Psychology of Overeating - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Psychology of Overeating

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Amarillo, TX - Food takes center stage in many holidays - and for good reason.

Eating is a universal human pleasure, but like alcohol or other drugs, consistent overindulging can be quite literally addictive.

Human beings are biologically programmed to crave high-calorie foods like fat and sugar - that's just our ancestral survival instinct talking.

But in times of abundance, food becomes a source of pleasure rather than mere sustenance, as Dr. Allen Levine, Dean of the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources explains, "It's the type of food, it's the time of the year, it's the social occasion - we use food as a nurturing material. Everybody knows that they like to feed somebody. It feels good when somebody comes to visit, and you give them food, you feel good about it."

And the sheer pleasure of eating in and of itself can be just as motivating and addicting as drinking is for an alcoholic - it just depends what flips your cerebral switch, so to speak.

Most people, however, have little difficulty resisting the temptation to overeat - but if you're one of those who struggles, you can try substituting healthier foods or even substituting the pleasure of spending time with loved ones for the food itself.

If you'd like to learn more about the addictive nature of overeating, follow the links attached to this story.