Avoiding harmful food can cause a real break-up

According to a new U.S. study, cease eating unhealthy food like hamburgers and pizza can cause withdrawal symptoms or abstinence. This condition is comparable to that experienced by drug addicts in the first days after the withdrawal. Results published the new issue of the journal Appetite.

The new study is the first assessment of withdrawal symptoms experienced by those who cease to use products with a high degree of processing, such as pastries, French fries and pizza.

In previous studies focused on the withdrawal symptoms of sugar in animals, and literature relating to people was represented by only individual cases, says the study’s lead author Erica Schulte (Schulte Erica), from the University of Michigan (University of Michigan).

Sugar and salt is known to cause people’s addiction to salty and sweet products, encouraging people to eat impulsively, which leads to weight gain and poor health. And ignoring the entreaties of the body of another bottle of sweet carbonated water, one hamburger or a bag of chips can cause people uncomfortable feelings.

Researchers believe that in this case the dependence on certain foods works as an addiction to drugs, tobacco or alcohol, leading to unpleasant symptoms of failure of it. Anxiety, headaches, irritability and depression – only some of these manifestations.

According to researchers, the understanding of whether the withdrawal syndrome after cessation of consumption of products with high degree of processing, the next step is to assess how similar products are addictive.

Schulte and her colleagues developed a methodology for measuring the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms and then asked 231 person to tell us about what happened when they reduced the number of consumption pererabotannyj products, in comparison with the previous year.

Participants reported that sadness, irritability, fatigue, and craving for these products peaked in the first 2-5 days after they stopped eating junk food, and then these symptoms gradually disappeared, which is similar to the withdrawal symptoms after the use of narcotic drugs.

The researchers did not take into account how dramatically the participants cut out all junk food immediately or gradually reducing its quantity. Schulte argues that future research needs to analyze the behavior of such people in real time, and not rely on a retrospective approach.

The study suggests that withdrawal symptoms may impede a change in diet that can help to ensure that people will come back to unhealthy eating habits, says study co-author, associate Professor of psychology Ashley Gerhardt (Ashley Gearhardt).

Dmitry Kolesnik