"Craving" it isn't a good thing.
Can food actually be as addictive as drugs or alcohol? Yes, the food industry spends millions to make sure their products contain just the right amounts of fat, sugar and salt to make them addictive.
A New York Times article talked about how the food industry strives to create the "bliss point" to capture the greatest share of the market. It also covered a meeting initiated by the executives of Pillsbury and Kraft in 1999, and attended by 11 of America’s largest food companies, with the agenda of addressing the emerging obesity epidemic and how to deal with it.
Kraft Executive Michael Mudd, in his presentation said, "We are saying that the industry should make a sincere effort to be part of the solution. And that by doing so, we can help to defuse the criticism that’s building against us."
In response to his presentation, the Head of General Mills said, "people bought what they liked, and they liked what tasted good. To change would jeopardize the sanctity of the recipes that had made his products so successful. General Mills would not pull back and he urged his peers to do the same."
The article goes on to say the top contributors to weight gain are red meat, processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages and potatoes, including mashed and French fries, with the biggest being potato chips.
A 2011 study by The New England Journal of Medicine shed new light on cravings and weight gain. The high content of salt, fat and sugar reward the brain with instant feelings of pleasure, the sugar exists not as an additive, but in the starch of the potato itself, all the combinations needed to make the perfect addictive food. The starch is readily absorbed more quickly than a similar amount of sugar, the starch in turn causes the glucose levels in the blood to spike, which results in a craving for more.
Michael Moss continues to write that in over 4 years of research and reporting, he has found a conscious effort to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.
According to this NY Times article, sugar is pervasive and highly addictive. With our fast life style, and people skipping meals, snacks fill in the gaps. Their answer is to educate people to make better choices.
The negative effects of eating a diet high in sugar, salt, and hydrogenated fat are well documented.
But what do you do when you are addicted? There are 4 ways to address and overcome that addiction:
1. Identify your problem areas.
When do you want something sweet? Why do you want it? How do you satisfy it? Are you satisfied when you eat what you are craving, or do you find yourself having eaten a half a bag of cookies and still looking for something else?
2. Notice what you're craving.
If it is ice cream, do you want something creamy or are you after cold and sweet? A good alternative for cold and sweet is frozen cherries, mangos, or other fruit of choice. Not only is it healthier, it is more satisfying.
If it is creamy you are looking for, try kefir, yogurt or eating berries with small pieces of cream cheese. Vanilla yogurt with pecans will give you creamy plus chewy.
Cookies are flour, butter and sugar. Most people are sensitive to wheat, so a better alternative is oat flour. I found if I melted butter, added oat flour and a good salt, plus anything else I wanted to add, like fine cut oatmeal, almond slivers, pecan pieces, coconut, cinnamon and/or clove, I had a "cookie" that would satisfy me and still be healthy.
Eating a few raw, soaked or dry, roasted nuts after a meal especially with a good quality mineralized salt can help settle your stomach.
Fruit as a desert can provide the sugar that acts to transport protein across the blood brain barrier.
3. Understand why you really want to eat something.
Are you eating because you need to chew? Are you eating because you're bored? Understanding WHY you're motivated to eat can help you pick the right foods to ease that emotional or psychological craving.
Eating mostly soft, cooked foods can leave you looking for something else to eat even when your stomach says it is full. This is when raw carrots, celery or even nuts are ideal.
4. Change your routine to support better habits.
Is the candy store close to your house and whenever you go past it you feel you need to stop? Changing your routine for a few days so you can eliminate the sugar will often be enough to move past the cravings.
Learn to pay attention your body; it knows what is good and bad for it.
Just because something is considered "healthy food", does not necessarily it is good for you. For example, there are specific foods that are good for one body type but not another. Almonds are good for all of the twenty-five body types except Pineal and Thalamus. Olive oil is great for the Pancreas body type, but is stressful for the Blood type. Grapefruit is excellent for Gallbladders, but not for Spleen, Skin, Balanced, Medulla, and Nervous System.
Knowing your body type validates what you intuitively know and fills in the gaps. There are twenty-five specific body types based on a person’s dominant gland, organ or system. Identifying your body type can open doors to nutritional awareness, self-awareness and personal empowerment. In a nutshell, it shows the way to obtain perfect body weight and optimum health. Click here to learn more about the 25 different body types and discover yours.
Carolyn L. Mein, D.C. is a chiropractic physician practicing in the San Diego, CA area for over 25 years. She developed the 25 Body Type System to help her patients maintain the weight loss they had achieved and get off the dieting roller coaster. The focus is the diet that is best for you, whether you want to lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight.