April 23, 2017
For these next two blogs I’m going to address ALL the chains that bind a large majority of the people in this country but today I’m just focusing on the food chain (forgive me but I couldn’t resist the pun!)
According to the American Psychiatry Organization, the clinical definition of addiction is a “brain disease” the symptoms of which are
· compulsive use of a substance despite harmful consequences,
· tolerance to the effect of the substance,
· and withdrawal symptoms when use of the substance is either reduced or stopped.
Furthermore, various types of imaging on the brains of addicted individuals “show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory and behavior control” (for more info click here)
I think it’s safe to say we all agree that regularly consuming things that are known to be addictive doesn’t sound like a healthy thing to do.
Isn’t it also safe to say we all agree that sugar doesn’t make you healthier?
But I bet it would surprise you to hear ANY food that super-stimulates your tastebuds may create a pattern of stimulation and reward similar to any classically additive “neural pathway” in the brain?
Most people know that the more sugar we eat the more accustomed we get to that super-sweet taste and the more sugar we want (anybody who’s ever binged on Easter or Halloween candy knows that firsthand!) But here’s something most people forget: artificial sweeteners are designed to be EVEN SWEETER that anything you can find in nature. For instance
· Aspartame (Equal) is 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar.
· Sucralose (Splenda) is 600 times sweeter than table sugar.
· And Stevia (which is considered by most people to be one of the healthiest sugar-substitutes) is 200-350 times sweeter than table sugar.
There are LOTS of things I can say about the detrimental effects of artificial sweeteners (even Stevia) but let’s just focus on the fact that artificial sweeteners light up the pleasure centers of the brain in ways we’ve never before experienced. Over time, it becomes harder and harder for us to experience the same level of pleasure and reward we did even the last time we ate that artificially-sweetened food. And in the end we’re dissatisfied with anything that doesn’t taste super-sweet AND MORE IMPORTANTLY it’s darn near impossible to appreciate the naturally sweet (and other) flavors found in fresh foods.
NOW ADMIT IT, DOESN’T THE PATTERN I’VE JUST DESCRIBED SOUND DOWNRIGHT ADDICTIVE?
MORE IMPORTANTLY, DOESN’T THAT CALL INTO QUESTON A LOT OF WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT HEALTHY FOOD??
So here’s where I’m going with all of this: over the years many clients have come to me saying they’re addicted to oreo cookies, (BTW did you know that in 2013 a Connecticut College study proved that oreos were MORE ADDICTIVE THAN COCAINE?), eating potato chips on the coach during “Mike & Molly,” cheese, coffee…you name it. Before I began my own long, ongoing journey towards health (click here for my story) of course I felt compassion for these stories but didn’t really understand how easily foods can cause changes in brain chemistry over time (just like the changes in brain chemistry anyone who’s ever been addicted to anything experiences.)
But why do you think rehabs are almost always 30 days long? It’s because you can break almost any addiction (no matter how horrible) in just about 30 days.
So if you’ve ever felt you were addicted to super-sweet (or ANY) food, or even a food-related behavior (like eating potato chips on the coach during “Mike & Molly”), sign up for my next Paleo Made Practical class and let me show you how EASY it is to break the food chains that bind you (AND IN ONLY 30 DAYS…IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT!!!)