s Long, Long, Long Lasting Impact

Let’s Connect!

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Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

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Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

Meditation-Based Intervention for Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Meditation and Binge Eating Disorder

Photo Used Under a Creative Commons License via AlicePopkorn

Is it possible that individuals with Binge Eating Disorder could gain a greater sense of control over eating by giving up a certain amount of conscious control? It’s quite the paradox, really. A study completed at the University of Indiana examined this very idea. The study explored the use of meditation-based intervention for Binge Eating Disorder. The six-week study introduced 18 obese women to standard and eating-specific mindfulness meditation. After completing the study, episodes of binge-eating decreased from 4.02 episodes per week, to 1.57 episodes per week. Additionally, the women’s scores on the Binge Eating Scale (BES), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) decreased significantly; anxiety and depression went from mild-moderate to non-clinical levels.  The women also reported an improvement in their sense of mindfulness, perceived control, awareness of hunger and satiety cues.

There are numerous reasons that meditation may be a successful form of therapy for individuals with Binge Eating Disorder (BED):

– people that regularly meditate exhibit greater control over random flow of thought

– meditation lowers brain reactivity; this may lower the impulses associated with Binge Eating Disorder

– it is believed that the act of meditating puts a space between thought and action, allowing for more time to think situations through before acting

– people that meditate regularly show an increased amount of connection in the white matter that connects the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus (ACG) to the rest of the brain; deficiencies in these connections are associated with addiction (including food addiction), depression, ADHD, obsessive behaviors, compulsive behaviors, and eating disorders

If you want to incorporate the art of meditation into your everyday life, there are several free downloadable meditations available through Buddha Net. A good meditation to start with is the Body Scan, which gives instructions on bringing awareness to bodily sensations. Buddha Net also offers meditations for progressive relaxation, learning how to calm the body with breath, cultivating peace and joy with the breath, mindful standing and walking, mindfulness of breath, mindfulness of sound and thought, healing painful emotions, and loving-kindness meditation.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

Sources:

J Health Psychol May 1999 vol 4 no 3 357-363

News You Can Use – July 22-29 2012

News You Can Use

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder and obesity treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your weekly news update for the week of July 22-29 2012!”

Were there any news articles that you saw this week that really grabbed your attention? Leave a comment with a link. If the article helped you, it will likely help some of my other readers!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

Anorexia, Addiction and the Three-Part Brain Model

The Three-Part Brain Model

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”

To understand addiction, it is important to understand the three-part brain model. The first and most important part of the brain is the lower part of the brain, the brain stem. The brain stem regulates life sustaining activities such as telling us to breath, getting our digestion going and regulating heart rate.

The next most important part of the brain is the middle part of the brain, the limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for emotional, instinctual, and motivational-based functions. It gets us to do things that will keep us alive. The middle part of the brain is the non-thinking part of the brain that instinctually and reactively gets us away from pain or draws us toward pleasure (such as sex, food, sleep, exercise etc) which is a life-sustaining principle.

The third and final part of the brain is top part of the brain, the cortex. The cortex is the thinking part of the brain. It gives the ability to appreciate art, literature and other people. Additionally, it is responsible for our social skills, judgment, insight, and other executive functions of the brain. The cortex also moderates emotions and instincts which are there to keep our lives going.

In a perfect system, all three parts of the brain will work together in balance. When a problem occurs, such as addiction or an eating disorder the limbic system becomes manipulated or overbalanced. What was initially a perfect system actually begins to work against us; the middle part of the brain overpowers the top part of the brain. When the middle part of the brain becomes aroused by feelings such as hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness we lose our sense of willpower and reasonable thinking; which resides in the front part of the brain.

The middle part of the brain is home to the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is the reward pathway of the brain; anything that makes us feel good involves the nucleus accumbens. Three of the neurochemicals that pass through the nucleus accumbens include dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin. Dopamine is the neurochemical that makes us want or desire something; serotonin is the neurochemical makes us feel relaxed and satisfied; endorphin is the neurochemical that protect us from feeling physical or emotional pain.

I recently spoke to addictions specialist Dr. Vera Tarman who described how this relates to the brain of an individual with anorexia. When an individual is suffering from anorexia they experience a dopaminergic euphoria. He or she experiences a ‘high’, as they obsess about food; similar to how a drug addict would experience over their drug of choice.  When the anorexic becomes increasingly hungry, the limbic system produces extra dopamine. As the person becomes hungrier, the reward value of food heightens. This is the body’s attempt to entice the person to eat, to nourish itself. The anorexic does not eat food, but as he or she gets hungrier, she instead anticipates food – in the food preparation, in the food obsessions, in how she or he ‘plays’ (but does not eat) the food. As the anorexic individual becomes more and more hungry, the dopamine high builds and builds. It’s important to note that as soon as the anorexic does eat, the high stops completely. Anorexics resist food the same way as the drug addict resists withdrawal from their drug.

