Session 8. Addictive Foods

The Physicians Committee

Session 8. Addictive Foods

Aim: To help participants understand how certain foods can get them “hooked,” and ways to break free from unhealthful habits.


  • Attendance sheet
  • Chapter 8: Addictive Foods from Nutrition Education Curriculum DVD
  • AV equipment to show DVD
  • Extension cord
  • Large writing surface and writing tool
  • Paper/pens for group members

Welcome and Introductions:

  • Pass around sign in attendance sheet.
  • Ask participants (one by one) to discuss their successes and challenges of the past week.


DVD (14:54): “Breaking the Food Seduction” from The Power of Food: Session 4

The DVD covers:

  • Sugar, chocolate, and meat trigger the release of opiates within the brain.
  • Researchers have proven that foods have opiate effects by using an opiate-blocking medicine called naloxone.
  • Cheese produces mild opiates called casomorphins, as it digests.
  • These drug-like effects of foods help explain why we get “hooked” on some foods and not others.
  • Certain good habits help us reduce the lure of “addicting” foods. Having a healthy breakfast, getting plenty of sleep, physical exercise, and other steps can really help.

Lecture and Discussion (15 minutes):

  • Discuss if participants crave certain foods. Which foods? When do cravings hit hardest (e.g., when tired, after missing a meal, etc.)?
  • What have you found that helps you beat cravings?
  • Note: Some participants may describe “cravings” for healthful foods and may feel guilty about eating them. For example, some may feel bad about eating rice or bread. It is helpful to turn this to the group: “John feels funny about wanting rice. But what do you think? Is rice okay?”
  • Note: For more information on this topic, please see Breaking the Food Seduction by Neal Barnard, M.D.

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