Carbohydrate (Sugar) Addiction

By Jean Antonello, RN, BSN, obesity and eating disorders specialist and author of The Great Big Diet Lie, How to Become Naturally Thin® by Eating More, Breaking Out of Food Jail and Naturally Thin® Kids,

Now here’s a theory that really packs some logic! What do people binge on? Steak? Chicken? Fish? Vegetables? Fruits? Hardly. Although vegetables are mostly carbs, dieters usually do not crave or binge on them. It isn’t really practical because, pound for pound, vegetables don’t fill you up before you get sick of them. Fruits are mostly carbs too, but again, I have never known a dieter to crave apples much. Meats and fish do have calories and fat, but again, dieters don’t tend to binge on these high-protein foods. They seem to have built-in satiety limits, unlike simple carbohydrate foods.

Back to the question: What do people binge on? Of course, mostly carbohydrate foods, the ones that are baked, processed, refined, sweetened, laced with chocolate, and go so well with ice cream. In fact, the latest poll on the eating habits of Americans found that bakery products head the list of foods that we ingest the most. Really? Scary. So, it does seem logical that many people are “carbohydrate addicted.” And, dieters appear to be particularly so. Processed and refined carbohydrate foods are usually the focus of dieters’ binges. They crave and tend to binge on cakes, candy, muffins, pastries, chocolates, cookies, ice cream, chips, and French fries, to name a few favorites. But is this really an addiction, or is there another variable in the equation? The question to ask is: Why do dieters particularly favor these refined, calorie-rich foods? It’s not because they don’t care and it’s not because they don’t know any better. They eat these high sugar and carb-loaded foods because they crave them because they need them. They need fat and the best ingredient necessary for making fat is sugar, some form of carbohydrate. It is their bodies’ efficient system for recovering from the diet famines they impose and restocking the fat for the next famine. Other types of foods like proteins and vegetables and fruits just don’t do the trick nearly as well.

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