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Is the West a society of addicts? Or: the change of food

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posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:18 AM
We all know about the obesity 'epidemic' that is sweeping the world in ever-increasing numbers. It's now even a greater problem than hunger and it's spreading to developing nations as well. In several countries the majority of the population is now at least overweight and despite media campaigns and worrying news of the increasing pressure on the healthcare system along with all the known health risks that are being repeated into oblivion (so much that you can hardly 'hear' it anymore...we now all know the diabetes-heart disease-clogged arteries etc list) the numbers of overweight and obese people are increasing. More people get fat and those that are already fat, get even fatter.

Losing weight seems like a major struggle to many. While one shouldn't diet, one should embrace a healthy lifestyle even if that means that the weight loss will be a bit slower. We all know the mantras of exercise at least 30 minutes a day, eat enough veggies etc to lose weight and maintain it. If I'm not mistaken children get to hear it already, we read it in magazines, we see it repeated on the tv (if you have one, at least) all the time.

Many people who are obese aren't happy about that. So, why don't they ''just'' embrace the new lifestyle?

I think that is where it becomes more complex. The logical solution would be to eat healthier and walk more often, yet so many people fail at doing so. What is the mechanism behind that? I'm suspecting there's a major behavioural problem we're not properly addressing. Are we a society of food addicts and people with eating disorders?

It's starting to become more obvious that especially among the obese there're people who definitely display addict behaviours and have a hard if not impossible time in controlling their eating. Besides that, food culture rapidly changed since let's say the 1950s.

I myself find the matter rather interesting, also because I've had episodes of overeating during bad and too stressy times but I became aware of that soon enough so that I could fight it in time and because of that, never have been even close to overweight. In fact, we live in highly fascinating and strange times because suddenly, we abandoned traditional and 'normal' food on a massive scale and have now for the first real time access to huge amounts of food for low prices. The traditional meal is going out the door and it seems as if our relation with food is becoming more complex and difficult all the time.

I wondered: What causes this? I found one documentary highly interesting on this matter:

Yup, it's long.

Is it an addiction?
I don't know if there's actually a definitive answer in terms of addiction. For instance, when I had such 'periods' which never really lasted long as I curbed them I did notice that cravings can be rather intense; I guess I have an addictive personality and should watch out. But is that an addiction? Of course there's a distinction between psychological and physical addiction. If we look at the signs and symptoms of ''eating addiction/food addiction''' it indicates a psychological basis. Also, we must not forget those who even become immobile due to their eating issues. If they are not addicted, why would they get to that point?

Signs of Food Addiction
Researchers at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy have developed a questionnaire to identify people with food addictions.

Here's a sample of questions that can help determine if you have a food addiction. Do these actions apply to you? Do you:

End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
Keep eating certain foods even if you're no longer hungry
Eat to the point of feeling ill
Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
When certain foods aren't available, go out of your way to obtain them.

The above text indicates a strong or mostly psychological aspect.

Here we have:

Signs of Food Addiction continued...
Do these situations apply to you:

You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.


Seems pretty problematic!

When you cut down on certain foods (excluding caffeinated beverages), do you have symptoms such as:

Other physical symptoms

Do these situations apply to you?

Eating food causes problems such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, or guilt.
You need to eat more and more food to reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure.
Eating the same amount of food doesn't reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure the way it used to.

Hmm, would it actually exist?

Rapid changes in food culture
I like to read and watch documentaries about all kinds of things including social subjects and society, as well as 'how did this society as we know it now came to be. In that regard, above posted docu might be very interesting as it shows the rapid change in what food is, what constitutes as food and how it's manufactured in such a way that you want to eat more of it.

