…it’s not you, it’s them.
The Real Deal about Sugar and Flour
Do you have strong cravings for ice cream and cookies?
Do you find it difficult to stick to one slice of bread?
Are your sugar cravings leading to late-night binges?
Well friend, you’re not alone. When it comes to certain foods, the idea of “just one” will never suffice. You might tell yourself, “I’m just having one oreo for dessert!”, only to quickly devour the entire sleeve, and then some.
It isn’t mere coincidence that your compulsion to overeat feels stronger with certain foods – while miraculously, that broccoli and chicken sitting on your plate doesn’t seem to have the same pull!
That’s because particular foods – namely Sugar and Flour, are addictive in nature and have a real biochemical impact on your body.
Before we dig into the Science, let’s get to the first order of business.
Please STOP beating yourself up and telling yourself that you “should” have more willpower. This isn’t a matter of willpower and the problem does NOT lie within you. The problem is rooted in the addictive nature of Sugar and Flour.
What Does Science Say?
Willpower is a limited resource. You use it all day long. The moment you get out of bed, you’re making decisions big and small, that require willpower. Work, kids, friends, commuting – it’s no wonder that by the end of the day you’re exhausted and you’re ready for a reward. Pizza, anyone? The real antidote to willpower is planning, building new habits, and mastering skills!
What really happens when you eat Sugar and Flour?
When you gobble down that cupcake or bagel, your body becomes flooded with a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is known as the “pleasure hormone” affecting the decision-making, memory, and learning centers of the brain. It tells us to seek out, and keep doing whatever it was that initially produced the dopamine.
When you eat that cupcake your brain’s “pleasure center” lights up from the burst of dopamine, which signals more cravings. Your brain wants more of where that came from!
That explains why you may keep reaching for that second, third, or tenth cupcake. And with continued dopamine exposure you’re going to build up a tolerance. Once upon a time, one cupcake might have felt satisfying but now it takes several more to produce the same effects!
What Does Science Say?
According to Schulte, Avena, and Gearhardt (2015), highly processed foods are connected with addictive-like eating patterns. Sugar specifically, is associated with several indicators of addictive behavior, including binge eating and tolerance.
This is important because too often we think it’s a ME problem. That something is wrong with us. But the truth is, certain foods by design trigger our cravings, so we keep eating more and more!
Let’s not forget your Endocrine System.
If you’re someone who experiences the sensation of “never feeling full” after a meal, things will make a lot more sense after you read this…
Leptin. What is it and why does it matter?
Leptin is a hormone with a really important job. It tells your brain: “I’m full from this meal! Now, let’s move on with our day!”
It’s known as the “satiety hormone” because it sends a signal to your brain when you’re fully satiated. However, there’s a culprit in our everyday food that interrupts leptin from doing its job. Any guesses? Yup, SUGAR.
When you eat excess Sugar and Flour, your insulin levels spike, which in turn BLOCK the release of leptin.
Consuming excess Sugar and Flour will raise your insulin levels. Insulin also has a very important job, which is to regulate your blood sugar. As you eat more sugar your insulin levels rise, your blood sugar destabilizes, and your leptin gets blocked! Yikes, talk about wreaking havoc!
What Does Science Say?
Overeating has become increasingly more common in our modern world, making obesity and Type 11 diabetes a growing epidemic across the globe. *Even objectively “healthy” folks eating a westernized diet – characterized by foods that are highly processed, low in fiber, and high in sugar, have been found to have above-average leptin levels!
On to the GOOD news.
Okay, I know that’s a lot of information to sink in. But now that you’re aware of the different ways Sugar and Flour hijack your body, let’s get to the good news!
It doesn’t have to be this way.
When you stop, or considerably reduce your consumption of Sugar and Flour, your leptin and insulin will restore to natural levels. After sugar and flour are cut from your diet, you will feel fuller quicker and your dopamine receptors will start to go back to baseline over time.
Isn’t that amazing?
Once this restoration occurs, the cravings will subside, your hunger and fullness cues will come back online, and you can start building the foundation to your dream relationship with food.
Like literally, after all of these years of not eating sugar and flour, I’m still in awe that I can stop when I’m full. Truly a miracle for a big-time binger like me. And the same can be for you.
By Breaking up with Sugar and Flour, it is possible to…
- Experience real hunger and fullness again
- Go to bed and sleep throughout the night without eating
- Finish your meal and feel satisfied
- Release weight
- Reverse type 2 diabetes
- Have a QUIET mind and a peaceful, loving relationship with food.
Now that you understand how powerful Sugar and Flour are, here are three simple steps to help you move closer towards the loving relationship with food you deserve.
Get honest and real about your relationship with Sugar and Flour. If you’re unsure where you stand, take a moment to fill out the Yale Food Addiction Scale here.
Remember: change happens in incremental steps. Start with one action step today. Maybe you remove all the sugary foods from your house or make an appointment with a coach. Take it one day at a time. #babysteps.
Connect with support. Working towards creating a healthy relationship with food is not something you can do alone. Build a support system to help you in your journey. That can be a therapist, coach, support group, or friend. There is no such thing as having too much support!
P.S. Molly Carmel is fiercely devoted to helping those who want to heal their relationship with food, weight, and dieting.
By offering the essential tools, support, and guidance to navigate all aspects of life, Molly Carmel empowers people to find true nourishment – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – and realize the very best version of themselves.
If you’re looking for extra support, Molly Carmel offers a range of services to meet your varying needs. From individual coaching, therapy, group classes, and the BUWS Facebook Group (Join now!), Molly Carmel can help you get on the path to creating a loving relationship with food.
Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash