For some people, swearing off dairy because of lactose intolerance is about as effective as a college freshman swearing off alcohol after a night of a few too many. After the aches and pains have gone away, suddenly indulging in a latte doesn't seem like that bad of an idea. Whether you're dealing with food intolerances or not, most of us have eaten a little more of something that we know we shouldn't have, feeling happy-go-lucky while filling our face, but regretful afterward.

Why do we keep going back for more?

Food Heroin
Consider yourself warned. The following foods contain a protein molecule that mimics our body's feel-good endorphins, called exorphins. Exorphins are found in certain foods that mimic our body's natural endorphins, causing a drug-like high when we eat them.

Even though the four food categories below aren't inherently bad for you. They can create the addictive like behaviors of eating more and more, even in those of us who have intolerances.

  • Milk, cheese, yogurt (all casein-containing foods)
  • Wheat
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee and Tea
Not a big list, but when was the last time you went through a day without eating something without dairy, wheat, chocolate or coffee? Each of our body's is unique in how we react to certain foods, which might explain why some of us can get away with eating a spoonful of Ben and Jerry's Hubby Hubby, and others regretfully keep eating until the pint polished off.

On a different, but unrelated note to addiction-causing exorphins, sugar is also addictive. In fact, the average person consumes 140 pounds of processed sugars annually! (Lipski 2012, 156) Processed foods containing any form of sugar were created, literally, with some sort of a plan to keep you coming back for more. From soda to tomato sauce, added sugars are in everything to appeal to our taste buds. In fact, fructose intolerance, or the inability to absorb fructose properly, is something people are born with...or something people acquire. The more fructose (including high fructose corn syrup) we eat, the greater the likelihood of developing this intolerance that can cause bloating, nausea and cramping to name a few.

What to do, what to do...

For some, avoiding whole food categories is necessary. For instance, if you have Celiac disease, even one gram of gluten (the trigger of the disease found in wheat) can keep the lining of the stomach from healing. But the rest of us should pay attention to how we eat these foods. Often times, when I hear people say, "I love [fill in the blank with your favorite food], and I can't imagine not eating it," they should avoid it more than anyone.

Try to curb foods that you overeat or make you feel worse afterward. Often times, these foods include cheese, pasta, pizza, chocolate, soda, juice, candy, coffee and sandwiches. If you feel particularly worse after eating one type of food and think you might be intolerant, cut it out for a few days, then re-introduce it to your diet and notice how you feel. If your body feels worse within minutes to hours after eating it, you've probably got a food intolerance.

The best thing to do is avoid the foods you think you're addicted to. After a few days, or even weeks, you probably won't even crave them anymore...and feel a lot better for it.

Want more tips like this? Hanging out with me on Facebook. I’ll be posting some really great health and fitness tips over the next few weeks, and I don’t want you to miss out. See you there. Traci



Lipski, E. (2012). Digestive wellness: strengthen the immune system and prevent disease through healthy digestion (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.