Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Well, it depends on the person. For some people they don't seem to be addictive at all. Unfortunately I'm not in that group. For those people who find carbs addictive often not all carbs are equally addictive. For me the most addictive is sugar and other glucose or fructose-based sweeteners, with the exception of honey (eating too much of it makes me feel sick). Also equally addictive is wheat in most forms.
Rice, beans, starchy food like potatoes or tapioca and most grains don't tempt me at all. For those people that find themselves addicted to carbs I believe more and more that this addiction can be even harder to get over than prescription pain killers or alcohol.
The reason may be that these addictive carbs are much harder to avoid in our environment. We may not have them in our house but we seem them all the time and even smell them when we walk on any busy street, shopping mall, at work, in restaurants, anywhere people eat (which in the US is EVERYWHERE).
In addition most people still do not believe that there is such a thing as a carb addiction and therefore do not extend the same courtesy they would give a dry alcoholic drug addict. This often includes family members that are well-meaning but thoughtless when they invite us to join them for a high-carb treat.
Drugs that are legal and addictive foods are generally considered safer by most people, even though looking at statistics of people getting sick or dying may tell another story.
I'm very good at avoiding my trigger foods at home, but occasionally can't resist the sugary stuff when at a party. Rather than feeling guilty over my failure I have decided to simply go back to eating what is healthy for me as soon as possible.
Unfortunately every time I have to get back on track I go through withdrawal (mostly of sugar) again. It is annoying and makes me grumpy and physically tired for a couple of days at least. Once I have "kicked the habit" again it all does not seem like such a big deal any more and sugar looks quite innocent and not even very interesting, leading me to believe over short or long that having it very occasionally is really not so bad. But I guess alcoholics experience the same thing. It takes a number of repetitions for most of us to be done with our problem carbs for good. I will do very well for several months and suddenly decide that a certain situation justifies a "little going off track". And in a sense it is not that big a deal. I know what to do to get back on track, weight gain is not a problem in the short term and within a few days I'm back to normal functioning, my energy levels return, my mood improves, my sleep improves, the brain fog goes away. But I can't help comparing this to having the flu. Would I do something intentionally to get the flu a couple of times a year just for a short moment of pleasure? Maybe it's not worth it to have the occasional "treat", whether it's a gluten-free brownie, store-bought ice cream or gourmet chocolate (with the exception of very dark chocolate that is very low in sugar).
What do you think?