Watch CBSN Live

Addicted To Food?

We've all heard about addictions to alcohol and drugs, but did you know that people can be addicted to foods too?

Bonnie Taub Dix, a registered dietitian and the national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, visits The Saturday Early Show to talk about which foods are the most addictive and how you can conquer those unhealthy cravings.

"I think there is a lot of controversy about whether food is physically addictive like drugs or alcohol," Dix says. "But there is no denying that people do have very intense desires for foods that, at least, emotionally resembles addictions to drugs or alcohol."

Addictions and cravings are very similar, she notes. The only difference is that, with a craving, "you don't necessarily fulfill it. But with an addiction, there is no stopping you from giving in."

And though women are prone to be addicted to food, it affects men to, she notes.

Here are some foods to which people are most likely to become addicted, Dix says:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Salty snacks
"There is science behind this," she says. "Sugary foods and carbohydrates release serotonin, a chemical that makes you initially feel good. However, the effect is just temporary and can lead to a roller coaster effect. You'll feel good for just a short time, but then you feel bad when your serotonin level goes back down."

The good news is that there are ways to conquer this type of addiction. Dix offers the following tips:

Combine Carbohydrates And Proteins. "Combine something like peanut butter and bread. The protein slows down the rate that carbs are absorbed and less serotonin is relased. You have less of a roller coaster effect," she says.

Define Portion Sizes. Dix suggests, "If you have a cookie, a type of cookie that you like, just put a few in a Baggie and try and eat no more than that."

Use Imagery. Dix explains, "Before you go into the kitchen: Is it hot, cold, or sweet? Once you define what you're looking for, you aren't testing the waters."

Keep A Food Diary. "Many people need to take responsibilty for what they are consuming," she says, "People tend to underestimate what they eat and a diary will help you avoid this."

Seek Help. Dix says, "If you cant do this on your own, seek out the help of a registered dietitian or physician who can help conquer your addictions."

View CBS News In