Dr. Jeanette Thornton’s new informational website and talk show will focus on a practical treatment approach to one of the major health problems of the day which she has termed, “Food Addiction Obesity (FAO)”. Obesity affects over 33% or 72 million adult Americans and 17% of American children and over 66% of Americans are either overweight or obese. With obesity rates increasing steadily regardless of age, class, sex, race, ethnicity, level of education or geographic region, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is now stating that obesity is an equal opportunity epidemic.
Like alcohol addiction only a century earlier, obesity is seen as a loss of will-power and self-control…a weakness and not as an addiction to mood-altering foods. The main objective of the website and talk show, Jeanette Thornton, MD, is to reframe obesity as an addiction to foods high in refined and processed sugars and grains, saturated fats and sodium salt which continue to be eaten in spite of being overweight or obese. This kind of obesity I have termed, “Food Addiction Obesity (FAO)”. What is interesting is that these foods act in the same areas of the brain as drugs of abuse, delivering immediate pleasure, calm, relaxation and a sense of well-being while masking feelings of anxiety, rage, anger and depression. Researchers have found that cravings for these foods are driven by a shortage or decrease in specific brain chemicals that have the ability to give us pleasure.
So what is Food Addiction and how is it defined?
Refined/processed sugars and syrups, refined/processed grains, starchy vegetables, saturated fats and oils and sodium salt continue to be eaten to achieve a desired effect over a longer period of time than intended. I have termed these specific ingredients and foods “obesegenic”.
A withdrawal syndrome is relieved or avoided when specific “obesegenic” foods are eaten. There are persistent desires and unsuccessful attempts to cut back or control use. Increased time in using or thinking about these foods with a reduction in social and recreational activities. Continued use of specific “obesegenic” foods and ingredients in spite of having such medical or psychiatric problems as obesity, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol & triglycerides, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, infertility, anxiety and depression, just to name a few.
In spite of new marketing maneuvers, governmental policy changes, advertising, obesity treatments including psychosocial treatments, medications, surgery, and public education, obesity rates have not decreased. In fact, research studies have shown that obesity rates have significantly increased in many states. Furthermore, other studies have shown that only a small percentage of those who lose weight by dietary restriction or surgical intervention are able to maintain that weight loss for 3-5 years.
We, at Jeanette Thornton MD, have the amazing answer. By launching a national campaign to reduce obesity rates nationwide, we, will be focusing on its primary cause…an ”obesegenic” food addiction to foods high in refined/processed sugars and grains, saturated fats and sodium salts and going beyond the “diet and exercise” treatment mantra that has been the linchpin of obesity treatment in the past. We will be integrating current medical research into an evidence-based practice with recovering food addicts who have succeeded in not only losing weight but maintaining their weight loss for 3-5 years. Using a “Before and After” model, they will share their dramatic feelings and entertaining stories when dealing with Food in ways they have never done before, day in and day out, 24/7. By doing this, the viewer will be able to see through the eyes of those who lost their minds in pursuit of their addiction and in spite of negative consequences to their health, career, family or social life; they continue to use certain foods in order to immediately feel better or to relieve stress. Also, within the same time frame, the viewer will be able to identify what specific foods they cannot eat and how to stop and stay stopped, resulting in improvements in the quality of one’s life and restoration to sanity. The viewer will vicariously experience how they did it, thereby providing motivation to improve their own emotional and physical health.
Are you overweight or obese? Calculate your BMI (metabolic index) as a screening tool and find out for sure!