Recovery From Processed Food Addiction, Is Understanding Severity
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Key To Recovery From Processed Food Addiction, Is Understanding Severity

Issue No. 26 | Brought to you by the Addiction Reset Community – ARC
Unlocking the secrets of processed food addiction and guiding you to find freedom from food and weight obsession.

Having an accurate perspective of the severity of processed food addiction removes the cloak of self-blame and shame and helps you to consider the right level of recovery messaging and support that may be needed for recovery. 


For far too long, the focus has been on weight loss dieting with little attention being given to the underlying causes of uncontrolled eating. Understanding that you are dealing with a severe addiction is a major step in your quest to take back control of your food and save yourself from diet-related diseases.


Here are 10 reasons why processed food addiction is most commonly, a severe addiction:


1. Addiction in childhood 

Important factors include:

  • sugar
  • fat and salt combinations in children’s foods
  • children experiencing more intense cravings than adults
  • excessive processed food advertising during children’s television programs
  • seduction of children with processed food on the internet
  • labelling and bullying of overweight children
  • children being neglected by addicted adults
  • the allure of childhood idols in advertising of processed foods
  • learning disabilities caused by eating processed foods and childhood diet-related diseases
  • missed opportunities for education due to cognitive impairment.


2. Extensive brain alterations

There are multiple addictive substances in processed foods resulting in more brain alterations that are caused by other drugs. More reward pathways in the brain become addicted.


3. DSM – Severity

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the handbook widely used by clinicians and psychiatrists to diagnose psychiatric illnesses. It covers all categories of mental health disorders, including addiction. People are typically experiencing 6 or more of the 11 DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for addiction, in their use of processed foods, indicating a severe addiction.


4. Competing Misdiagnosis

The common misdiagnosis of processed food addiction has resulted in the denial or delay of appropriate treatment and the worsening of the addiction over time. Competing misdiagnoses include obesity, over-eating, binge eating, eating disorder, childhood issues, genetics and self-sabotage. 


5. Body shape distractions

Commercial interests of the big food and diet industries, together with misdiagnosis by misguided health professionals, have resulted in cultural stigmatization on the basis of body shape. This distracts attention from focusing on the real problem of processed food addiction. New research shows that fat tissue is not the cause of most diet-related diseases. It’s processed food!


6. Comorbidities

Processed food addiction has a wide variety of comorbidities. Research reveals that more than 120 diseases are associated with eating processed foods. Processed food addiction can lead to inflammation of the entire body system, erosion of brain function, destabilization of blood glucose and dis-regulation of hormones. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, stroke, joint pain, fatigue, sleep apnea, brain fog and brain alterations are just a few of the associated comorbidities.


7. Harmful treatment and support

The misdirected focus on fat tissue as being the problem has resulted in widespread treatments and support which may be harmful. In most cases, treatments don’t provide long-term relief and often make food addiction worse. Bariatric surgery, pharmaceuticals, stressful therapies, advice for moderation and mindfulness, exercise and extreme food plans, do not address the severity of processed food addiction.


8. Corporate practices

Documented evidence has revealed that the big food manufacturing industry has systematically applied the business model established by the tobacco industry, to increase consumption of, and addiction to, processed foods. This is an ongoing, deliberate and highly effective way to increase dependency on an addictive food-like substance, for the purpose of commercial profit.


9. Farmers’ livelihood

In many countries around the world, farmers’ livelihoods are affected by the production of sugar, wheat, corn and dairy. In countries where trade and economic policies and legislation support the processed food industry, it is unlikely that the concerns over processed food addiction will be prioritized.


10. Social practices

No other addictive substances are as socially-acceptable and available as processed foods. They are everywhere! Social celebrations, business events, school events, faith-based gatherings, sporting events, entertainment venues, travel and gifting are all opportunities to trigger processed food addiction.



With a better understanding of the severity of processed food addiction and the difficulty to overcome it on your own, you may be able to achieve two very important things. Firstly, to recognize why this addiction is NOT your fault. 


And secondly and most importantly, consider the level of treatment, rehabilitation and support you will need to put this severe addiction into remission. 


Within the Addiction Reset Community (ARC) our members and their journeys are important to us. We find their stories inspiring and hopeful for everybody in health recovery.

“The cravings are gone, they've been LIFTED! I'm 67 and have been fighting this disease my whole life. Now I don't have to do it alone. I have 24-hour support and my ARC Advocate is kind and knowledgeable - a WINNING combination."


Many people reach out to Joan asking for advice and assistance on how they can begin their recovery journey.

Dear Joan

When I was eating processed food, I used to work all day and come home and I couldn't move. All of my energy was sapped by 5 pm. I can remember thinking that at my age this couldn't be right. After 3 months of abstaining from processed foods, I feel like I am regaining my energy. What is the link between processed foods and fatigue?


Joan responds: 

Firstly, a very big congratulations on achieving 3 months of abstinence from toxic foods. Processed foods over-activate the adrenal glands.  As these glands wear out, they are unable to continue to energize us. I am really pleased that you are starting to enjoy higher energy levels since eating clean. This has certainly been my experience as well.

Dr Joan Ifland (PhD) is a global expert on the subject of processed food addiction and is not a medical doctor. Information and response shared in this Newsletter are not intended for, and should not be construed as medical advice.

Do you have a question? Reach out to us with your questions about food addiction and recovery at

 Are you showing signs of Processed Food Addiction? Take this self-quiz to find out now!

Recent copies of Dr Joan Ifland's Blog:

Issue 01 | Issue 02 Issue 03 | Issue 04 | Issue 05 | Issue 06 | Issue 07 | Issue 08 | Issue 09 | Issue 10 | Issue 11 | Issue 12 | Issue 13 | Issue 14 | Issue 15 | Issue 16 | Issue 17 | Issue 18 | Issue 19 | Issue 20 | Issue 21 | Issue 22 | Issue 23 | Issue 24 | Issue 25


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