Food allergies and their correlation to obesity have been examined by different research studies and important conclusions have been put forward by various studies. This short research paper will examine how food allergies can lead to food addiction that can cause obesity in individuals suffering from these allergies.
It is a common perception amongst women that obesity is mainly due to heredity problems which cause thyroid or metabolic imbalance in the body or simply because they over eat that adds to their weight.
This disproportional behavior particularly in women is seen as an outcome of either loss of self control or certain psychological problem which convinces women to eat more to their discomfort later in life.
However, this may not be the case as Null (284) remarked in his book that two out of three obese individuals are suffering from some form of food allergies. It has also been observed that food allergies aggravate medical severity of various health problems in individuals who are obese as compared to those who are not obese.
This takes the course of the current research to examine the relationship between food allergies and food addiction – one of the determinant factors of obesity.
The effect of food allergies on physical and mental state of an individual was first discovered by Dr. Randolph during 1940s (Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson 509). Food allergy is defined by Dr. Bradly as ‘abnormal or adverse immunological reaction to food individuals eat with impunity’ (Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson 509), which is different from non-allergic and toxic reactions to food.
The term food addiction is used to describe a pathological disorder which is characterized by compulsive and excessive craving and intake of food. It is not just anomalous consumption of food but also tendency to consume food which could be harmful to individuals’ well being (Allaboutifechallenges.org).
During 1940s Dr. Rudolph led a research that made remarkable findings regarding correlation between food allergies and food addiction. These findings suggested that those individuals with food allergies have food addiction for those food items to which they are allergic.
Addiction to such food items is difficult to be discovered as the allergic reaction remains only for two or three days and the symptoms are similar to those which are generally experienced by individuals that and it is difficult to distinguish them. Individuals suffering from these symptoms consume more of the same food item to which they are allergic and symptoms of food allergy eventually become suppressed or improved due to over eating or drinking.
This suppression of allergic symptoms by increased intake of addictive or allergenic food items is termed as masking by Dr. Rudolph (Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson 509).
Furthermore, Dr. Charles Gableman commented in his research that the extent of allergic suppression depends on an individual’s regular intake of food to which he allergic and finally concluded with similar results that individuals are culturally induce to eat more of which they are allergic to (Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson 510).
Another view of this relationship between food allergy and food addiction suggests that chemical imbalances in the body are caused by food allergies which could have impact on both physical and mental states. This initially leads to feeling of guilt in individuals but later they consciously or unconsciously start consuming the same food item again as a result of food addiction resulting from chemical imbalances in the body (Allaboutifechallenges.org).
Dr. Philpott commented in his book Prevention that one type of food allergy spreads to other types of food and environments causing individuals to exhibit irregular eating patterns that are characterized by extreme cravings and high weight growths (Gottlieb). Furthermore, Frederic Speer was of the opinion that those individuals who have food allergies become victims of food addiction and it becomes an emotional problem for them.
These emotional problems cause individuals to act overexcited, depressed, extremely wild or lethargic. As individuals are not able to control their cravings they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms (Gottlieb). Stephen A. Levine termed the relationship between food allergies and food addiction which individuals experience as allergy-addiction which is similar to other general addictions (Levine).
The compulsive behavior of individuals that makes them craving for food which is in fact dangerous for their health is referred to as binge eating which reflects eating patterns beyond conscience control of individuals. Another term bulimia is used to refer to situations where individuals having food allergy make deliberate efforts to avoid consequences of allergic disorder.
Most commonly individuals are involved in act of self induced vomiting (Gislason). However, food addiction sometimes becomes difficult to be overcome which not only poses threat to various body organs but also lead to weight problems for individuals.
In conclusion, we could state that food allergies do tend to bring change in individuals’ behavior which causes them to become allergy addictive. As a result of which they develop irregular eating habits adding to their weight problems and obesity.
Allaboutifechallenges.org. Food Addiction – Food Obsession. 2009.
Gislason, Stephen. Eating and Weight Management. British Columbia: Alpha Education Books, 2009.
Goldberg, Burton, Trivieri, Larry and Anderson, John. Alternative Medicine: the Definitive Guide. New York: Celestial Arts, 2002.
Gottlieb, Bill. “Food Addiction: Hooked on Unhappiness.” Prevention Magazine 1979: 5-6.
Levine, Stephen. “More About Allergy and Addictions.” 2009. Redemies for Recovery.
Null, Gary. Women’s Health Solutions. London: Seven Stories Press, 2002.