New book shows how food is like a drug for millions of Americans


by ABC News

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 12:34 PM

(ABC News) -- Tara Costa, a contestant on the television show The Biggest Loser, said when it came to food she was powerless.

“I would get wings, waffle fries, with cheese and gravy,” Costa said.

So at 22-years-old and 316 lbs., she said she decided to go on the show.

Costa lost an astonishing 155 pounds, but soon the weight came back. That’s when she said she realized she was a food addict.

Dr. Pamela Peeke's new book "The Hunger Fix" describes how food is like a drug for millions of Americans.

“It's a combination of sugary, starchy, fatty, salty foods,” Peeke said. “In the brain, organically you're secreting lots of that wonderful pleasure reward brain chemical called dopamine.  And it's coming out, and it just giving you that fantastic feeling of, ‘wow, this is wonderful.’”

For some people, the pleasure receptors turn off - for others, it keeps reacting, wanting more.

But Peeke said your brain can be re trained using what she calls “The Three M’s.”

Step 1:  Strengthen the mind - meditation can help to reduce that urge to splurge
Step 2:  Trick the mouth - instead of a protein bar, try a protein smoothie
Step 3:  Move your muscles - by working out, your brain is rewarded by endorphins instead of empty calories

Click here for more about "The Hunger Fix" from ABC News.