We have always known that people often end up getting addicted to their favorite junk food. However, controversial new research has now revealed that cutting out junk food from your diet may just cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms similar to drug addiction. The study found that people who try to cut out on the consumption of highly processed foods, they are prone to experience many of the same psychological and even physical symptoms of withdrawal. Many times people have been left wondering why they are unable to leave junk foods. We try to understand how people are experiencing withdrawal symptoms after cutting out junk foods and if it's normal or not.

Advertisement

Quitting Junk Foods Brings on Similar Withdrawal Symptoms Like That Of Drug Addictions

New research from the University of Michigan that has been published in the journal Appetite, shows that quitting junk food may make a person experiencing the same symptoms of withdrawal that are commonly experienced by people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, and other substances. The research is a first of its kind in that it analyzes the withdrawal symptoms that people experience after stopping the intake of highly processed junk foods as part of their daily or regular diet.

These findings now lend further credibility to the term 'food addiction', proving that it is indeed possible to become addicted to certain foods.

Advertisement

The study surveyed 231 participants to make note of any psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms that they may be experiencing after having stopped or cut down on junk foods during the last year.

If the participants have made multiple attempts to quit junk food and failed, then they were advised to make note of the withdrawal symptoms from their most recent attempt to quit. They were also asked to highlight any withdrawal symptoms they experienced that were similar to the symptoms that an addict of nicotine and cannabis would go through.

Advertisement

The study also enquired from these participants whether their attempts at removing or cutting down these unhealthy foods were successful, and how they could determine whether it was a success or not.

The majority of participants reported feeling sad, fatigued, highly irritable, and craving junk foods within the first two to five days of quitting junk food. After an initial couple of days, these symptoms tapered off.

The results of the study showed that the withdrawal symptoms were very much similar to how drug withdrawals work and also how the first week after stopping the drug the symptoms was the most noticeable. The study also found that the more intense these withdrawal symptoms were, the less likely the person was to successfully stop the consumption of junk food.

Junk Food Detox

With such types of withdrawal symptoms, it is indeed difficult to detoxify oneself from junk food and this is why most people find themselves struggling with trying to eat healthily.

The fact is that when something that the body craves is suddenly taken away, it immediately creates a negative mind frame within the person and it becomes difficult to stick to the resolution of quitting junk food. This is why it is important to keep a positive outlook and to keep reaffirming yourself that you need to quit to get healthy and prolong your life while cutting down the risks of many chronic and serious diseases.

Some people may find that weaning off junk food slowly rather than suddenly in one shot can prove to be easier and also have fewer withdrawal symptoms.

Gradually eliminating the unhealthy foods from your diet helps space out the efforts and also has a lesser impact on the body, thus giving rise to lesser withdrawal symptoms.

Conclusion

The study has clearly shown that while the first weeks are the most difficult after leaving junk food, it tends to get easier as time passes. During the first couple of days, it becomes especially tough as you try to regulate the levels of blood sugar in the body, rebalance the levels of insulin (which is thought to be the primary reason behind what causes food addiction), and get your body back on track to eating healthy.

Developing a regular exercising pattern, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking plenty of water will help combat the severity of the withdrawal symptoms.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 6, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest