he Exorbitant consumption sugary drinks And addiction to unhealthy foods Among young people it will be associated with lower academic performance and poor grades. This is stated by researchers Cristina Richie-García and Juan Jose Hernandez, professors in the College of Nursing at the Catholic University of San Antonio (UCAM), who have just published a paper on food addiction and academic performance in adolescents in the international journal Specialty. Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
The project started last year 2022 and in it More than 300 students from five institutes in the region of Murcia and Andalusia were analyzed. These students were given a questionnaire about their consumption habits of up to 29 foods, including well-known brands of soft drinks, chips, kebabs or hamburgers, among others. After this stage of work, the results of the surveys were matched against observations from each of their academic records, with prior approval from the center and a commitment to maintain anonymity.
Reche-García explains to this newspaper that “then we saw that people addicted to sugary foods or drinks They have lower grades and worse academic performance».
The questionnaire evaluated tolerance, abstinence, lack of control, level of satisfaction …, and items that It is also analyzed in drug control controls.
In this case, students who were confirmed to have addictive behavior with food were separated into two groups from those who did not, and “at that time it was found that the former had worse academic performance, being Sugary drinks cause the most problemsSays Juan Jose Hernandez.
The researchers point out that food addiction persists It is not considered a mental disorderalthough it is treated as an eating disorder, which has sparked debate about the true meaning of food addiction, whether as an independent mental disorder or as an addictive behavior.
To distinguish pleasurable behavior from addictive behavior, it is necessary to be there The loss of control associated with such behaviour, which is maintained despite the negative consequences it may have. But in addition, some accompanying symptoms must persist for at least twelve months.
Among these symptoms, Christina Richie-Garcia mentions, for example, tolerance (the need to consume more and more to maintain the same sense of pleasure); withdrawal (the feeling you get when you stop consuming the product); frequency (if you take more than called for or recommended); And Continuous use, despite the damage it can cause to our health, among other things.
Hence the addiction to food It has been defined as pleasure-seeking eating behavior This includes consuming delicious foods in amounts that exceed the body’s energy requirements.
The paper’s authors point out that although several reports have been described previously An inverse association between drug use and cognitive performanceFew studies have linked cognitive performance to food addiction. However, a recent report has shown that people with higher food addiction symptoms have less structural connectivity in the brain in several regions. Hernandez says the next step will be to “investigate which specific areas of the brain are affected and if there is any trace of that damage.”
8.8 percent of young people depend on food
The study, conducted by researchers Cristina Richie-García and Juan Jose Hernandez, found that 8.8% of young adults are addicted to food. The figure remains somewhat lower than the other references they dealt with that proved this trend at 12%, reaching 19.9% of addicts in the rest of the population. The UCAM professor goes so far as to warn that, as with other substances, this addiction can lead to others, which is why she considers it essential that the means be put in place to treat this type of habit, which in the long run can be even more harmful. Hernandez recalls that the rates of overweight of children in Spain and in the region of Murcia are advancing, and “at school age these eating problems must be addressed to also limit later academic failure, while avoiding other associated problems such as obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.”