Sources:

Human Brain and Skeleton Photo from office.microsoft.com Clip Art and Image Library (Under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License) Source: knol.google.com

American Society of Addiction Medicine. (April 19 2011). Definition of Addiction. American Society of Addiction Medicine. Retrieved July 18 2012, from //www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction.

Dr. Vera Tarman (personal communication, July 11, 2012)

Croxton, S. (Host) (2012, May 23). Understanding Food Addiction with Dr. Vera Tarman [Podcast]. Underground Wellness. California: Blog Talk Radio. Retrieved May 24 2012, from //www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2012/05/23/understanding-food-addiction-w-dr-vera-tarman

Let’s Connect!

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Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

News You Can Use – June 3-10 2012

News You Can Use

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder and obesity treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your news update for the week of  June 3 – June 10 2012!”

Were there any news articles that you saw this week that really grabbed your attention? Leave a comment with a link. If the article helped you, it will likely help some of my other readers!

Let’s Connect!

Take my new Eating Disorder survey!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

Childhood Obesity + Food Addiction

Food Addiction

“For the past 10 years, I have noticed a connection between childhood obesity, eating disorders, and the increasing complications of both in my clinical work as well as in my research.  As part of my mission to shed light on these problems, particularly as they relate to US children, I find it important to provide both by readers and clients with relevant informative articles. You can view all of my Childhood Obesity Articles here. Also, be sure to read my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

As shown in my Childhood Obesity Infographic, the childhood obesity rate in the United States has increased by 500% since 1970 and it shows no sign of slowing. It is predicted that 43% of our nation’s population will be obese by 2018. Are our country’s children becoming addicted to food? Is it possible that food addiction is playing a role in the seemingly uncontrollable childhood obesity epidemic?

According to Mark Gold, chief of addiction medicine at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute, food addiction involves:

  • Eating too much despite the consequences, even dire consequences to health
  • Being preoccupied with food, food preparation and meals
  • Trying and failing to cut back on food intake
  • Feeling guilty about eating and overeating

Although there are many factors that contribute to children becoming addicted to food, one of the most common causes are diets that consist primarily of processed foods. It is estimated that 90-95% of processed foods today contain food additives. In the past 40 years, we have seen an increase in food additives that are known for their addictive properties. For example, since 1948 the amount of MSG that has been added to processed foods has doubled every decade. In a 60 Minutes interview Givaudan, one of the largest producers of food additives in the world, openly admitted that the main purpose of food additives is to cause consumers to develop a strong desire for the foods. The company executive even agreed with Morley Safer’s word “addiction” in describing the strength of this desire.

What amount of food additives are our children consuming? Consider this:

  • 180 days of every year 31 million children in our country eat a processed fast food breakfast and processed fast food lunch in the school cafeteria
  • 84% of parents take their kids out to eat fast food at least once every week
  • 30 years ago children ate one snack a day. Today’s children eat 3 snacks a day, with 1 in 5 children eating 6 snacks a day.  According to the most recent NHANES III analysis, the most popular snacks for children aged 6 -11 in order of preference are:

o   Soft drinks

o   Salty snacks such as potato chips, corn chips and popcorn

o   Cookies

o   Non-chocolate candy

o   Artificially flavored fruit beverages

o   Whole milk and chocolate milk

o   Two percent/reduced fat milk

o   White bread

o   Chocolate candy

o   Cake

o   Ice cream

o   Fruit

  • More processed food is consumed in the United States than any other country. In 2009, 787 pounds of rocessed food was consumed per capita. In comparison, the same year 602 pounds of fresh food was consumed per capita.

Food addiction can be prevented by becoming educated as parents about the role food additives play in food addictions and why children’s foods in particular are targeted.

Food addiction is a treatable disorder, with family-based behavioral therapy being the most successful treatment. Therapy often focuses on family lifestyle changes, weight-related behavior, parenting skills and setting achievable goals. Family-based therapy that incorporates Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is thought to have an even higher success rate. If you are unsure,or if you or your child is affected by food addiction, check out the Yale Food Addiction Scale and discuss the results with your doctor.

Let’s Connect!

Take my new Eating Disorder survey!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

Sources:
//projectjennifer.com/2011/08/most-popular-childrens-snacks/
//my.counseling.org/2011/03/31/prevention-and-treatment-of-food-addiction/
//www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver.html
//www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7389748n

News You Can Use – January 29 – February 5 2012

News You Can Use

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your news update for the week of Jan 29-Feb 05 2012!”

Who is obese? – Local (Cincinnati) Article
Crops being sprayed with MSG, glutamic acid as chemical growth enhancers
Preference for Fatty Foods May Have Genetic Roots
Is Today’s Beef Better For The Environment?
Addicts’ Brains May Be Wired At Birth For Less Self-Control
Billboards Slather On The Guilt With Anti-Cheese Campaign
GOP freshman slams Obama’s costly anti-obesity ad campaign
Smell: the undervalued sense

Were there any news articles that you saw this week that really grabbed your attention? Leave a comment with a link. If the article helped you, it will likely help some of my other readers!

