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Doctors hope to curb food addiction

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As national obesity rates continue to rise, University of Florida researchers are looking to modify the way people look at food.

Doctors have found that eating processed, sugary foods can be cause addiction similarly to cigarettes, alcohol or cocaine.

Dr. Mark Gold, chairman of Psychiatry at UF’s College of Medicine, said he uses a written test to evaluate and determine if someone is addicted to food.

He said it’s never the patients fault, and it’s a common problem that needed diagnosis and treatment.

“This is a very important public health problem and everyone’s sensitive to the fact that there’s personal costs for the patients — the costs for the society,” he said.

Doctors say students are especially vulnerable to food addiction caused by the constant stress of school.

“I feel like most people resort to that during stressful situations,” said Jonathan Augustin, a UF student.

Augustin said he used food as outlet to overcome his stress, especially if he had just failed a test.

“I’m just like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to eat just to get over it,” he said.

Chris Alcantara wrote this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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  • Dr. Pamela Peeke, MD

    Research shows direct evidence of lasting and fundamental injuries to a part of the brain that helps us regulate our food intake. Within three days of being placed on a
    high-fat diet, a rat’s hypothalamus shows increased inflammation; within a week, researchers see evidence of permanent scarring and neuron injury in an area of the brain crucial for weight control. Brain scans of obese men and women show this exact pattern as well.

    The good news — and there IS good news — is that a program of foods high in dopamine- and serotonin-boosting chemicals, along with numerous brain-amping activities (from simple exercise to listening to music) can regrow those receptors and bring the confidence of fulfillment and health.

  • Eating too much is directly related to your emotions. 2 studies and Dr. Leankly showed that overeating is related to depression and abuses. In over 75% of people prior depression and abuses cause overeating. Most who suffer with obesity also have prior emotional problems that can lead to overeating and food addictions.

    It is time to stop blaming all obesity on lack of will power; most overeating is from depression and emotional issues. The person wants to eat less but cannot

    See here http://foodaddictions.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/depressiondepressed-and-eating-too-much/””