How to end carb cravings … FINALLY!
I don’t think there’s anyone on earth that has escaped suffering the intensity of carb cravings.
The bread basket at the restaurant just sits there openly seducing you.
That load of pasta that was supposed to feed eight has mysteriously .. gone!
The chips machine at work whispers to you every time you pass.
Your mind tries to work but just can’t rid itself of the image of a muffin, donut or bagel .
This is the nether world of carb cravings, and it’s real for 99.9% of people. But like a true addict, most of us deny it.
The Truth: All carbs are not created equal
Yes, carbohydrates may be a necessary food group, but starchy carbs are the least healthy (and most addicting) form.
Yes, they may provide some nutrients, but starchy carbs turn to sugar upon digestion. They aren’t much better than eating a candy bar or cookie. Want an example? Potato!
So for healthy, nutritious carbs, vegies and legumes are by far your best choice.
Why must you be so deprived?
There are many reasons that we carve carbs, and you can help curb your cravings if you figure out what may be behind them.
Here are some possibilities: (feel free to den them, but they ain’t going away!)
Most of us are Carbohydrate Addicts
Current research says very clearly that the primary underlying cause of carbohydrate addiction is in your brain’s reward system.
Sugar and starchy carbohydrate foods cause the release of serotonin (your body’s feelgood chemical) and it gives us a calming sensation.
Refined Carbohydrates also trigger increased releases of dopamine and norepinephrine. Your brain becomes deluged with these neurotransmitters, and a feeling of euphoria results and a craving for more refined carbohydrates is stimulated. Crazy, man!
An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) may cause feeling of fatigue. Many people reach for refined carbohydrate pick-me-ups including soda, chips, candy bars, crackers and other similar foods to combat this fatigue.
Yeast feeds on sugar, and with enough sugar can multiply out of control and overcome your friendly intestinal flora (which normally helps to keep yeast in check and under control).
A vicious cycle begins where yeast, wanting more nourishment, triggers cravings for sugar, which in turn leads to greater yeast overgrowth, which then triggers more intense cravings for sugar.
Stress and adrenal overload
Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol which can give you an intense appetite for sugars and fats.
Menopause and/or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
When levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop, women may be more prone to insulin resistance The body’s cells don’t respond as they should to insulin. This can cause sugar cravings to soar. The cells haven’t received the glucose they were expecting from the bloodstream.
Depressed people often report feeling less depressed after eating high-carb snack foods.
This can be a demonstration of the increased production of serotonin after refined carbohydrate ingestion, which mimics the action of antidepressant medications.
Lacking nutrients can trigger cravings, especially the B vitamins.
What You Can Do
Obviously if there is an underlying problem, we need to address it. Here’s some measures that can help:
- Probiotics: help keep yeast under control.
- Multi-vitamin: To ensure that any nutrients that may be missing in your diet are provided.
- Vitamin D: Low Vitamin D levels are associated with decreased satiety.
- Eat a healthy, whole foods diet to provide a variety of healthy nutrients, fiber and antioxidants.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates at all cost. Completely eliminate them from the refrigerator, cupboard and pantry, and bring protein snacks to work with you. There no simple or halfway answer here. Would you suggest your heroin addicted son could just shoot up on weekends? It’s cold turkey or nothing.
- Cook meals at home versus dining out. At home meals can encourage better control over what is served, and avoids the temptation of the bread basket, desserts and carbohydrate-rich dishes like pasta. And.. even if the restaurant is expensive.. it’s still not going to make food or oil choices with the same intention of your ultimate health that you can have with your own food selections.
- Drink plenty of alkaline high hydrogen water. Dehydration is the number one nutritional deficiency in North America. Our bodies often mistake hunger for thirst, and not drinking enough water can lead to overeating. but remember.. there’s water.. and there’s water!
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can aggravate sugar addiction (when a person comes down from a caffeine-induced energy ‘high,’ they often reach for sugar).
You can do it! We did, and there is still the same love of food on the ‘other side’.