Sept. 11, 2023 – Our reward system is at play here — dopamine is being released into our limbic system. Picture a time long ago when humans first walked on two legs, when supermarkets didn’t exist and extreme scarcity threatened our survival. Our biology back then rewarded us for finding calorie-rich food. I didn’t know this during my stint in rehab, but deep down, I must have had a hunch. Why? Because every time I felt the urge to drink, they handed me a glass of sugar water.

I always thought that both behaviors — dysfunctional drinking and eating — were caused by an inability to regulate emotions. That’s partly true, but there’s something even more significant at play: eating too much fatty food during adolescence can actually trigger addiction development. Note that I’m talking about fats not carbohydrates, which apparently don’t have much involvement here.

Until recently, there were studies on the prevalence of drug use in individuals with eating disorders as compared to the general population. However, there was limited information about how binge-eating relates to the risk of problem drinking. But now we have insightful papers that suggest the type and manner of food consumption have a significant impact on the development of alcohol use disorders.