Let’s Connect!

Take my new Eating Disorder survey!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

News You Can Use – Jan 9 – 16 2012

News You Can Use

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your news update for the week of January 9-16 2012”

Were there any news articles that you saw this week that really grabbed your attention? Leave a comment with a link. If the article helped you, it will likely help some of my other readers!

Let’s Connect!

Take my new Eating Disorder survey!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

Your Health In The News – Nov 27 – Dec 4

News You Can Use

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your news update for the week of November 27-December 4 2011”

Were there any news articles that you saw this week that really grabbed your attention? Leave a comment with a link. If the article helped you, it will likely help some of my other readers!

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE: POISON THE BODY TO BETTER THE TASTE!

Monosodium Glutamate

photo used under a creative commons license

“I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes.  My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity. To this end, I find it of great importance to provide both my patients and readers with relevant nutrition information to aid in their recovery. You can view all my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

INTRODUCTION

Monosodium Glutamate, a food ingredient, was invented in 1908 in Japan, by Kikunae Ikeda. A year later, with a partner, he formed a company, Ajinomoto, to produce the product. The food additive did not appear in the United States to any degree until the late 1940s, following the Second World War. During the war, it had been noted that Japanese soldiers’ rations tasted better than the rations used by our soldiers. The difference was believed to be “monosodium glutamate.” Today, “monosodium glutamate” or its reactive component, “processed free glutamic acid,” is found in almost all of the processed foods that are manufactured in the United States.

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF MSG

In 1957, Lucas and Newhouse found that normal neonatal mice suffered acute degenerative lesions in the inner retina when “monosodium glutamate” was administered by feeding tube. In 1968, during a replication of this study at Washington University Medical School, St., Louis, Missouri, Dr. John W. Olney noted that, some of the mice had become grotesquely obese. He decided to sacrifice some of the mice to confirm his belief that lesions would be found in the hypothalamus region of the brain. Not only was his suspicion confirmed, but further testing indicated that there were also other neuroendocrine effects from the “monosodium glutamate.” His findings were published in 1969. Dr. Olney, a National Academy of Science scientist who is credited for the voluntary removal of MSG from baby food in the 1970s, continues to publish research on the toxicity of glutamic acid, often using “monosodium glutamate.”

In 1968, the New England Journal of Medicine published a Letter to the Editor in which Ho Man Kwok, MD, asked for help in determining why he and his friends suffered reactions shortly after eating in some Chinese restaurants, though he never experienced such reactions when he lived in China. The journal titled the letter “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome,” and researchers from around the country wrote the journal to suggest that Dr. Kwok and his friends’ problem was intolerance to MSG. One letter indicated that 30% of the population reacted to MSG.

In 1969, concerned with the bad reports regarding “monosodium glutamate,” the glutamate industry formed a nonprofit organization to defend the safety of MSG, the International Glutamate Technical Committee. Later, in 1977, they increased their efforts with the development of a nonprofit subsidiary, The Glutamate Association, primarily operating as a public relations arm of the glutamate industry. In about 1990, the glutamate industry turned to the International Food Information Council (IFIC), another nonprofit industry-funded organization, to be their spokesman and to promote the safety of MSG along with the other products that they represent.

MSG IS TOXIC TO HUMANS!

The literature is clear in demonstrating that MSG is toxic to humans and that over 25% of the population suffer adverse reactions from MSG. In the opinion of this writer, the subject is only controversial because of the input of the three organizations mentioned above and because of research they have funded to discredit findings of others and to tell the story that the glutamate industry wants told, research that is flawed to the point of being worthless.

“Monosodium glutamate” is approximately 78% processed free glutamic acid and 22% sodium (salt) and moisture, with about 1% contaminants. It is the processed free glutamic acid that causes people to suffer adverse reactions, and, unfortunately, there are over 40 food ingredients other than “monosodium glutamate” that contain processed free glutamic acid in varying amounts. Consequently, consumers refer to all processed free glutamic acid as MSG, regardless of the name of the ingredient.

People differ in their tolerances to MSG, but typically always suffer similar reactions each time they ingest amounts of MSG that exceed their tolerances for the substance. Reactions experienced vary dramatically, as if MSG finds the weak link in the body. Typically, people will suffer reactions at approximately the same time each time they ingest amounts of MSG that exceed their tolerance levels. However, that time lapse can vary among people from immediately following ingestion of MSG up to 48 hours following ingestion. Use of alcohol or exercise prior to, during or following an MSG-containing meal will exacerbate an MSG reaction in many people. MSG-sensitive people will typically suffer similar reactions to aspartame.

Neuroscientists believe that the young and the elderly are most at risk from MSG. In the young, the blood-brain barrier is not fully developed, exposing the brain to increased levels of MSG that has entered the bloodstream. The elderly are at increased risk because the blood-brain barrier can be damaged by aging, by disease processes, or by injury, including hypertension, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and stroke. Throughout life, the blood-brain barrier is “leaky” at best.

