7 Keys To Overcome Food Addictions

We all agree about the impact that addictions have on individuals, families, and society. Food addictions are just like any other addiction. They bring about confusion, obsessiveness, forgetfulness, fear and much unhappiness in the long term. Although this article is about food addictions, the methods for overcoming this addiction are similar to overcoming all other addictions. Addictions lead to struggle and have a substantial cost on our quality of life. As science sheds more light on the factors that come into play when dealing with addiction, we know that it is not only a substance problem (be it foods, alcohol or any other addictive substances), but that it also has very much to do with behavior patterns and the way they impact our emotions, thoughts, and views of ourselves.

1. Admitting the problem

The first step towards stopping an addiction is admitting that help is needed. You may have become severely overweight due to the food addiction, or a health problem may be knocking on your door as a result. Once you admit that there is a problem, the healing process can begin.

Any choice for change needs to be made by the person involved, as the path to recovery will take commitment and persistence throughout the process.

2. Repair on a cellular level with food

Here we can mention the power of food with its array of nutrients for the recovery process. We know that cells can regenerate, but they need the proper fuel to do so. Also, brain cells and neurotransmitters need to make new connections if behavior patterns are to change.

Complex carbohydrate-rich foods have a very positive effect on brain health since, during complex carbohydrate digestion, our body forms glucose which supplies brain cells with fuel, but the body also forms glycogen from the excess complex carbohydrates and from fructose found in fruits. Although glycogen is generally referred to as an energy storage molecule supplying energy for the brain and body when energy levels are low, it also has a different function. It has been found that glycogen in the brain is a dynamic molecule having many beneficial consequences on brain cell function, very helpful when dealing with the cravings that come from breaking an addiction.

We all have a very limited and low capacity to store glycogen. Therefore, having a regular source of complex carbohydrate foods and fruits in our diet when overcoming an addiction increases glycogen levels and enhances brain function, whereas not consuming enough complex carbohydrates can lead to glycogen depletion and lowered tolerance to addiction.

Furthermore, by consuming complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain cereals, whole grain pasta, brown rice, etc., you are more likely to have more tolerance for overcoming food addictions due to the positive association between the amino acid tryptophan and mental health. The amino acid tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid to come by. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin, and when serotonin increases in the brain, it reduces symptoms of depression and contributes to feelings of well-being, happiness and higher self-esteem required for overcoming addictions.

When we consume a protein-rich meal (such as a hamburger, or steak), tryptophan is the last amino acid to cross the blood-brain barrier. It has to wait its turn after the more common amino acids enter. But when consuming a wholegrain carbohydrate-rich meal with sufficient protein in the form of plant based sources such as legumes, tryptophan is then available for the brain. This is because when carbohydrate-rich foods are consumed, the body releases insulin, which diverts the other amino acids to the muscles leaving tryptophan untouched. This provides a better ground for tryptophan to enter the brain and promote its nourishing effect on the brain helping to overcome addictions.

Tryptophan-rich foods should also be consumed regularly when overcoming addictions. Tryptophan-rich foods include Spirulina, chia seeds, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds, flaxseeds, cashews, pistachios, almonds, potatoes, and soya beans.

Omega 3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also crucial for overcoming addictions and forming new neural connections. Omega 3 fatty acid deficiencies are linked with addictions and other mental health conditions. These essential fatty acids are found in chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and sea vegetables. These fatty acids keep dopamine levels in the brain high, increase neural cell growth in the frontal cortex of the brain involved in thinking, and increase blood flow in the brain. Make sure you are consuming these foods on a regular basis to prevent addictive behaviors.

Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables due to their high levels of antioxidants which are required to protect cells from free radical damage generated during stress and addictive behaviors. Specific antioxidant-rich foods reduce excessive accumulation of free radicals in the brain. Brain cells have a naturally high risk for oxygen damage, and they require special antioxidant protection at all times.

Consume different types of fruit and vegetables to ensure a variety of antioxidants. Consume fruits and vegetables of different bold colors. This will ensure that you get plenty of different types of antioxidants through your diet to support and protect your brain. Try some of these foods rich in different antioxidants:

  • Goji berries
  • Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Red cabbage
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Grapes
  • Mangoes
  • Berries

3. Accountability

This can be done in many ways. You may want to speak to a psychologist or a close friend. If you prefer to go solo when attempting to overcome your addiction a popular form of accountability is by journaling. [2] There is something about putting thoughts into writing. Journaling can have a significant impact on how we interpret thoughts and behaviors. It can help us to analyze feelings and actions from a different perspective.

4. Positive Affirmations

Reprogramming negative behaviors can only be done in one of two ways, either through hypnosis sessions or through repetition of positive affirmations, known as autosuggestion. Autosuggestion is also very important for increasing your self-image, a crucial factor in your success rate of overcoming the addiction. Any addiction will lower a persons’ self-esteem making many addicted people feel unable or unfit to make permanent changes in their lives. Stating positive affirmations repetitively and consistently throughout the day is a very effective way to improve this internal dialogue and to create new neural pathways that are very different from the addictive behavior.

5. Create A Support System 

Having the support of people close by is essential to help keep things on the right track. Having this kind of support is proven to improve the overall well being of the person overcoming addiction. [3] Having family close by and willing to be part of the change can be very beneficial by creating emotional and psychological support for the person with the addiction. [4]

6. Exercise

A new exercise regime will help to build a new, more beneficial routine, will reduce stress and strengthen the body to cope with the aftermath of addiction. Any physical activity that you like is a great way to add the benefits of exercise into your life. Think about rock-climbing, canoeing, swimming, hiking, etc.

7. Holistic Therapy for the treatment of Addictions

In order to overcome addiction, some holistic healing methods benefit by helping to clear the mind. Guided meditations, yoga, tai chi or even massage can help achieve mental clarity, calmness and more happiness vital for overcoming addictions.


Overcoming any addiction including food addiction, is not easy. But the time you spend with the addiction is a waste of your precious life. When addicted, you are not productive, you suffer, and are not happy or fulfilled. When you follow the above advice to help overcome your addiction, your self-esteem will slowly rise, you will be happier and in a much better position to achieve your real dreams in life.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’d be honored if you would share it with your family, friends, and followers by clicking the Like, Tweet, and Share buttons. If you are serious about improving your health no matter what your age or circumstances, and are ready to finally achieve optimal health and lose the weight you’ve been struggling with, then click HERE to check out my online Guerrilla Diet Bootcampfor Healthy and Lasting Weight Loss.

If you are not already on my mailing list where you will receive my weekly articles packed with scientifically based health, and nutrition content, as well as many FREE bonuses and special offers, and much more, then  click HERE to subscribe.

Thank You, 🙂

Galit Goldfarb


  1. Voss P, Thomas ME, Cisneros-Franco JM, de Villers-Sidani É. Dynamic Brains and the Changing Rules of Neuroplasticity: Implications for Learning and Recovery. Front Psychol. 2017; 8: 1657
  2. Tracy K, Wallace SP. Benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction. Subst Abuse Rehabil. 2016; 7: 143–154.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2004.
  4. Rajeswaran J, Bennett CN. Cognitive rehabilitation in addictive disorders. Indian J Psychiatry. 2018;60(Suppl 4):S490-S493.