Addiction

What might self-talk reveal?

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I recently heard from “Joan,” whom I’ve met through publication of “Fat Boy Thin Man.” Though she’s quite aware that whatever I can share is limited by my experience and not informed by scientific study, we often settle into mentor/newcomer roles. Here’s a deconstruction of excerpts from her most recent letter, because sometimes our underlying thinking reveals quite a lot that we might not otherwise recognize:


RIP, Bart Hoebel

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I didn't know Bart Hoebel well; anyone who did might be offended to hear that I think I knew him at all. But I did spend a weekend with him, and about 50 others, a few years ago, and he left an impression.

Hoebel, a psychologist at Princeton who led ground-breaking research on addiction to sugar, died last week at age 67.


Sensitivity-to-sweetness study

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This study finds that regular exposure to sugar-laden drinks dulls the drinker's sensitivity to sweetness, requiring more substance to get the same hit.

You wouldn't necessarily know this, but that's one of the seven official standards the American Psychiatric Association uses to diagnose addiction: Increasing tolerance.


The learning curve of moderation?

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"Food addiction — nah"

That's the dismissive headline atop another of the serially disappointing blogs of psychcentral.com, this time written by Pittsburgh therapist Pavel G. Somov, which says in part:

"If you have labeled yourself as a food addict, I suggest you retire this psychologically toxic concept from your mind. You are a seeker of wellbeing who is still mastering the learning curve of moderation."

OMG, sir, if you only knew. Which clearly you don't. (Though I'll acknowledge for the record that we're just two guys spoutin' on the Net, and that he's a Ph.D. and I'm not.)


Yes, I do use artificial sweeteners

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This post feels like one of those "full disclosure" statements. I blog incessantly (but, of course, oh so interestingly!) about the attributes of processed sugar, especially lately. And the question could certainly be asked, "so what do you do for sweetness?"

 

It's more than an idle question: Science shows quite conclusively that we are hard-wired to seek out sweetness (**see below for my favorite "proof."), and I'm as hard-wired as the next guy.


Audio from "Where We Live"

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Even though it was a great hour of radio, I've been lax in linking to the audio from my appearance Monday on "Where We Live," the hourlong show on WNPR-FM and Connecticut Public Radio. Though I've no reason to, it could be I'm getting blase about such appearances. Even though I have no reason to. I love doing them, and I'm grateful for each opportunity.


On personal responsibility, again

In my focused world, the release of Ashley Gearhardt's (et. al) study advancing the evidence for food addiction has been a welcome thunderbolt from several directions. Unreservedly.

But nothing is perfect, and I must quarrel with the report's closing words:


More science of food addiction

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It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of being seen, especially by an entity with the broad reach of a national television network, but it helps me to get back, as quickly as possible, to the real issue, which is food addiction.

The core of my message, in "Fat Boy Thin Man" and on this blog, is that food addiction is real and that both for individuals and for all of us collectively, important changes will necessarily follow once we understand.


Dietitians and food addiction

In the mediocre film "Lunch Line," which I saw a week ago Sunday as part of the Museum of Science's "Let's Talk About Food" series, famed "lunch lady" Ann Cooper makes the observation that "many registered dietitians don't have a strong background in cooking and food."


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