MSG has now been implicated in a number of the neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

In general, the natural glutamic acid found in food does not cause problems, but the synthetic free glutamic acid formed during industrial processing is a toxin. In addition, when MSG is formed using hydrochloric acid the final product includes carcinogens.

MSG IN INFANT FORMULA: BAD FOR YOUR BABY!

A Canadian Study conducted, leaves no room for doubt that ingredients that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and free aspartic acid — known neurotoxins— are used in baby formula. The fact that neurotoxins are present in baby formula is of particular concern since the blood brain barrier is not fully developed in infants, allowing neurotoxins to be more accessible to the brain than is the case in healthy adults.

In studies using experimental animals, neuroscientists have found that glutamic acid and aspartic acid load on the same receptors in the brain, cause identical brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders, and act in an addictive fashion.

You will note that the level of neurotoxins found in the hypoallergenic formula was far greater than the level of neurotoxins found in the other formulas. In reviewing the literature on hypoallergenic formulas, we have found short-term studies that concluded that hypoallergenic formulas are safe because babies tolerated them and gained weight. However, we have not seen any long-term studies on the safety of hypoallergenic formulas. We believe that well designed long term studies would demonstrate that infants raised on hypoallergenic formulas, as compared to infants who are breastfed or fed on non-hypoallergenic formulas, will exhibit more learning disabilities at school age, and/or more endocrine disorders, such as obesity and reproductive disorders, later in life. Long-term studies on the effects of hypoallergenic formulas need to be done.

To put these figures in perspective, consider that in an FDA-sponsored study dated July, 1992 entitled “Safety of Amino Acids Used in Dietary Supplements,” the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology concluded, in part, that “…it is prudent to avoid the use of dietary supplements of L-glutamic acid by pregnant women, infants, and children. . . and. . . by women of childbearing age and individuals with affective disorders.” (MSG is called glutamic acid or L-glutamic acid when used in supplements.)

During the 1960s, the food ingredient “monosodium glutamate” was routinely added to baby foods. The industry “voluntarily” ceased the practice after Congressional hearings in which concerned researchers warned of serious adverse effects. However, for some years following the elimination of “monosodium glutamate,” hydrolyzed proteins were used in place of “monosodium glutamate.” Hydrolyzed proteins always contain MSG.

Many consumers now know to avoid baby foods with hydrolyzed proteins. Yet how many parents realize that MSG lurks in every bottle of formula given to their infants? Babies on hypoallergenic formulas receive about 1 gram of total neurotoxins per day, a level at which many MSG-sensitive individuals experience adverse reactions.

Our advice to you is to do your best to eliminate MSG from your diet. You will feel better. That means avoiding all processed foods. Our advice to investigators of school violence is to investigate the effects of excitotoxins in children’s diets. There are high levels of MSG in soy products and seasoning mixes used in school lunch programs, fast foods and snack foods.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

This article was modified from:

World Health Center: Natural Products and Healing – MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE: POISON THE BODY TO BETTER THE TASTE!

How Has MSG Slowly Been Poisoning America?

Monosodium Glutamate

photo used under a creative commons license

“I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes.  My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity. To this end, I find it of great importance to provide both my patients and readers with relevant nutrition information to aid in their recovery. You can view all my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

MSG – A Pervasive Neurotoxin

This column’s initial focus was on basic naturopathic health principles, encouraging people to incorporate lifestyle changes that include cooking from scratch, eating and growing their own organic food, using herbs, and detoxification protocols. Many readers have asked if we have done a column on MSG. Although I hadn’t done one, it was always on the backburner. Now that so many children and adults have been hoodwinked into squirting the MSG-containing H1N1 nasal spray up their nose and our food supply is literally laced with it even when items are purchased from the health food store, I can no longer postpone sharing with our readers what science has known all along about this toxic substance.

by Ingri Cassel

One of the primary additives used in food products is monosodium glutamate (MSG), a chemical added to enhance flavor. This substance occurs naturally in seaweed and has been used in oriental countries for thousands of years safely since the body is usually able to process this natural form of glutamate. However, in the 1940s, MSG was commercially produced by isolating a part of naturally occurring glutamates as free glutamic acid. It is called “free” because it is not stabilized by a protein as it is in most foods. It is this form of free glutamate that causes so many adverse reactions. Commercial MSG is comprised of processed free glutamic acid, sodium, moisture and about one percent contaminants. It was introduced into commercial food products in 1948 and has been widely used as a flavor enhancer ever since.

MSG is an Excitotoxin

MSG is in a class of chemicals often referred to as excitotoxins. These chemicals excite neurons (nerve cells) throughout the body, literally exciting them to death. At lower concentrations, the neurons themselves do not die but rather the connections between them, called synapses, shrivel and die. Other pervasive excitotoxins are aspartame, mercury, aluminum, L-cystein and sodium fluoride (added to municipal water and toothpaste.) Retired neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, MD (author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills), stated the following:

“It is a rule of neurology that a disorder caused by the destruction of a particular area of the brain… will produce no clinical signs until 70 to 80 percent of the brain area is destroyed.” Blaylock claims there is growing evidence that excitotoxins are a major cause of degenerative brain diseases in adults including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, ALS and MS diseases. He has also stated that once ingested (or injected) excitotoxins interact with one another and increase the toxicity of each chemical a hundred-fold.

