Doctor, an addictions specialist, explains food addiction

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Here's a great rundown of food addiction as it interacts with, and sometimes substitutes for, addictions that most everyone acknowledges more easily. The writer is Dr. Vera Tarman, medical director of a Toronto treatment center.

Woeful misunderstanding of food, addiction

Over at, the writer Evan Winchester shows severe gaps in his understanding of the food experience of tens of millions of Americans in his April 22 piece, "Is Food Addiction a Real Eating Disorder?"

I was moved by his piece to offer three points of rebuttal, which I then decided to expand on and share beyond just the readers of his post. I hope the context will be sufficient...

Soda isn't the sole cause, but it's a great place to start

Note to devious mouthpieces of Big Food ("Always with the negative waves, man."):

Something needn't the sole cause of a problem to be a cause of a problem. So when you fault any attempt to curb consumption of sugary sodas because soda isn't the sole cause of obesity, you're just obscuring the truth.

No, sugary soda is not solely responsible. The problem and its contributors are varied, confusing, and sometimes conflicting.

Buried under mountains of sugar

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The onslaught of sugar in the American diet and its effect on our ability to sense sweetness — and other outcomes — is the subject of this speech I gave to my Toastmasters club last week. The assignment was to present a researched and sourced contention.

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Just because we can, should we?

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I was reading a lengthy-but-completely-on-target article in the British newspaper The Telegraph on sugar dependence — boy, the Brits are much more on top of this topic than American media is — when I noticed this "top stories" box at its bottom.

Sex and food, yes, but the last entry is what moved me to share it.

"Low sugar hot fudge sauce" exemplifies what I consider some of the most pernicious threads of modern humanity:

The ED establishment throws a bone to biology

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I ran across a page from the National Eating Disorder Association that I thought was worth a few grafs (as in "paragraphs," a vestige of newspaper-ese). The page’s headline is “Factors That May Contribute to Eating Disorders.”

The good news  is that one of the subheadings is “Biological Factors That Can Contribute to Eating Disorders.” I, of course, expend a lot of my time promoting the biological aspect, without which “food addiction” would be the empty suit its detractors paint it.

Abstinence makes the body more aware

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I’ve got a big raspberry for the Polar beverages vendor at my local market. He lost focus in what I’m sure is a mind-numbing part of his job, and the result for me was a headache, dry mouth, and not a little bit of consternation.

It is a weakness of mine that no matter what I’m in that market for, I stop by the soda aisle and pop open a liter of whatever, and yesterday it was Polar's diet raspberry lime. I’m a fairly careful shopper, especially when it comes to sugar or sugar-free, and I was definitely in the sugar-free area.

One scary statement

I thought I was done blogging about my experiences at the Binge Eating Disorder Association's national conference, but a line uttered during the panel I participated in keeps clanging around in my head:

"When I hit 700 pounds, my health started to go down hill."

It was said by Marybeth Quist, who shared her experience as a bariatric surgery survivor on the panel. Even in a sharply sad story where even the ups had downs, that statement of hers has just kept coming back.

Overweight isn't *the* issue, but it often is *an* issue

A gaggle of eating disorder groups put out a release this week praising Michelle Obama for comments she made about weight during a Google Hangout, emphasizing healthy lifestyle and avoiding any talk about weight with her daughters.

I, of course, talk about weight all the time. Few topics, including this one, are black and white, but I acknowledge the gulf.


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