carb craving If you are overweight, over-fat or obese you did not get that way by eating too much fruit, vegetables, dairy or meat. You got that way, one way and one way only- by eating too much white food- bread, rice, pasta potatoes, cereal, sugar and beer (liquid grain). It is truly that simple. It doesn’t matter whether it is whole grain bread, rice or pasta or not, the effect is the same. Although there is a little more fiber and vitamins in whole grain, the effect on weight gain is essentially the same.

binge eatingSo why is this. First of all, these foods are almost pure starch, a type of carbohydrate that has very little nutrition and is essentially just empty calories. If you don’t burn every bit of these starch calories they are converted to fat by your liver and stored in your body as fat. White foods have 3 other qualities that make them dangerous from the standpoint of weight control. First, they have no turn off switch in your brain. Who binges on apples, lettuce or steak? Almost nobody does. Who binges on chips, cookies, fries and bread? Pick your poison and it’s most likely a white food.

brain seratonin and carb cravingSecondly, white foods increase levels of a depression- fighting chemical in your brain called serotonin. This effect is temporary however and when the effect wears off, you of course start looking for more of the same. This is why many of them are called comfort foods. Ever eat chicken for comfort? Doubtful. How about a box of Oreos? Heck yeah!

Carb craving comfort foodsEveryone has their tried and true comfort foods to treat stress, anxiety or the blues. The problem is, the guilt and shame that follows binging on these foods may very well be worse than the initial feelings, or, stated differently, the cure is worse than the disease.

The third and most pervasive reason white food makes you fat, is because of a well-documented effect known as insulin overshoot. Insulin response sugar overshootWhen you eat white food, in particular, sugar is released rapidly into your blood and your pancreas releases insulin to keep your blood sugar from getting dangerously high. White foods are high glycemic and induce an exaggerated insulin response, which then brings blood sugar TOO low and this signals the brain that you are hungry and it directs you to find and eat more white food.

Metabolic SyndromeMost overweight people spend their days on this rollercoaster or vicious cycle of unhealthy high blood sugar peaks and uncomfortable, tiring, brain fogging sugar lows. Since insulin is THE fat storage hormone, all these sugar/insulin peaks are driving fat on to your hips, thighs, belly, love-handles and most dangerously into your abdomen, around your organs. diabetes bodyThis process, repeated over and over again, daily over decades, will result in the body’s cells becoming insensitive to insulin (insulin resistance syndrome or metabolic syndrome) with resultant hypertension, elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and eventually heart disease. If the insulin resistance is severe enough it is known as Type II diabetes. Although there are medications for that, if you don’t change your eating habits this will progress to your pancreas becoming incapable of making insulin- it simply burns out. Then you will need to take insulin shots daily to keep from losing your eyesight, kidneys and toes. Unfortunately, even taking insulin will not necessarily prevent this from happening.

The information above is one of the postulates of medical weight loss. Now that you understand the what and why of carb craving be sure and watch Part II of this blog to learn what you can do to cure your carb craving problem.