John Erb

The man responsible for bringing to the public’s attention the devastating effects of MSG is John Erb, author of The Slow Poisoning of America. After writing his book, he submitted a 24-page report to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives in August 2006, “The Slow Poisoning of Mankind – A Report on the Toxic Effects of the Food Additive Monosodium Glutamate.” In this well-cited document, Erb states:

“The Codex Alimentarius lists Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) as a flavor enhancer with no daily limit to be added to a broad range of food categories. MSG is an amino acid that affects almost every major system and organ in the body. Glutamate receptors trigger many different responses and can be over stimulated to cause cell death and other systemic problems. For thirty years, scientists and researchers have used MSG in their experiments to purposely create obese and pre-diabetic test subjects, trigger epileptic seizures, create ischemic stroles, and destroy cell tissues in vivo and in vitro. The amount of studies that use MSG to cause negative effects in test subject’s numbers over one thousand, published in a variety of medical and scientific journals in over a dozen different countries.

“There is mounting evidence that not only the rise in human obesity and diabetes is linked to the ingestion of Monosodium Glutamate, but the increase in Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder as well.

“In light of the overwhelming evidence showing the detrimental effects of the food additive MSG, it is requested that the FAO/WHO’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) remove monosodium glutamate (and ingredients that contain MSG) from the allowable additives list of the Codex Alimentarius, and have it banned from vaccines as well….

“Because food manufacturers do not have to list the amount of MSG on their packaging, there is no way of knowing how much a normal child or adult would ingest in a day’s period. According to industry research 0.6% added to food is optimal for making people eat progressively more and faster… If this is the case, as much as .6% of a person’s daily diet could be made up of MSG. In a daily intake of 2 kgs of laced food the adult or child would receive a 12 gram dose of monosodium glutamate. A 12 gram dosage of MSG is lethal to a one kg rat.

“Though previous JECFA reports have disallowed MSG in foods for infants or those under one year of age, many infants and children receive doses of MSG in a variety of vaccinations. [See Appendix C.]

“MSG is now being sprayed on crops and can become airborne. Though the Codex Alimentarius specifically disallows MSG addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, Auxigro, with 30% MSG content, has been approved by some countries to be sprayed on crops of fresh fruits and vegetables. Airborne effects of MSG sprays have not been studied by the JECFA.”

The rest of Erb’s report cites several shocking medical journal articles, one dating back to 1975, proving just how toxic this additive is, especially to the developing fetus and newborn. Appendix B of Erb’s report is a complete list of common food ingredients that contain MSG, proving how manufacturers hide the presence of MSG. Also included is part of his Appendix C that lists vaccines containing MSG that are administered to children and adults in the U.S.

John Erb also petitioned the FDA to revoke the GRAS (Generally recognized as safe) status of MSG on December 17, 2007 with a similar document. There were several letters of support submitted to the FDA for Docket ID: FDA-2007-P-0178 . To date, the FDA has taken no action on Erb’s life saving petition.

Appendix B – List of Ingredients Involving MSG

These contain Monosodium Glutamate:

Glutamate, monosodium glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, glutamic acid, gelatin, calcium caseinate, textured protein, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, yeast extract, yeast food, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed), hydrolyzed corn gluten, natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium).

These OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing: Carrageenan, maltodextrin, malt extract, natural pork flavoring, natural chicken flavoring, natural beef flavoring, bouillon and broth, stock, soy protein isolate, citric acid, malt flavoring, ultra-pasteurized, soy sauce, soy sauce extract, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, barley malt, pectin, protease, protease enzymes, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, anything protein fortified, flavor(s) & flavoring(s), anything enzyme modified, anything fermented, natural flavor(s) & flavoring(s), seasonings (the word “seasonings”.)

Note: There is a difference between fermented foods that you make yourself versus ones bought in the store.

Appendix C – List of Vaccines Involving MSG

Note: Gelatin and ingredients that use the word Hydrolyzed contain Glutamate.

MMR – Measles-Mumps-Rubella, Merck & Co., Inc.:

*measles, mumps, rubella live virus, neomycin sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, chick embryonic fluid, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue.

M-R-Vax – Measles-Rubella, Merck & Co., Inc.:

*measles, rubella live virus, neomycin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, chick embryonic fluid, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue.

Attenuvax – Measles, Merck & Co., Inc.:

*measles live virus, neomycin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, chick embryo.

Biavax – Rubella, Merck & Co., Inc.:

*rubella live virus, neomycin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue.

