Harvard College Health Advocacy Program

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Filling the Void and Frosting the Fear

By on January 9, 2014

Food Addiction.  In an era where one state has legalized marijuana and scientists are discovering the epigenetic tags that could predispose people to alcoholism and frequent drug use, addiction seems to be lurking its scaly head everywhere.

Even in food.  Eating is meant to be one of the many outlets for engaging in community togetherness, and for feeding the body and soul with nutrients.  But in times of stress, anxiety or depression, some turn to the sugary/salty/buttery comfort of junk foods.  And thus the vicious cycle of food addition begins with its own set of psychological and physiological difficulties.

But just as other forms of addiction, there are deeply set, often psychological causes for becoming addicted to any sort of chemical (yes, the sugar and fat can cause a chemical high rivaling that from cocaine).  Which offers up some good news.  Tackle the cause of the addiction, and eliminate the reflex.  Clearly, sugary foods are not addicting in the way that certain drugs are, making the process of ending food addiction much easier.  Check out this article by CNN writer Amy Chillag as she shares her triumph over the (seemingly) uncontrollable urge to down a pint of coffee ice cream nearly every day.

With all things, knowing when to stop–and stopping– often provides the greatest pleasure.

–posted by Gita Bhattacharya, ’16

Posted in: Food

Harvard College Health Advocacy Program's mission is to connect Boston youth and Harvard undergraduates with health education and wellness resources so that they may actively pursue a healthy lifestyle. To achieve this goal off-campus, HAP's mentors work with elementary, middle, and high school students to teach hands-on health curricula covering topics such as nutrition, exercise, food advertising, and music and noise induced hearing damage in youth. On-campus, HAP promotes our mission by hosting health-themed study breaks, group exercise socials, and resourceful cooking seminars. We believe bringing together undergraduates passionate about healthy living will enable us to improve the health of the communities in which we live.


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