Yesterday I was flipping through the channels and I stopped on Dr. Oz because he was talking about food, one of my favorite subjects! Dr. Oz was setting up a segment by asking if people experience the following symptoms: constantly thinking about food, or wanting to eat all the time. It sounded like me, so I kept listening. What he was actually talking about was food addictions. He continued by giving the following symptoms of food addicts: hiding food in your house, your desk, or your car and eating in secret so others will not see you; feeling shame associated with eating food so it is done in secret; thinking about food for more than one hour a day and using food as a diversion from dealing with emotional issues; eating after arguments or disagreements with others to numb the discomfort of argument; withdrawal symptoms--actual physical symptoms of dizziness or shaking if you go without food; and feeling the need to eat even if you are not hungry.
As I read through the symptoms it is important to differentiate food addiction from being overweight, obese or having type 2 diabetes associated with being overweight. The key to identifying a food addiction is that there is a strong emotional component that is motivating all of the behavior. For example, someone who likes food and overeats could be overweight or obese. If you eat to fill an emotional void then you have a food addiction. If you feel dizzy or shaky because you have not eaten in awhile and you take your blood sugar and it is extremely low, and you are a diabetic or you are experiencing reactive hypoglycemia, then you have a disease that needs to be treated. If you feel shaky and your blood sugar is normal then you are a food addict.
If after reading these symptoms you are concerned that you might have a food addiction my recommendation would be to get a physical and some bloodwork by your naturopathic or medical physician to rule out any other disease processes. I would also make an appointment with a counselor or mental health practitioner to be evaluated for food addiction.