Prevnar Pneumococcal – 7-Valent Conjugate Vaccine, Wyeth Lederle:

*saccharides from capsular Streptococcus pneumoniae antigens (7 serotypes) individually conjugated to diphtheria CRM 197 protein, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, soy protein, yeast.

Varivax – Chickenpox, Merck & Co., Inc.:

*varicella live virus, neomycin phosphate, sucrose, monosodium glutamate (MSG), processed gelatin, fetal bovine serum, guinea pig embryo cells, albumin from human blood, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue.

YF-VAX – Yellow Fever, Aventis Pasteur USA:

*17D strain of yellow fever virus, sorbitol, chick embryo, and gelatin.

An Ever-Present Problem

From hospitals to school cafeterias to nursing homes, MSG is added to mass produced food to increase its palatability. MSG awareness activists call it nicotine for food. Young women today are being exposed to a major toxin causing irreparable damage to their child even before they discover they are pregnant.

Shocked by his discovery, John Erb met with Dr. Thomas Ward, Nova Scotia’s Deputy Minister of Health, a pediatrician who specialized in Neonatology. When Erb explained to Dr. Ward about the dangers of MSG, Dr. Ward replied, “I know how awful the stuff is, I would never touch it.” When Erb pressed the Deputy Health Minister to remove it from all food products, Dr. Ward said that it was an issue for the federal government, and suggested that Erb take his book, The Slow Poisoning of America, to the federal government and “Hit them over the head with it.”

John Erb took his discovery to Dr. Susan Bryson, head of the Autism Research Center in Halifax, and one of the leading Autism scientists in Canada. She was amazed by his findings, and confirmed that current studies being done by the National Institute of Health (NIH) show that the cause of Autism has been linked to a toxin invading the embryo’s brain stem at as early as twenty days after conception. While the NIH had not yet identified the toxin, they just might figure out where to focus their research if they were to pay attention to the thousands of studies performed on rodents using MSG.

“The sooner people know that MSG can cause ADHD and Autism in their unborn children, the sooner they can take steps to avoid being another victim of the steadily increasing numbers of these disorders,” John Erb states. Autism, unheard of before 1950, has now risen to epidemic proportions with one in every 67 children diagnosed with the affliction.

MSG has been hidden in food ingredient lists as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract, soy protein isolate, and many other names. Every year, the amount of this substance hidden in foods rises astronomically. Just because the name MSG does not appear on the label does not mean that the food does not contain the excitotoxin glutamate.

“People should demand that the food industry, both restaurants and food manufacturers, remove the added glutamate in all its forms from anything we ingest,” John Erb states emphatically. “The fact that they add it to make us addicted to their food is appalling enough, but considering it is doing terrible damage to our children, for that there is no excuse. The sooner these corporations are held accountable for poisoning us, the sooner we can eradicate ADHD and Autism from the maternity wards across the nation.”

And MSG is just one of the excitotoxins our children are consuming daily. Aspartame is in nearly all store-bought mints, chewing gum and children’s antibiotics and vitamins; L-cystein is in all commercial bakery products as a dough conditioner; and most food is processed using fluoridated muncipal water supplies. Add this to the fact that the media and government are in collusion with big business to keep this vital information from you and your family. So what can we do? Learn how to cook from scratch and grow a garden, and print out this article so you can make copies and share it with everyone you know.

Let’s Connect!

Take my new Eating Disorder survey!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. //edpro.wpengine.com’

Resources:

1. “The Slow Poisoning of Mankind” by John Erb, visit www.TruthinLabeling.org.

2. “Lifestyle Choices…Up to YOU! Biblical and Health Guidelines for More Abundant Living” by Ginger Woods O’Shea.

3. www.TruthinLabeling.org See “MSG Is Being Sprayed On Fruits, Veggies, Nuts, Grains And Seeds As They Are Growing…Even Those Used In Baby Food.”

This article was modified from //www.healthtruthrevealed.com/articles/093141101/article

Eating Disorder as Addiction

Refeeding, A Step at a Time

Refeeding, A Step at a Time

Re-feeding: What is Normal? 

The central and most difficult issue to be dealt with in the treatment of serious eating disorders is the issue of re-feeding and/or the establishment of a healthy relationship with food. The degree to which the patient can do this determines her success in conquering her disorder. The problem is that “normal” eating is a very complicated phenomenon, let alone the intricacies of re-feeding. This is one of the reasons that the “cure” rate for eating disorders is so low.

In some ways, it is more difficult to treat a severe eating disorder than it is to treat alcoholism or drug addiction. There is no such thing as cold turkey when it comes to eating. We have to eat every day, preferably 5 or 6 times a day. Likewise we cannot avoid the situations that trigger maladaptive eating behavior like the alcoholic or drug addict can do in an attempting to recover from their addictions. We eat for many reasons, under many different circumstances. We eat when we are hungry, not hungry, starving or full. We eat to socialize, to celebrate and to mourn. We eat to reward, nurture or punish ourselves. We eat when we are procrastinating, trying to relax or as part of a “working” breakfast/lunch/or dinner. We eat when we are happy, sad, mad, or for some of us, whenever we feel emotional.