Candy bars and such have been made to add an additional meal in children's and people's lives. Now most people take these things for granted but it started out (in much smaller portions of course) as a treat before dinner that'd soothe your hunger but wouldn't make you 'full' before the meal and companies started to advertise highly sugary soft drinks, cookies, candy bars and whatnot as 'healthy' or at least harmless, leading to increasing food consumption. Little is as clever as simply creating a new daily meal, meaning more to sell! Fast food started to emerge in especially the second part of the 20th century after which it developed to what we have today. If you watch the video you see how clever they were in using 'psychological tricks' to make maximum profit out of the portion sizes.

There're many cleverly thought-out tricks but one of the consequences is now that America is famous for its humongous food portions.

If you do a quick search on Google you see that many people filed lawsuits against specific fastfood chains or the fastfood industry in general, blaming them for their obesity. What is your take on that?

Are they deliberately making us addicted to their foods? And is the outcome of all this that we're a society of addicts, or that people just have self-control issues and no industry is to blame, nor is there an addiction to speak of?

Does the majority now have disordered eating? Do you think that your country increasingly is a nation of addicts?

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:29 AM
a reply to: Pitou

Of course food is a form of addiction.

Try living without some.

The point is, even animals have this addiction. And sometimes it actually even work at their advantage. The walrus can survive cold because of his fat's insulating capability. The bear can hibernate and last for months without eating, since he has a reserve of fat.

Maybe the "epidemic" of obesity is less than a psychological disorder, and actually more of a basic survival instinct now gone wrong.

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:29 AM
I think social conditioning has a lot to do with it. We are told that we should eat breakfast, lunch and dinner but that is not strictly true.

My partner was steadily gaining weight and always trying to diet and fail. I suggested she cut out all sugar and have a good breakfast, skip lunch and have a good dinner in the evening(theres a little scince behind doing this)

Shr really struggled with the withdrawal from sugar and the sensation of not eating lunch troubled her.

This was four months ago and she can't eat vey sweet things now as it makes her feel queasy and is steadily loosing weight in a healty manner.

The really interesting thing is that She actually increased her fat intake by quite a bit and yet still weighs less, has no cravings and feels happier and healthier.

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:31 AM
You can become addicted to everything. Humans are creatures of habit. What are habits other than addictions? Your brain likes chasing that pleasure high that it gets from releasing pleasure neurotransmitters every time you do something you "enjoy". Why else do you think that it is hard to break "bad" habits?

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:33 AM
There is evidence to suggest this.

According to some boffins fructose is never used as a fuel but is automatically stored as fat to be used over winter when food is scarce.

That never happens anymore so the fat never gets burned it just accumulates over the year, also you have no off switch for eating fructose as your body would have needed to gorge on fruits when they were abundant to give you a high chance of survivng winter.

Add that to the massive amounts of fructose in todays food and you have yourself an obesity epidemic.
a reply to: swanne

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:46 AM
a reply to: nonspecific


posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:46 AM
a reply to: Pitou

It's my own personal suspicion that this is a result of people becoming mentally weaker.
Everyone is getting offended by all the most asinine crap.
No one is responsible for their actions anymore.

Everyone seems to have some type of excuse for all their failings.
Everyone has some kind of "condition"
I'm depressed
I have a thyroid problem
I have a chemical imbalance.
My parents didn't love me enough.

I think it's just that western civilization is producing a bunch of weak bitches.

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 07:50 AM
a reply to: watchitburn

I had depressions, epidoses of love shortage, chemical imbalances, and, in addition, I have a vision mutation. Yet I am skinnier then a street rat.

How do you explain that?

It's not just "all in the head". Sometimes the answer is more complex than just mere prejudice against those with different psychological profile.

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 08:01 AM
all of my younger years I was a very picky eater... lean foods was the order of the day
additionally I was very active, grew up on a dairy farm...

even in the military, with all the free food I remained lean

after college, hippy life, and then a life changing car accident, I started getting 'thick'...

