May 15, 2023

Binge Eating Disorders and the Addictive Qualities of Trigger Foods


The awareness that food can be addictive is relatively new. That’s not so surprising when you consider that binge eating disorder (BED) made it into the official list of mental

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a serious mental health condition that is characterized by recurrent episodes of overeating and feeling a lack of control over one’s eating behaviors. Individuals with BED often eat large amounts of food in a short period of time and feel guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed afterwards.

While there are many factors that can contribute to the development of BED, one important aspect is the role of trigger foods. These are foods that are high in fat, sugar, or salt, and are often highly processed and addictive in nature. Common trigger foods include cookies, chips, ice cream, and fast food.

The addictive qualities of trigger foods have been compared to those of drugs like cocaine and heroin. Studies have shown that these foods activate the same reward centers in the brain that drugs do, leading to a cycle of cravings and compulsive overeating.

For individuals with BED, it can be especially challenging to resist trigger foods and avoid binge eating. However, there are strategies that can help. These include:

  1. Identifying trigger foods: Keeping a food diary or journal can help individuals with BED identify their trigger foods and become more aware of their eating habits.
  2. Building a support system: Having a supportive network of friends and family members can be helpful in managing BED. Joining a support group or working with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders can also be beneficial.
  3. Practicing mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, can help individuals with BED become more aware of their thoughts and feelings around food and reduce the urge to binge.
  4. Creating a healthy eating plan: Developing a healthy and balanced eating plan that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods can help reduce cravings and promote overall health.
  5. Seeking professional help: For individuals with BED who are struggling to manage their symptoms on their own, seeking professional help from a healthcare provider or mental health specialist can be beneficial.