Dieting Doesn’t Work

An equally important part of eating is the whole “not eating” thing, also known as “dieting”.  Ninety-five % of US women believe that they are overweight and 65% of the general population diets. The dieting mind-set is so well ingrained in our society that some 5 and 6 year olds are worrying about how many calories and how much fat is in their Lunchables. Indeed, so many people in the US are dieting that it is a 93 billion dollar a year industry. There are hundreds of “diets”, diet workshops and diet programs, the vast majority of which fail. In fact, without exercise, 95% of all diets fail.

So why do so many people do it?  We try to lose weight out of fear, vanity, pride or guilt or we may diet to feel stronger, more disciplined, superior and/or healthier, or we may just diet because everyone else seems to be doing it. The combination of being bombarded with advertisements  to eat along side strong media pressure to be thin is constant in our culture.

Eating Disorders

All of the above behavior comes under the heading of “normal” eating. For those whose eating problems have risen to the level of a disorder, eating triggers feelings such as euphoria, guilt, shame and intense anxiety. Those suffering from Bulimia or Bulimarexia (restricting, binging and purging or just restricting and purging) engage in mindless eating or bingeing to numb or distract themselves from stressful situations or unhappy thoughts and memories.

Purging by vomiting or abuse of laxatives can last hours, keeping the individual up late into the night or causing her to miss work or school when she cannot resist the impulse to binge and purge during the day. One patient recently described a nightmarish scene in which she could not purge into her toilet because it was broken and so took a chance on using the tub drain as she showered. Unfortunately, the food would not go down that drain either. In horror she continued to vomit into the tub until she was standing in a foot of water thick with vomit.  It took her and her mother hours to scoop the vomitous water out with buckets, which they then had to carry to another bathroom and flush down another toilet.  The unbelievable part?  Though repulsed by the mess, she was astonished and secretly impressed by the amount of vomit that she was able to produce!

Once she has binged (or simply eaten something she is uncomfortable eating) the need to purge is often so compelling that it goes beyond all reason, as in the case above.  However this is a temporary “fix”.  The purging gives the individual a temporary “high” followed by feelings of guilt and anxiety and a determination not to repeat the experience. Unfortunately this leads to restricting, which eventually leads to bingeing and the cycle begins again.

Sounds like drug and alcohol addiction, doesn’t it? Eating disorders are very much like other addictions, i.e. they are part of a classic addictive cycle. This includes an increase in tension, which the addict believes can only be relieved by the “fix”. In most addictions, relief from the fix is of shorter and shorter duration before the cycle begins again. This is what is known as a very vicious cycle.

Though not as obvious, the individual suffering from Anorexia is also an addict of sorts, i.e. she restricts to overcome feelings of inferiority, helplessness and hopelessness and to make herself feel in control. Often, she can only be proud of herself when she is pushing starvation to the extreme. This is her “fix”. Many of my patients describe the feeling of being able to function or stay alive on as few calories as possible as a “high”. Indeed there is scientific evidence that fasting does cause the release of endorphin’s, which do make us feel good. Not coincidentally, they report to the same part of the brain that drugs and alcohol do.

To summarize, even “normal” eating behavior can be stressful. Disordered eating takes over the individual’s life, much like alcoholism and drug addiction take over the addict’s life, robbing her of her relationships, her independence, her health and in far too many cases, her life. The mortality rate for eating disorders is higher than that of any other psychological disturbance.

Unfortunately, eating disorders are less likely to be understood as addictions, and more likely to elicit a judging stance from the general public, families and even a surprisingly high proportion of treating professionals. It seems as though the more serious the disorder, the more likely it is to be viewed as an attempt at getting attention or being manipulative.

Take, for example, the Cincinnati physician that said to one of our very attractive patients suffering from Bulimarexia, “You’re beautiful and you’re rich. You have it all. You should be counting your blessings. Why would you want to do something as stupid as refusing to eat?”

But the topper might be the psychiatrist that had another very attractive patient stand up at her first appointment so that he could “assess” her physique and make the following brilliant observation “Yup, you have breasts, hips and thighs. In other words you have curves, what’s the problem?” Individuals such as this often view Anorexia and Bulimia or Bulimarexia as vanity issues.

What Causes An Eating Disorder?

The causes are complicated and for most of the people suffering from an eating disorder, not the result of one factor, but many. The well-known causes are societal pressures to be thin, peer pressure, a major set-back at a critical point in the individual’s life, such as a loss or a traumatic event, childhood disturbances and/or dysfunctional family relationships, etc. However, there are also bio-physiological issues that play a significant role, although they tend to be poorly understood.

Many eating disorders are driven by cravings that are part of a classic addictive cycle, which may actually be perpetuated by food industry profits. In the early 70’s, the food industry discovered that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was much less expensive than sucrose. This was primarily because it was much sweeter. So, in it went into our foods, everything from baby food to hot dog buns and cigarettes! They ultimately took it out of most of the baby food, but it is still in the cigarettes, just in case cigarettes aren’t addictive enough without the sugar!

