AIR DATE: June 28, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Julia Ross
FEATURED TOPIC: “How To Beat Carbohydrate Addiction”
Say the word “addiction” and most people immediately think of cocaine or heroine addicts, people who abuse alcohol and tobacco, or some other bad habit that is causing serious bodily damage to the addicted. Webster’s Dictionary defines addiction as a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.” Sound familiar anyone? While most people who consume carbohydrate-based foods don’t want to admit it, they are very likely addicted to these sugary, starchy, whole grain-based foods which in turn is making them more obese and chronically ill as the days go by. Nutritional psychotherapist and addiction specialist Julia Ross is here with us in Episode 19 of “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” to get to the heart of the issue about why we crave something so deeply that we are becoming more and more aware is actually harming us. Julia is the author of a newly-revised book The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain, and Mood Swings–Naturally that addresses many of the issues we’ll be discussing in this podcast.
NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/3
Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:
Is it really possible to stay on low carb long-term when carbohydrate-based foods are literally everywhere?
Is it possible to use low-carb nutrition to treat bulimia? I found I was absolutely physically and mentally addicted to carb-filled foods which I believe was my body’s response to the low-fat, low-calorie diet I followed for so many years which finally escalated. I was never able to overcome it until I discovered low-carbing. Is this way of eating a possible treatment for eating disorders?
I am convinced that I am addicted to carbs, because I keep binging on them even though it makes me feel awful. On bad days I have ingested probably up to 1000g of carbohydrates (like almost an entire large jar of honey). Of course this makes me feel very ill, but at the same time very calm, almost sedated. I tend to do this (although it’s not always so extreme) during periods when I am very stressed out or upset about something. My question is very simple: how can I stop this madness? I have tried going on a very low-carb diet in the past by counting my carbs with FitDay and also by avoiding all grains and fruits completely. This worked for awhile, but it’s not working anymore. I always end up binging again. But if I try to be more moderate in my carbohydrate intake consuming some fruit and sweet potatoes, it’s like I’m on a slippery slope. I can never hold it to just one or two pieces of fruit and/or safe starches. And having honey in my house is just asking for trouble–I am literally a honeyholic! Can you help me?
Would the feeling I get of being very calm/sedated when I carb binge be due to high glucose levels or insulin levels? I’ve had a glucose tolerance test which was normal, so that should mean that my glucose levels are not going high when I carb binge, but I wonder where that feeling of sedation comes from. Could it just be psychological? Or is it related to dopamine or seratonin? Do you know about the biological mechanisms that produce this feeling and subsequent addiction?
ANNE with an E ASKS:
Four years ago I was able to go from 309 to 140 pounds following Weight Watchers. But then Christmas 2009 hit and the binge eating began–I could not stop eating high sugar items until recently when I started a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb way of eating. At my worst moments during my binging, I could polish off whole boxes of cookies, a dozen donuts at at time and worse. I just could not stop. Sadly for me I managed to binge eat my weight back to up to nearly 230 pounds–over half of my original weight loss in 2008. I am afraid I will eat myself into a massive heart attack because I am now 55. Thankfully I am starting to gain back my self-control over this addiction thanks to low-carb and one-on-one counseling for binge eating disorder. Do you have any suggestions about keeping me on the straight and narrow?
ANJALA (pronounced like Angela) ASKS:
I now know I am addicted to carbs. I had no idea until just recently, though. My preference of candy carbs are “sour” sweets. But I also love my starchy carbs like breads and pastas. I really need to find lower-carb pasta and bread versions. I’ve been eating a lot more spaghetti squash, but I don’t like it with actual pasta sauce. I do have a friend who is going to teach me how to make “egg crepes,” so I have that. What can I do?
I have been very low-carb (<40g) for over a year and yet I still fight every minute, every day with cravings for sweet flavors. When I do give in it's with low-carb desserts (like whipped cream with stevia or coconut oil chocolates made with stevia). I have tried cutting out all sweet-tasting foods but the longest I can hold out is a week (usually resulting in a binge). What can I do to stop these incessant cravings? SHIRLEY ASKS: Insulin resistance prevents us from burning fat stores and get us locked up so to speak. When in that vicious cycle where the body is screaming for carbs, one problem people have withdrawing is very low energy because the body is sort of stuck in the sugar burning mode and just keeps demanding sugar for energy. I have already been through withdrawal the hard way but if I wanted to advise a friend how to switch gears, would advising them to add coconut oil be helpful? Would the Medium Chain Triglycerides in coconut oil which are immediately burned for energy, just like sugar, but which do not contribute to sugar addiction or cause insulin release make the transition easier especially for someone who has to work everyday? BARRY ASKS: While I am finding the addiction model useful for thinking about the proper way to treat carbs, I also worry about it from the perspective of forgiving personal responsibility. Is there a problem if "I can't help it; I'm addicted" becomes a reason to quit? PAM ASKS: In reading Diet Cure, I feel like my symptoms are due to a sluggish thyroid (fatigue, weight gain, brain fog) although my diet is super clean, containing grass fed beef and lamb, butter, plenty of coconut oil and MCT oil, lots of fresh veggies daily, no processed foods...I have also cut out coffee. I am 44 years of age, active, no medications. I am not menopausal. I use Restored Balance progesterone cream before bed. Seems to help me sleep well. As far as the protocol in Diet Cure, I tried taking 500mg of Tyrosine, twice a day. I did this for for 2 days, and developed an intense headache--so intense that I fear taking it again, but think it may be worth a try to experiment with the dosing, maybe taking it every other day. What is your recommendation? And what about Colostrum for thyroid? JAMIE FROM AUSTRALIA ASKS: Many people who are carb addicted try to lose weight with a low carb approach. There seems to be two different pathways: 1. Replacing their carb laden foods with artificially-sweetened and creative alternatives of the same foods. 2. Going cold turkey and eliminating virtually all carbs AND artificially sweetened foods and drinks. Is there any evidence, either short term or long term that one approach is more effective than the other, or is there any evidence that one approach may suit different people better than the other?