Who is a carbaholic
An over indulgence of anything, even something as pure as water,can intoxicate.These words by Criss Jammi capture the true face of addiction, it is an uncontrollable urge to indulge in something bad for a few moments of pleasure. Food addiction has become a true problem of our times as seen by the rising cases of obesity and lifestyle diseases. Simple Carbohyrate rich foods are the most easy to get addicted to as they are usually more palatable and a provide a high energy boost to our bodies. An addiction to carbohydrates had long been ignored as a real scientific issue. Recent research has shown, however, that a carbaholic( a person addicted to rich carbohydrate foods) may actually have a brain similar to a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Inside a carbaholic’s brain
Neuro imaging studies have actually shown that a carbolic’s brain actually experiences biochemical changes that create the uncontrollable need to binge on processed foods. It is this biochemical changes that cause carbaholics to associate food with a sense of euphoria and actually create so called blank spots in the brain, such that they forget the negative effects that binging on processed foods has on their health and relationships.
• Processed foods have opiates in them-research has found that popular processed foods (chocolate, cheese) when broken down during digestion actually release mild opiate like substances that interact with the brain like exogenous opioids ( heroin or cocaine). This may be one of the factors that causes those with food dependencies to associate carbohydrate foods with ecstasy and euphoria
•Endorphin release -These are substances that are produced in the brain that naturally create a ‘ mental high’ and provide pain relief. Studies have shown that people who remedy stress with carbohydrates actually experience an increase in endorphin release when eating these processed foods. It is your brains craving for an endorphin fix that will cause you to crave for processed foods.
•The lack of serotonin- Eating food causes a release of a neurohormone called serotonin; this hormone actually signals the brain to produce a feeling of satiety. This hormone also provides relief for pain (both emotional and physical). Some carbaholics actually have a reduced serotonin levels which is only increased when they binge on simple and energy dense foods.
The cardinal signs of an addiction to carbohydrate foods
•Inability to limit the amount of food you take in-Carbaholics are constantly binging, in some cases they can binge to the point of illness
•Hunger is not the motivation to eating-A carboholic has an eating habit. This habit is a compulsion and is not based on the primal reason why humans eat which is food.
•An inability to maintain healthy relationships. Those suffering from a food addiction would rather spend their time eating or looking for particular foods than spend time with their family and friends
•Sacrificing personal health- Just like any other addiction, a carboholic continues with their poor eating habits despite a direct negative effect on their health
•Experiencing withdrawal symptoms- agitation, mood changes, anxiety, nausea and headaches, when trying to cut out processed food items from their diet.
•Feelings of guilt and self-loathing – When food is the main reason for low self-opinions and when you know you want to stop but you just can’t.
•Constant cravings- The mind of carboholic needs to be rewarded with food, because food is what increases pleasure to it. These pleasure-reward patterns make it impossible to refrain from these carb rich foods.
•A life of secrets- Carbaholics realize that their addiction to food is unhealthy, so they will begin to indulge on these treats in secret.
The harmful effects of a carbohydrate addiction
•It can cause Type II diabetes- Type II diabetes is caused by an acquired resistance to insulin. Insulin is released by the body to control blood sugar levels Over indulging in foods that are rich in carbohydrates will cause the body to increase its release of Insulin. Over time this may result in a tolerance to insulin by the body, this may eventually become insulin resistance
•It is the main cause of obesity-Obesity is an alarming problem that has become an epidemic especially in developed countries. Most people from relatively high perfuming economies have a greater access to large amounts of processed and fried foods.
•Increases the risk to cancers-Carbohydrates actually act as basic building blocks of the structures in malignant cells
•Overwhelming of the liver-The liver is the organ responsible for most metabolism in the body.If you over indulge in simple carbohydrates ,this constant sharp rise in blood glucose levels will cause the mechanism of the liver to be overwhelmed.These sugars will then be stored as fats which may cause steatosis(fat deposition), a fatty liver if not remedied will progress to liver cirrhosis or cancer.
•Increase of free radicals in our bodies-A diet that predominantly consist of simple carbohydrates means that the body is denied of the antioxidants we get from fruits and vegetables,this will lead to an increase in free radicals which directly damage the cells of our body.Actually a high free radical count in the blood is associated with quick aging and reduced life expectancy
The steps to recovery
•The food journal: keep a comprehensive list of the food you eat, even those treats you take in the small hours of the night. In your food journal make food plans for what you will eat and what you will cut out of your diet
•Exercise-A routine cardiovascular workout carried out 4-5 days a week for 45 minutes will reduce the levels of insulin in your body and increase satiety.
•Drink Black coffee (preferably organic)-One ingredient of coffee is cafestrol; Cafestrol occupies the brain opioid receptors that were previously occupied by opiates derived from processed foods, this effectively blocks the process to addiction.
•Have a protein shake daily-A protein shake comprising of high biological value foods like eggs will increase the feeling of satiety and will also help promote muscle growth
•Seek professional help-If you use food as an outlet for your physical and emotional pain, then getting the help of psychotherapy may help solve these pertinent emotional issues. Psychotherapists may also be able to diagnose whether your addiction to food is as a result of hormonal imbalance and thus treat that effectively. Another professional who may be able to help is a nutritional coach who will help plan those meals accordingly
•Have regular meals-Going into starve mode may worsen those sugar cravings.Instead have light meals every 3-5 hours,make meals full of proteins and vegetables
•The fruit cure-Every time you crave a sugary treat grab a fruit instead.Choose fruits that are high in fibre and that you find particularly sweet.These will give you that sugar fix while still giving you enough nutrients and fiber and thus increase your satiety
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