I blame it on all he processed foods we unthinkingly consume, the food processor suppliers don't just use lean chicken breast meat in their 'nuggets' no--- the fatty thighs/backs/ preacher-noses, wing tips with no meat are all ground up, bleached into a 'white chicken meat' substance... breaded then fried & sold to the unsuspecting consumer...
~~ the product does in fact make you sick or least until you develop a tolerance for the junk food parts which are disguised/hidden to you (but your stomach system knows) ~~~

this same process is repeated with salamis, bologna, now beef/turkey & all lunch meats or deli selections... there is no getting away from 'processed' foods in this modern age...
ADD: the insight given by nonspecific about the massive use of fructose (a sweetner product) as a 'natural ingredient' in lable contents

the animal food-feed is laced with all sorts of steroids/anti-biotics, growth hormones, etc

so even free range meat supplies are impossible to keep pristine with all the GMO grains foisted on the environment

the battle of the bulge begins with the mega food suppliers/processors...
the beer belly folks of history were subject to excessive carbs, pasta and beer/stout/lager/pilsner...etc
(which is also now my waterloo)
edit on th31141899817819092014 by St Udio because: (no reason given)

edit on th31141899825019102014 by St Udio because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 09:53 AM
Fructose is actually a natural ingredient, It is a form of sugar along with glucose, lactose and maltose.

The issue is not with fructose which occurs naturally in fruit and vegatables it is the addition of it to just about every food on the market.

It is not so much addiction with fructose but that we are hardwired to consume as much of it as possible. If you are not aware of that and the industry is filling you full of it then you will become obese and diabetic.

I actually belive that in the not to distant future the big companies that have been well aware of this and doing it anyway will end up being held accountable for it.

A simple tip is to buy ingredients not food.

a reply to: St Udio

edit on 1220141243pAmerica/Chicago2014-12-19T09:57:43-06:0057f57 by nonspecific because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 10:33 AM
I watched a documentary about obesity in India, McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants are opening up there. The food was tested for nutrients and compared with the same sold in other countries and it was found that the food sold in India was even less healthy. Indians are more prone to diabetes and the program was showing a 16 year old that was mortally obese and was having a gastric band fitted.

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 10:46 AM
My mother in law is a dietican and she says that the fastest growing demographic for type 2 diebetes is Indians in the UK

Its a massive shock to the system.

a reply to: Itisnowagain

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 11:06 AM
a reply to: nonspecific

It is a huge problem in India. The junk food and glucose syrup combo is doing it. The fat that goes on will never come off - I saw a monkey that had been fed on junk food with a big belly that had been rescued and had been on a good diet for years but the belly never went.
The pharmaceutical companies are the winners!!
edit on 19-12-2014 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 11:11 AM
I don't wish to go too of topic but when you have one industry making you sick and another selling medices to make you "better" and they both have the same rich investors then it's not too hard to figure out in my opinion.

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 11:16 AM

originally posted by: nonspecific
I don't wish to go too of topic but when you have one industry making you sick and another selling medices to make you "better" and they both have the same rich investors then it's not too hard to figure out in my opinion.

The establishment doesn't want you to be healthy. Even doctors don't make you healthy - I read a book called 'Why doctors don't make you healthy'.
Big Pharma. Red pill or blue pill?

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 03:53 PM
a reply to: swanne

I guess you have a point in that sense, but don't we also have the brain to say ''I shouldn't be doing this''?

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 03:55 PM
a reply to: nonspecific

Good for her!
As far as I understood fat on itself isn't that bad to begin with, if of the right type or something. But good she dropped the sugary part of her diet, not just because of weight or health-related reasons but also because indeed, it doesn't really make you feel that great.

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 03:58 PM
a reply to: St Udio

Eventually it's best to drop all processed foods or foods with more than... let's say... 5 ingredients (that you know). Easier said than done though, these days

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 03:58 PM
a reply to: nonspecific

Sounds interesting, do you have a source for that?

posted on Dec, 19 2014 @ 03:59 PM
a reply to: Pitou

A brain which has to fight against millions of years of genetic programming - the programming of the most basic survival instinct: "I have to feed to survive".

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