In Cincinnati, there are many fast food establishments still using HFCS’s in their buns, including; Arby’s, Blimpie, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Dairy Queen, Jack in the Box, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, and Taco Bell. You’re not safe at the Cincinnati Kroger’s either, or any of the major grocery chains for that matter, since it is actually harder to find foods at the supermarket without HFCS’s, than it is to find foods with it. For example, there are no less than 10 teaspoons of HFCS’s in a single 12 once can of soda. Likewise they are found in almost all snacks, dairy products, condiments, canned goods, cereals, bread, even supplements and vitamins. In total, the average American eats 83 pounds of corn syrup a year plus 66 pounds of sucrose, for a total of 149 pounds of refined sugars.

What does that mean in terms of unnecessary weight gain? Well let’s do the math: We have 159,360 calories from the corn syrup, and 102,168 from the sucrose totaling 261,528 calories per year from sugar. If it takes 3500 calories more than you use in a given period of time to gain 1 pound, that means that unless you work it off, you could gain 75 lbs/year from ingesting sugar you don’t need and probably don’t realize you are eating. To avoid gaining weight from the HFCS’s added to processed foods, the average person would have to run a total of 438 hours per year or 8 hours per week. The net/net of all of the above is to avoid processed foods, i.e. if it didn’t have a face (meat, poultry, fish, fowl) or come out of the ground (fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes), think twice about eating it. (The exception would be dairy products, such as yogurt, soft European cheeses, and milk. The lower fat varieties of these foods are very good for you, especially when they are lactose free.)

Sugar and Eating Disorders

Sugar Cubes

photo used under creative commons license

What does HFCS have to do with eating disorders? For starters, sugar has recently been shown to be the main culprit in insulin resistance, which is the precursor to obesity. In this country, obesity has become the nation’s most critical health problem. Ultimately it leads to such chronic diseases as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. These diseases are threatening to dismantle our entire health care system because of their increased incidence and skyrocketing cost of treatment.

Binge eating, bulimia, and bulimarexia are basically sugar addictions, as most individuals suffering from these disorders binge on simple carb’ s (highly refined foods that are often loaded with HFCS’s). Simple carbohydrates convert to sugar in the blood stream. Research has shown that sugar is as addictive as alcohol and/or cocaine.

Recovery from a food addiction (eating disorder) requires a basic understanding of the addictive nature of food and a commitment to replace the offending food(s) with something equally satisfying but less addictive. Otherwise you find yourself in a perpetual and very vicious cycle of restricting or deprivation (dieting) followed by the onset of withdrawal symptoms (food cravings, obsessive thoughts) a build up of anxiety and behaviors designed to quiet the beast, (bingeing, cutting, compulsive spending, binge drinking) and possibly efforts to compensate (purging with vomiting, excessive exercising, abuse of laxatives and/or diet pills). This leads to guilt and a profound sense of failure, which is followed by renewed determination to stop the cycle by not “eating so much” which is a euphemism for restricting or dieting, at which point the cycle begins again.

Unfortunately, many in an effort to avoid the offending food(s) restrict too much and end up avoiding the foods that could break the cycle, proteins or complex carbohydrates i.e. low fat meats, cheeses and fish or fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead they eat foods that actually contribute to the food addiction and cause the cycle to begin again. For example, so many of my patients avoid all protein because of their fear of fat and eat simple carbs, like pretzels or diet soft drinks when they are in restricting, dieting or “being good”. Or worse, they eat candy that has no fat, like jellybeans, thinking that this is a safer snack than a piece of chocolate or a handful of nuts. The chocolate, especially if it’s dark chocolate, does have some fat, but it has fewer sugars than a bag of jellybeans and, because it is dark chocolate, it has antioxidants. And the nuts have a good deal of fiber, which means that they usually have a glycemic load of 0. (This means that they do not enter the blood stream as a sugar and therefore do not contribute to a sugar addiction, which is the primary culprit in the weight gain that leads to obesity).

The jelly beans, on the other hand, and even the diet drink, make the problem much worse because they enter the blood stream almost immediately as glucose, adding to the sugar addiction, which in turn drives more binging behavior. They also have dyes and additives and no nutritional value. The real kicker however, is the long term negative impact that carb loading followed by purging or restricting has on ones’ metabolism, i.e. it slows it down to such a degree that it is almost impossible for the individual suffering from bulimia to eat normally without gaining weight. Until she understands which foods and supplements will stimulate her metabolism instead of suppressing it, she is stuck in this terrible self-perpetuating vicious cycle.

Once she understands how delicious real food can be and how much more of it she can eat without fear of gaining weight if she is exercising and supplementing, she has begun the journey toward a healthy relationship with food and the end of her eating disorder. But this requires courage, patience and lot’s of support from family, friends and allied professionals.

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2008, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

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