Jonesing for Food

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

What if I were to tell you that your impulse to eat excessively may not entirely be your fault?  What if you were to learn that your “addiction” to food maybe due, in part, to a genetic predisposition?  For years the idea that a person could have an increased propensity to an

 Jonesing for Food

Food Addict

 addictive personality was rejected, or at the very least questioned.  How could their be a genetic connection when siblings did not share addictions on a consistent basis.  If one sibling had a Cocaine problem, shouldn’t the other experience this problem as well?  Scientists from Cambridge University have discovered that siblings do share these genetic markers.  The explanation for this phenomenon is not that one sibling is more inclined than another; rather, it was discovered that one siblings social experience or nurture experience can have a significant impact on whether or not they succomb to these addictive propensities.  Essentially, it was discovered that a person inclined to addictive activity had brain abnormalities that affected impulse control.  It isn’t impossible to control these impulses but these abnormalities make it more likely that a person will fall victim to these impulses.   

In the article the scientists made reference to obesity as an impaired control disorder.  I have met many addicts throughout my career as a law enforcement officer.  The general observation I have made is that their impaired control is not limited to any one vice.  If they are able to control one addiction, it is not uncommon for them to replace it with another.  Many of them espoused extreme views in all aspects of their lives.  If they were going to smoke, they were going to smoke a lot.  If they were going to drink coffee they were going to finish the pot and drink it black.  In the end, an addictive oriented person is going to find their addiction. 

I do not believe that it is impossible to control these compulsions, but it is obviously more challenging for people suffering from impaired control disorders.  The Federal government is now talking about regulating sugar thinking that they can control our behavior when it comes to what we eat.  I think there is a lack of understanding…at least when it comes to those “suffering” from obesity.  Based upon the Cambridge study, I do not believe most obese people will stop eating sugary foods.  They will do whatever it takes to get their “drug” of choice.  It will just be more expensive and more difficult to get.