Why You Can’t Lose Weight: Foods as Addictive as Hard Drugs

Junk Food = Junk Mood = Food Cravings = Brain Dopamine
Success in weight loss means learning to manage your dopamine in healthy ways.
There is a connection between obesity, drug addiction, and the chemicals in our food.

Most Americans eat brain altering foods everyday, beginning in infancy.

New research from major research institutions reveals addictive chemicals in foods as a major factor in the current epidemic of obesity in the U.S.

CLICK ON the image below: the same brain effects are seen for cocaine and food!

Engineering an Overeater – Searching For a Feeling of Reward and Enjoyment

(CLICK HERE: Scientific American Article — Addicted to Fat)

To start an addictive cycle, dopamine must be felt.

Many people with substance abuse (and overeating) issues have a low level of dopamine receptors, either from the outset or caused by the behavior, meaning they increasingly have to seek more dopamine-inducing substances to reach a level of neurochemical reward they can enjoy.

After someone dependent on a substance stops using it, however, it takes time for depleted dopamine receptors to return to baseline.  During this resetting the person may feel down, irritable, or lethargic.

For mice addicted to cocaine, it can take 2 days to regain dopamine. The obese rats in the new study (w/ low dopamine) took 2 weeks to regain their baseline density of receptors.

The quantity of dopamine receptors affects eating behavior. Dopamine D2 receptors are know to affect alcoholism and substance abuse.

If the D2 receptors are low, the person may not feel rewarded, happy, or content. When substances or behaviors stimulate these DOPAMINE D2 RECEPTORS, the person has a feeling of contentment and well-being. This can predispose to developing a craving for high fat, high sugar addictive food additives.

Once the D2 receptors are stimulated by addictive foods it can take WEEKS FOR THE SENSITIVITY OF THE DOPAMINE SYSTEM TO RETURN TO NORMAL. If addictive foods are not eliminated, this roller-coaster of cravings and emotions can continue unabated.

Genetics  play a role in the likelihood of becoming obese—in both metabolic and neurochemical systems.

In humans, for example, one genetic flag known as the TaqIA A1 allele has been linked to fewer D2 receptors as well as drug addiction and obesity.

10 Summary Points: Weight Gain May NOT Be a Lack of  Willpower

1__Are Americans are being lured into addiction by additives in PROCESSED FOODS?


CLICK on the image – CBS Video – Your Brain on Ice Cream

CLICK HERE – CBS News Video- Your Brain on Ice Cream

It can take 5 days for your brain to recover from palmitic acid, a saturated fat. What has palmitic acid? Ice cream, cheese, animal fats…

2__Food stimulates dopamine as powerfully as cocaine, alcohol, and heroin.

Those with low brain dopamine may not feel good in general.

After eating food that raises dopamine, there may be a BRIEF feeling of well-being (the foundation of addiction, but a “pleasure trap”).

Learning to manage and understand dopamine and the “false pleasures” is key to a lean body and feeling good.

Dopamine can be stimulated in healthy ways – exercise, SAMe, tyrosine, sleep, etc.

3__Do the chemicals in food predispose to anxiety, depression, and addictions?

Starting at BIRTH, and continuing every day, we are exposed to NUTRIENT DEPLETED, brain altering food additives.

4__When the TYPICAL AMERICAN FAST-FOOD DIET is exported anywhere in the world, within 1 generation the obesity rates, cancer rates, and disease rates rise to equal those in the U.S.

(The U.S. is #1 in expenditures on health care and 140th in health.)

5__Your body produces hormones that control eating by telling your brain: “stop eating”, “you are full”, “please stop eating”, “I feel terrible”, “this junk is making me sick” – BUT, you can’t here your hormones.

After eating JUNK FOOD, your brain cannot hear any of these signals.

After eating brain altering food,  your brain hears: “I feel great”, “this is fun”, “this is pleasure”, “eat as much of this as fast as possible”, “this won’t hurt me”, “I deserve a treat”, etc.

6__If you go on a “diet” and lose weight, but continue eating food with addictive chemicals, you will eventually gain the weight back, and usually more.

The 1st step in a successful weight loss program (and the most difficult step) may be to stop addicting foods, and eat real whole foods.

7__Your brain will take 6 months to normalize after stopping addictive foods and substituting with real whole foods.

8__Animal’s brains infused with addictive chemicals immediately showed brain changes (addiction), and these LASTED 3 DAYS after just one “hit”!

This means that if you don’t eat any JUNK FOOD for 5 days, and “reward” yourself with pizza, ice cream, and candy on the weekend, you will continuously be on the addiction roller coaster.  This is because it takes days for the brain to recover sensitivity to the STOP EATING hormone signals (these hormones are called LEPTIN and INSULIN).


By finding healthy (real whole unprocessed food) substitutes for the chemical-laden “food” the brain will begin to respond to true signals.  This is a key to long-term health, a normal weight, and real pleasure (not the false pleasure of food addiction).

An example is chocolate. Real chocolate is very healthy.  Candied chocolate is addictive due to the additives. Find high quality dark chocolate substitutes for candied chocolates.

10__Real whole unprocessed foods have the healthy chemicals that your cells need to function well.

Read food can REPAIR the damage. Vegetables and fruit are critical in this process.

A blueberry may have thousands of beneficial chemicals your cells need to function optimally. So, not only may this help normalize your weight and shape, you may have more energy, feel better, and be protected from the epidemic of medical problems caused by a nutrient depleted diet.

Neal Barnard, MD – An Explanation of Food and Morphine-like Effects on the Brain

Health and a Lean Body = Nutrient Density of Your Food: Joel Fuhrman, MD

Toxic Hunger and Nutrient Density by Joel Fuhrman, MD