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Food Cravings Can be As Bad as Drugs, Study Reports

Update Date: Aug 21, 2013 10:48 AM EDT

Almost everyone can say that they love to eat and taste all of the multiple flavors that foods offer. However, even though food is a necessity, there is a fine line between being sufficiently nourished and excessively indulgent. People who cannot control their cravings for delicious food might risk obesity and other health complications. Despite the risk, sometimes the cravings might be too strong. According to a recent survey, researchers discovered that food cravings could be as bad as drugs for some people.

In this survey, 5,139 members of Slimming World, a weight loss organization located in the United Kingdom, answered questions about their relationship with food. The data revealed that 94 percent of the participants stated that they have consumed food with a high fat content in order to lift their moods. Even though the participants did turn to food to solve some of their problems, they did not do so without feeling remorse. 83 percent of the participants admitted feeling like they failed themselves by turning to food when their moods were low. They also criticized themselves for not being able to stay on their diet.

Two out of three of the participants who experience the urges to eat stated that they felt judged by society. Three out of four of the Slimmers felt that the society made unhealthy eating so easy with advertisements for bad food options showing up everywhere. 80 percent of the people stated that getting an unhealthy snack after 10p.m. was very easy. 76 percent of the people surveyed felt that their weakness to food was comparable to an addict's weakness for drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. Over 50 percent of them stated that when they did fulfill their cravings, they felt a buzz that could be similar to a high that a drug addict would feel after taking drugs.

"We live in a world that encourages people to eat more unhealthily. People get used to using certain foods as a way to try to make themselves feel better and it becomes a habit, so when they are feeling down they are always likely to turn to those foods and it quickly becomes a cycle," the research specials at Slimming World, Dr. James Stubbs said according to Daily Mail. "With high fat and high sugar foods being so readily available it is really difficult for people to ignore those signals. There is real danger is it is very easy for people to enter into a vicious cycle where they try to take comfort in food when they are feeling down, but then feel guilty and judged for what they perceive as a lack of self control."

This survey was conducted as a part of a BBC2 documentary that aims to analyze the effects of food on people's emotions. The documentary focuses on how slimming clubs and programs work to help people change their diets and maintain their weight. This documentary, "Welcome to the World of Weight Loss," will air tonight at 9p.m on BBC2. 

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