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Addiction To Highly Processed Foods Quite Common In Old Adults – A New Survey Finds

addictive eating etabolic health disorders obesity processed foods May 16, 2023

Summary: Though obesity is increasing in all age groups, but its rates are highest among older adults. These high rates are not only due to slow metabolism but also to highly prevalent addictive processed foods eating in the age group. A new survey found that almost half of all older adults are addicted to processed foods. It also found that 13% of older adults are living with a severe addiction to highly processed foods.

 When we think about addiction to highly processed foods like chips, fast foods, and various beverages, we often imagine it as a problem for young adults. It is true that young adults are increasingly obsessed with such foods. However, this does not mean that addiction to highly processed foods is less common in older adults.

There are many issues with highly processed foods. They often lack vital nutrients and are packed with carbs and calories. Hence, they are more likely to cause obesity and inflammation. Addiction to processed foods is among the main causes of obesity in various age groups.

Indeed, obesity has now become quite common in young adults. However, it is also worth understanding that obesity is even more common in older adults. Thus, obesity affects about 40% of adults aged 20-30, and it affects about 42% of adults older than 60 years of age.

Addiction to highly processed foods starts early and often continues throughout life. However, such an addiction is even more dangerous for older adults, as they are more likely to be living or develop chronic health issues. Not only that, metabolism slows down gradually with aging. It means that even consuming small amounts of processed foods may have much greater harm in older adults.

Addiction to processed foods not only results in obesity or metabolic disorders. It is now recognized as one of the leading causes of mental health issues. Older adults are already at risk of various mental health issues, and processed food addiction can only worsen things. High consumption of processed foods causes headaches, concentration issues, and irritability.

A new study found that almost half of older adults are addicted to processed foods. So, the numbers are massive. But that is not all. The study found that about 13% of older adults have a severe processed food addiction.

Severe processed food addiction differs from mild addiction in many ways. It shows all the signs that are generally characteristic of substance use disorders. It means that these people crave processed foods. If they do not consume processed food regularly, they develop withdrawal symptoms characterized by increased irritability and mood swings. 

Such kind of severe addiction has many implications. Thus, for example, those addicted to processed foods are more likely to live with substance abuse disorder. They are more likely to abuse alcohol or even become addicted to illicit drugs. Such a food addiction is not only bad for health, but it also increases the risk of a range of mental health issues.

And, of course, processed food addiction can have serious physical health risks for older adults. As people age, their bodies become less efficient at processing and utilizing nutrients, making it more important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. In addition, consuming a diet high in processed foods can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, which is often characterized by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. 

Additionally, processed foods are often high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats, which can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in turn increases the risk of many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Nutritional deficiencies are also a concern for older adults who consume a diet high in processed foods, as these foods are typically low in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

To sum up, understanding the prevalence of processed food addiction in older adults is vital to lower the risk of various physical and mental health issues in the age group. Additionally, doctors must identify severe processed food addiction, as such individuals may require different treatment approaches.

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