By Heather Pidcock-Reed

PO Box 221876, Hollywood, FL 33022 (866) MCP-BOOK (toll-free) • www.masoncrest.com

Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4719-8 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-4726-6 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-7097-4 Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file with the Library of Congress Developed and Produced by National Highlights, Inc. Editor: Andrew Morkes Cover and Interior Design: Tara Raymo • CreativelyTara Layout: Priceless Digital Media, LLC Publisher’s Note: Websites listed in this book were active at the time of publication. The publisher is not responsible for websites that have changed their address or discontinued operation since the date of publication. The publisher reviews and updates the websites each time the book is reprinted.

You may gain access to certain third-party content (“Third-Party Sites”) by scanning and using the QR Codes that appear in this publication (the “QR Codes”). We do not operate or control in any respect any information, products, or services on such Third-Party Sites linked to by us via the QR Codes included in this publication, and we assume no responsibility for any materials you may access using the QR Codes. Your use of the QR Codes may be subject to terms, limitations, or restrictions set forth in the applicable terms of use or otherwise established by the owners of the Third-Party Sites. Our linking to such Third-Party Sites via the QR Codes does not imply an endorsement or sponsorship of such Third-Party Sites or the information, products, or services offered on or through the Third-Party Sites, nor does it imply an endorsement or sponsorship of this publication by the owners of such Third-Party Sites.


Introduction................................................................... 7 Chapter 1: What Are Unhealthy Eating Habits?. ................11 Chapter 2: The Negative Mental and Physical Effects of Unhealthy Eating Habits. .................27 Chapter 3: Treating Unhealthy Eating Habits....................41 Chapter 4: The Impact on Loved Ones . ............................59 Glossary of Key Terms. ...................................................72 Further Reading and Internet Resources..........................75 Index............................................................................76 Credits..........................................................................79 Author’s Biography........................................................80 KEY ICONS TO LOOK FOR: Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.

Examples of junk food.



We live in stressful times. The COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest, and other ongoing challenges (such as poverty, racism, serious damage to the environment, job loss, financial distress, and the illnesses and deaths of loved ones) have raised stress to record levels. “These compounding stressors are having real consequences on our minds and bodies,” according to the American Psychological Association, which says that these and other problems are causing a “national mental health crisis” in the United States. The situation is the same or even worse in other countries around the world. As a result, many people are abusing drugs and alcohol more frequently and/or engaging in other addictive behaviors to reduce stress and blunt the pain of the loss of loved ones, relationships, homes, or jobs, or other serious life events. One example is the rising number of drug overdoses, which have been fueled by the growing use and spread of the deadly opioid fentanyl. Nearly 100,000 Americans died from overdoses from June 2020 to June 2021—an 18.2 percent increase from June 2019 to June 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other addictions—such as problem gambling, or spending too much time on social media or playing video games—are not typically physically dangerous, but they


With hard work, family support, and counseling, a person who is addicted to unhealthy food can break away from their addiction and live a healthy and happy life.


can damage our mental health, cause us to lose focus on important things in life (e.g., our families, relationships, faith, or careers), and otherwise downgrade the quality of our lives. For those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or who have unhealthy relationships with food, gambling, or even shopping or social media, it can seem daunting to overcome these challenges, especially given the ongoing stressors in their lives. But there is hope for anyone who feels that they are controlled by an addiction or who seeks to otherwise rebalance their lives. They will have a bright future if they seek help with their addictions from friends and families, and, most significantly, from counselors, physicians, and clinicians (such as psychologists and psychiatrists). Each book in the Detoxing from series spotlights a major addiction; discusses the negative physical and mental effects of the addiction on the addict, as well as its effects on family and other loved ones; and provides an overview of treatment strategies for the addiction. Stories of those who are battling addictions are also featured to humanize these issues and help readers better understand that anyone—from young and old, to the wealthy, middle class, or the poor, to those who have a PhD or who are still in high school—can develop toxic relationships with drugs, alcohol, gambling, and/or other behaviors. The path to detoxing from drugs, alcohol, problem gambling, binge eating, and other challenges will not be easy—and there may be bumps in the road. But there will be happiness, healing, and the opportunity for personal growth and success for those who continue walking on the road of recovery.



formative years: those in which a young person is still developing mentally and physically metabolism: the chemical processes occurring within the body that are necessary to maintain life nutrients: the substances in food that are necessary for life and maintaining health obesity: a serious disease that involves having an excessive amount of body fat; it can increase the risks of other diseases and health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers


1 Chapter

What Are Unhealthy Eating Habits?

