I once worked with someone who absolutely could not say no to starchy carbs and sugars.
She always had a box of some kind of chip or cracker in her desk at work.
She used to sneak to the little store across the street from the office and buy cookies or candy after lunch.
When we would have a birthday celebration for a co-worker, she would take a second piece of cake later in the afternoon when she thought no one was looking (I was).
And when dining out, she would polish off the entire bread basket before the salads even arrived and ask for more.
That, my friend, is carbohydrate addiction.
And it is VERY real.
Here is what you must know about carb addiction and how you can overcome it.
It’s nothing new
Many people have trouble grasping the idea that a person can be addicted to a particular type of food, but the idea of food addiction is not new. As long ago as the 1940s scientists were reporting findings that suggested people could become addicted to certain foods.
By the early 1960s studies showed that starchy carbohydrates in particular could be addictive.
Then by the time the 1980s rolled around, research in this area exploded, and began to include studies of the effects of sugars and starches on brain chemicals, particularly the neurotransmitter serotonin (your body’s feel-good chemical).
And more recent studies have shown that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine!
It’s all in your head…and your body
Carb addiction actually manifests itself both mentally and physically. Here are 3 of the primary underlying factors:
1- Your brain’s neurotransmitters
When refined carbohydrates like sugars and starches are eaten and your pancreas releases insulin, in addition to regulating blood sugar, the insulin also decreases your bloodstream’s concentration of amino acids—except for tryptophan.
The resulting higher tryptophan levels eventually reach your brain, which triggers it to produce serotonin, creating a soothing, calming sensation.
Refined carbs also trigger increased releases of dopamine and norepinephrine, and as your brain becomes flooded with these neurotransmitters, a feeling of euphoria results and a craving for more refined carbohydrates is stimulated.
2- Your gut
Your gut bacteria play a role here too because candida or yeast overgrowth can activate sugar cravings and addiction. Yeasts feed on sugar, and in turn can multiply out of control and overcome the friendly flora in your microbiome.
A vicious cycle can result whereby the yeasts, wanting more nourishment, initiate cravings for sugar. After sugar is eaten, that in turn leads to greater yeast overgrowth, which then results in more intense cravings for sugar.
3- Chronic stress
Stress causes the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones raise your heart rate, dilate your blood vessels and mobilize fat and carbohydrates stored in your body for quick energy for a potential "fight or flight" reaction.
Once the stress ends, adrenaline production subsides, but cortisol stays around thinking it has to help refuel your body and bring it back to balance—and it does this by making you hungry.
But when stress becomes chronic, this can lead to the familiar “stress eating” of carbs, since your body is repeatedly following the instructions of cortisol and looking to refuel itself.
You CAN break free of carb addiction!
The good news is you CAN overcome carb cravings and addiction.
Here are some measures to help guarantee your success:
Stay far away: Purge refined carbs from your cupboards, pantry, refrigerator and desk at work. Avoid dining out in restaurants where you will be tempted by a breadbasket, huge plates of pasta or desserts.
Choose wisely: Stick to wholesome real foods like meats, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs and cheese, as well as fresh vegetables and healthy fats including real butter (never margarine), olive oil, coconut oil and avocado. These are the foods that will nourish you, keep you full, and avoid triggering a carb eating cycle. (An added bonus here—you’ll likely lose some weight too!)
Help turn around your microbiome: Sugar feeds yeast, so if you’ve been eating a lot of refined carbs, it’s basically a given that you’ve got severe imbalance in your microbiome and your friendly flora may be waving the white flag of defeat. Supplementing with a full-spectrum, top quality probiotic like Super Shield Plus multi-strain probiotic formula can help encourage a healthier balance.
Super Shield Plus’s potent 15-strain, 20 billion CFU formula can help turn around even the most seriously imbalanced gut and support a healthier microbiome.
Address yeast overgrowth head-on: If you suspect you have a yeast overgrowth problem (if you get fungal nail infections, are bloated often, are a walking gas bag, get vaginal infections and of course crave sugar, trust me, you likely have yeast overgrowth), you’ll want to attack it head-on and fight it, and Optimal Yeast Support Blend is your ticket!
Optimal Yeast Support Blend contains a well-researched combination of the best, most effective natural herbal antifungals and antimicrobials plus biotin, that work together to fight back at yeast overgrowth and encourage a healthier (more helpful—not harmful!) intestinal yeast population.
De-stress: Do whatever you need to do to minimize stress, keeping in mind that regular exercise gives a one-two punch—it not only helps reduce stress, but it also raises your level of feel-good endorphins! You can also try massage, deep breathing, prayer, meditation and even adopting a pet!
Speaking from experience, after I’ve had a tough stress-filled day, nothing relaxes me and puts a smile on my face like snuggling my 3 cats!
Get support: Just like any other form of addiction, overcoming carb addiction can be tough, so be sure to seek out help from family, friends and support groups. Look for professionals who understand food addiction and can help you with your self-care program such as therapists, personal trainers, life coaches and even a humble nutrition coach like yours truly. Acupuncture has also been shown to be extremely helpful with addiction, as well as stress.
You CAN break free of carb addiction. Take the proper measures, get the support you need and start your new addiction-free life now!
To your health,