Until the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the airwaves, one of the biggest news stories was the opioid epidemic, which, in 2018, was the cause of nearly 50,000 deaths in the United States. But there’s another dangerous epidemic of addiction that isn’t being talked about enough: carbohydrate addiction or carb addiction. Maybe in comparison to the opioid crisis and certainly the COVID-19 pandemic, carb addiction seems as serious as a paper cut. But let’s not underestimate the effects carb addiction has on society.
But the mass consumption of unhealthy carbs—bagels, most kinds of bread, cakes, cookies, cereal, fruit juice, sweetened yogurt, pastries, anything with white flour, etc— are largely responsible for the continuing rise in obesity and diabetes (diabesity).
Metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes and the other chronic diseases they contribute to (heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, to name a few) have a steep economic burden, costing the U.S. economy many billions of dollars every year. And forget the economic impact of carb addiction. As an ER nurse of over 10 years and a certified health coach, I have seen first hand how overeating can cause depression and emotional instability.
The Addictive Nature of Carbs
If you’re addicted to unhealthy carbs, don’t feel guilty or ashamed. Seriously. Not even one bit. I’m here to tell you it’s not your fault. In fact, research proves that carbohydrates exert an addictive influence on the brain that is very similar to drugs.
The reason why you might crave more carbs even after you eat, say, a bagel, is that carbs that digest rapidly stimulate regions of the brain involved in cravings and addiction. This was the finding of a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Now, if you were to go to your family physician and say, “You know doc, I can’t stop eating carbs,” your doctor will not diagnose you with “carb addiction.” But I’m here to tell you carb addiction should be treated just as seriously as drug addiction.
Keep in mind that if you have carb addiction, it’s not because you lack will power. Carb addiction is not a lifestyle problem. There’s also nothing wrong with you mentally, if you find yourself powerless to consume unhealthy carbs.
But what we can do, you and I together, is figure out how to fix your brain chemistry.[SCHEDULE A COMPLIMENTARY PHONE CONSULTATION WITH ME NOW]
How To Recover From Carb Addiction
Eating or drinking stuff with lots of sugar as well as the unhealthy foods mentioned above lead to a vicious cycle. Here’s what happens: When you consume anything with lots of simple sugars or carbs (remember: carbs get broken down into sugar), the levels of your “feel good” chemicals like serotonin, endorphin, and dopamine goes up.
Guess what happens when those levels of feel good chemicals start going back down? That’s right, you crave anything that will provide another “hit” of dopamine to light up the reward center of your brain—just like a hit of drugs!
Your feel-good chemicals aren’t the only thing that drops after eating sugar. Your blood sugar levels also crash. And when you have a blood sugar crash, you feel tired and irritable. So what do you do when you need an energy boost and you’re cranky? You have another sugar pick-me-up.
Do you see why carb addiction is a vicious cycle?
So how can you and I solve carb addiction together?
I’m not going to lie. It’s not something that we can fix in just one phone call. It will be an on-going process, one that involves fixing brain chemistry through nutritional therapy such as 5-HTP, L-tryptophan, GABA and L-glutamine (Don’t know what these do? No worries. On our introductory call, I’ll give you a mini crash course.)
And with the latest technological advances in functional medicine, we will together discover the root causes of whatever is holding you back from living life at its finest.I look forward to helping you live the life you deserve!
To your health,
Jenna L. Witt, APRN
Family Medicine/Functional Medicine
Certified Health Coach