As scientists who have been overweight, we know firsthand that food cravings and weight gain don’t always result from lack of willpower. Instead, they may be caused by biological addiction to carbohydrates and an overabundant production of the hormone insulin.
Carbohydrates and insulin
Our research shows that as many as 75% of overweight people and 40% of normal weight people suffer from a biological imbalance involving insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use and conserves food energy in three ways…
- Insulin tells your body when to eat.
- Insulin delivers food energy to wherever the body needs it.
- Insulin commands the body to save food energy stored in fat cells for a time when no food is available.
Many people produce so much insulin that their bodies are unable to absorb it all. As a result, they wind up with an excess of insulin in their bloodstreams. This imbalance leads to a cycle in which they experience overpowering cravings for carbohydrates, such as breads, pastas, snack foods and cakes. When they eat carbohydrates, the body releases even more insulin.
The result is constant hunger pangs, intense and recurrent cravings for carbohydrates, easy weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
Fortunately, carbohydrate addiction and insulin imbalance can be corrected so that you can lose weight and be healthy for the rest of your life without feeling deprived or struggling to manage your eating patterns and your weight.
Are you a carbohydrate addict?
Ask yourself the following six questions. They will help you find out if your body has trouble managing carbohydrates…
- After eating a full breakfast, do you get hungrier before it is time for lunch than you would if you had skipped breakfast altogether?
- Do you get tired after eating a large meal or find that you get sluggish and/or hungry in the afternoon?
- Have you been on diet after diet, only to regain all the weight that you lost and more?
- Does stress, boredom or tiredness make you want to eat?
- Do you sometimes feel that you aren’t satisfied, even though you have just finished a meal?
- Do you find it harder to takeoff weight and keep it off than when you were younger?
If you answered “yes” to two of these six questions, you are probably mildly carbohydrate-addicted. If you answered “yes” to three or four questions, you are likely to be moderately carbohydrate-addicted.
If you answered “yes” to five or six questions, you probably have a severe carbohydrate addiction that may be greatly affecting your life.
Managing your carbo-intake
We have created a simple plan to help restore the carbohydrate addict’s body to its natural balance.
This regimen has worked for both of us Rachael lost 165 pounds and Richard lost 45 pounds, and we have maintained that weight loss for more than 12 years. It has also worked for 80% of the 1,000 carbohydrate-addicted patients we counseled at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
The plan does not require you to deprive yourself of carbohydrates, only that you limit them to one meal a day to prevent the release of excessive amounts of insulin.
Two Categories of Food
- Carbohydrate-rich foods, including breads, grains, cereals, ice cream, milk, yogurt, fruit and juices, luncheon meats, pasta, noodles, rice, snack foods, sweets, and starchy vegetables beets, squash, carrots, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, peas and potatoes.
- Craving-reducing foods, including red meat, poultry, fish, cheese, tofu, oils, fats, dressings, non-starchy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, green beans, peppers, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli and mushrooms.
Our basic plan
- Eat one balanced Reward Meal every day for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is a balanced wholesome meal not a binge that includes all of the foods you need for good nutrition and health. Start with two cups of fresh salad. The rest of the meal should consist of..
- One-third craving-reducing protein, such as meat, poultry, fish, cheese, eggs or tofu.
- One-third non-starchy vegetables.
- One-third carbohydrate-rich foods such as starches, starchy vegetables and snack foods, fruits, juices or sweets. We don’t believe that you need to weigh your food or count calories or fat grams when following the plan. Simply use good sense and listen to your body when sizing up portions.
- Complete your Reward Meal within one hour. If the meal lasts longer, your body will continue to release insulin in response to the carbohydrate-rich foods, and you’ll be hungry all over again.
- Eat only craving-reducing foods at all other meals and snacks.
We’re not saying our plan will work for everyone. All programs must be individualized to suit particular lifestyles and needs. But we believe that carbohydrate addiction is so pervasive that, for most people, our plan is worth trying.
Working with your physician, follow the program for two weeks. You should immediately notice a lessening of your cravings.
If you don’t, try adjusting the program until you notice a difference for example, you may need to eat between-meal snacks, adjust the proportions of your meals, or adjust your intake of nutritional and other dietary supplements.