Are You a Carb Addict?
There’s no doubt that the more carb sensitive you are, the more prone you are to carb addiction. And addiction to carbs is certainly a reflection of an insulin imbalance, specifically reduced insulin sensitivity, which raises insulin. But regardless of your current state of carb sensitivity, my bet is that 99 per cent of you could use some help to deal with an appetite stuck in overdrive, carb cravings or stress-related eating. Many of you may even consider yourself a fullblown carb addict, in need of an intervention to break your food obsession. Some sources say 75 to 85 per cent of overweight adults identify themselves as carbohydrate addicts. Since at least 60 to 70 per cent of adults are in fact overweight, this is a problem that is affecting a large portion of our population.
Let’s begin by distinguishing between a craving and an addiction. While a craving denotes something you feel you want once in a while, an addiction reflects a need to have carbs to allow you to feel “normal.” With a carb addiction, just like any other drug addiction, you may also eventually notice that you need more and more to get the same results or that you have withdrawal symptoms when you don’t get your carbs. Do you think you could be carb addicted? Ask yourself if any of these statements or questions applies to you:
1. I feel I have to eat carbs in the morning. According to psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow, the desire to eat “bad” carbs within 1 hour of waking is a strong sign that you are a carb addict. (This same assessment tool is used to diagnose drug addictions and alcoholism.)
2. I get tired or feel foggy in the afternoon.
3. I find myself searching for a sugar, starch or caffeine fix in the afternoon.
4. I have a hard time stopping once I start eating my favourite carb foods (starches, sweets, snacks).
5. When I feel stressed, my first response is to want to eat something. I use foods to fill an emotional need.
6. I can’t live without my favourite carb foods.
7. I have a tendency to binge.
8. I frequently crave high-carb foods (sweets, pasta, bread, etc.).
9. I am a compulsive eater. I wish I could control my eating.
10. I experience carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms including headaches, irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping and anxiety.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you likely have a carb addiction. Breaking this addiction will be part of the key to curbing your sensitivity to carbs, as well as to lasting weight loss and hormonal balance. If you are indeed a carb addict, the CSP is the
perfect plan for you. The Carb Sensitivity Program will allow you to focus on attaining your carbs from vegetables, nuts and small amounts of low-glycemic fruit. Minimizing your grain and sugar intake, as I prescribe in the first 3 weeks of the program, will certainly help to break the cycle of addiction. In fact, most patients tell me their cravings and obsessions with food are gone within just 3 to 4 days of following this plan.
Working together, the endocrine, nervous and digestive systems can either help or hamper your appetite control. Once you understand these complex systems and get them communicating optimally with each other, you will be well on your way to feeling balanced and achieving lifelong health. Although the nutrition program of the CSP will solve a majority of carb-addicted cases, you can set the foundation for guaranteed success by beginning with the five steps to restore balance in the carb-addicted brain, found in the next chapter.
Excerpted from The Carb Sensitivity Diet by Dr. Natasha Turner. Copyright © 2012 by Natasha Turner. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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