Some people totally reject the idea of carbohydrate addiction. They say it’s just a silly way of getting out of responsibility for our actions – that we eat the donuts, bread, pasta and French fries because we want to – and we don’t want to stop.
If you believe this, you probably wouldn’t be reading this page. You probably have a sneaking suspicion that there’s an explanation for the binge eating, or the cravings, or the bad eating choices that you make – even when you know better. Even if you aren’t on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet like Atkins or the South Beach diet, you know that you won’t lose weight or regain your health if you don’t make some changes in the way you eat. And you have wanted to make changes for a long time – but for some reason it never happens.
But you may still be skeptical about the whole “carbohydrate addict” idea.
So it’s important to start with the definition of “addiction.” Then you can judge for yourself if it fits with your own experience.
“Essentially, addiction designates a process whereby a behavior, that can function both to produce pleasure and to provide escape from internal discomfort, is employed in a pattern characterized by (1) recurrent failure to control the behavior (powerlessness) and (2) continuation of the behavior despite significant negative consequences (unmanageability).” From Addiction: definition and implications.
Dr. Richard K. Bernstein is a nationally known diabetic expert who says that high-carbohydrate foods are addictive because they affect the neurotransmitters in the brain. Like heroin, high carb foods make us feel good – for a while. Then the blood sugar plummets, and we feel bad – which makes us want more carbohydrates. Its a vicious cycle that leads to true addiction.
OK, if you are a carbohydrate addict, does that mean you’re powerless to change?
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about addictions. Very few people realize that a diagnosis of addiction is not a life sentence – it is something that can be controlled – and is controlled by almost everyone who has ever become addicted to a drug. And the vast majority of drug and alcohol addicts overcome their addictions on their own, without the help of groups, therapy or clinics.
Of course, we hear about the folks who can’t overcome their addictions, who end up in rehab time after time, or who lose their jobs, crash their cars, or end up on the street. This image of the minority has overshadowed the truth – most people who become addicted to a substance that is not good for them, and which causes health or social problems, do wake up and change. They do walk away from their addictions, and go on to lead productive lives.
They do it privately, quietly, responsibly – and we never hear about them. They are your neighbors, your coworkers, perhaps even your parents. They act like normal, happy people, because they’ve left their addictions behind them.
Click here for more information on sugar and carb addiction.