When food=drug

26 Mar

Drug:

  • A chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body
  • Something, often an illegal substance, that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness

I watched Super Size Me for the first time last week and let me just say, WOW!  We all know by now that fast food is inherently bad for our health, so it’s not  surprising that a diet of fast food and mammoth size portions of sugar, salt, trans fats, and hormone/steroid drenched meat had deleterious effects even in the short term.  What is shocking is just how much damage director Morgan Spurlock does to his otherwise picture perfect health in the span of less than 30 days. Even scarier, the  fact that as his health continues to precipitously decline, Spurlock has an extremely hard time stopping his consumption of the fast food.  In a word, he becomes addicted to the fast food within a short two week period of time. He literally feels lethargic, weak, and unsatisfied until he get his fast-food “fix.” I think this film really poses a greater question:

Should fast food be regulated like drugs?

Recent research from the Scripps Research Institute has confirmed that fast food and highly processed foods like fast food have a profound impact on the neurological systems and hormonal systems on the body that mimic the chemical addictiveness experienced by heavy using drug addicts.

To quote:

“”These findings confirm what we and many others have suspected…that overconsumption of highly pleasurable food triggers addiction-like neuroadaptive responses in brain reward circuitries, driving the development of compulsive eating. Common mechanisms may therefore underlie obesity and drug addiction.”

The key words here are common mechanisms that underlie the addictiveness! Essentially, these data show that fast food is as addictive as heroin!

I posit that based on what these data show, that foods meeting certain thresholds with sodium, sugar, fat, simple carbohydrates, and chemical by-products are chemically no different than drugs and should therefore be treated as such. I  do believe very strongly in free will and smart life decisions for optimal health, but people who eat massive amounts of fast food are addicts and policy to limit the amount of these illicit substances and food would greatly reduce the chronic disease burden that continues to negatively impact society.

Being Healthbent Entrepreneur that I am, maybe it would be the perfect time to open an addiction clinic for fast food addicts? Maybe develop a pharmaceutical drug that curbs fast food addiction?  Sadly, these would probably be lucrative marketplaces to enter. Just, fast-food for thought…

Always going for glory!

Craig Steinfeld

@CESteinfeld

Healthbent Entrepreneur

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