The Role of Food in Our Lives Eating is a necessary part of our survival. Food provides us with the nutrients that we need for our bodies to function. It not only provides us with energy, but eating can also be a pleasurable experience. It’s why we choose to eat certain foods over other foods. We frequently choose to eat things just because they taste good. The food choices that we make every day are also influenced by our budgets, sleep schedules, stress levels, social situations, and how much time we have to both prepare and eat our meals. While food is necessary for our survival, not all foods are good for us. In fact, eating specific foods in excess can negatively affect our health. We can see that in the rising obesity rates around the world, and specifically within the United States. About 42.5 percent of adults aged 20 and over were obese, according to results from the 2017–2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Many had chronic health condition such as hypertension, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or cancer. Simply put, some foods that we eat are causing a serious negative impact on our health and could even be said to be killing us.


There are indications that a certain proportion of individuals are actually addicted to food. Specific types of food seem to be more addictive than others—fast food and junk food in particular. Junk food

Sofia is like many people who become addicted to unhealthy food in response to life challenges. But once she realizes that she has a food addiction, she can start on the path to a healthier life. See page 14 for her story.


Detoxing from Unhealthy Eating Habits

Watch this report to learn how junk food can be just as addictive as drugs and alcohol.

can be defined as food that has extremely low nutritional value, is highly processed, and contains unhealthy levels of sugar, fat, and salt. Fast food refers to food that is easily accessible through drive-ins and counter orders. Some fast food can be healthy, but the majority of fast food can be classified as junk food. What Is Food Addiction? Food addiction is an addiction to a certain behavior—eating junk food. Compulsive overeating is a type of behavioral addiction. A behavioral addiction is characterized by a person becoming preoccupied with behaviors that cause them to feel pleasure. These types of behaviors include gambling, shopping, and eating. Someone who is addicted to food will have little to no control when it comes to his or her eating behaviors. They will spend much of their time eating or anticipating the way that eating will make them feel in the future.


What Are Unhealthy Eating Habits?


Life was stressful for Sofia. She felt stuck in a dead-end job, her boyfriend always argued with her, and she was grieving the recent death of her mom. Sofia frequently felt a combination of emotions—sadness, anger, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression. All she wanted to do was be alone. Many nights, she sat in her room alone, snacking on cookies, eating burgers she picked up in the drive-thru on the way home, and drinking several glasses of wine. She felt good when she ate all this food and savored the wine. The next day, she’d slog through life—eagerly awaiting the cookies, burgers, and wine. As the days passed, she added cheesecake, French fries, pizza, and potato chips to the menu. To keep her actions secret from her roommates, she hid the wrappers from the food in her room and carried them out in her work bag each morning. “Food nights” turned into weeks and weeks of binge eating. Sofia felt like she had to eat more and more just to get that same “buzz” she had the first week or so she began binge eating. She gained weight, and she never felt very good the next day. All these extra food purchases were also starting to affect her finances. She stopped talking to her friends and family because she wasn’t happy with her appearance and was worried that they would find out about her binge eating. Sofia didn’t know—or want to accept it—but she had a food addiction, and she needed help to break the endless cycle of unhealthy eating that was affecting her physical and mental health.


Detoxing from Unhealthy Eating Habits

People with an addiction to food will continue to overeat, no matter the negative consequences. Those who suffer from a food addiction have an incredibly difficult time stopping the behavior, just as in cases where people are addicted to shopping, gambling, or drugs. While food addiction is a relatively new concept that is still somewhat controversial, it’s an all-too-real condition for the people who suffer from it.

The availability of low-priced and unhealthy (but certainly tasty) food at all-you-can eat buffets makes it hard for people with a food addiction to overcome their addictions.


What Are Unhealthy Eating Habits?

BEHAVIORAL ADDICTION When people think of addiction, what mostly comes to mind are addictions to drugs and alcohol. However, it is also possible to become addicted to a particular activity or behavior. This type of addiction is known as a “behavioral addiction,” which occurs when a person is compulsively participating in an activity or behavior such as eating, gambling, or shopping. One can even be addicted to the internet or playing video games. In order for the behavior to be classified as an addiction, it must be compulsively acted upon. The compulsion that an addicted person feels to perform a certain behavior will cause them to continue engaging in the behavior even though it has a negative impact on their mental and/or physical health. They will even continue engaging in the behavior when it causes problems within their home and social lives. Since these types of addictions tend to revolve around activities that are usually seen as socially acceptable, they can be incredibly difficult to recognize. Many people don’t realize that they have a problem until the addiction begins to get wildly out of control. The idea of behavioral addiction is still hotly debated within the psychological and medical communities, because a behavioral addiction is seen as being a mental diagnosis that isn’t rooted in a biological or physical cause. While behavioral addictions are still contested, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5) recognizes gambling addiction. It is the only non-substance addiction officially recognized by the manual, most likely because gambling addiction has been studied more than some of the other types of addiction. Recent studies regarding the effects of gambling on the brain show that gambling, in and of itself, activates similar areas of the brain that drugs and alcohol do. This research offers promising insights into the ways that other behavioral addictions work.


Detoxing from Unhealthy Eating Habits

Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker