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HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
12/24/13 10:35 A

I have also found that artificial sweeteners are really bad news for me so no aspartame or sucralose. I have found that I can have occasional treats made with Xylitol or with JustLikeSugar or withStevia. Xylitol tastes the best of those to me but is also highly toxic to pets so I'm extremely careful with it.

WEWRTFO Posts: 193
12/24/13 5:07 A

If your sensitive to artificial sweeteners like I am. I believe products like Aspartame are equally responsible as is sugar for being hungry all the time and craving food. After 30 years of failed weight loss by way of good eating habits, tracking calories, cutting out much of the sugar. At the same time l was drinking 4-7 cans of diet soda, no sugar yogurts, pudding, instant jello,Cryste light products, I was doing everything right nutritionally,but still constant food cravings and eventually failed. Very frustrating!

About eight months ago I cut out all foods and drink sweetened with Aspartame or Sucralose (splenda) Eliminating the artificial sweeteners & cutting back on sugar has been a true life changer for me. 1st time in my life I have not been hungry all the time & takes much less food to be satisfied for a very long time. Daily calorie goals has been easy in comparison, as if I am eating naturally and on my way to loosing the 260 pounds of weight. Once I reach my goal weight, I honestly believe I will be able to keep it off. My eating habits have been permanently changed forever now while loosing the weight and eventually the same once weight is off.

Which motivates me most is knowing I will be able to keep the weight off once I reach my goal. Where in past attempts for example, loosing 75 pounds then gaining it all back you loose the mindset & confidence you have in yourself on the ability to loose all the weight and keep it off. I had been convinced my entire life artificial sweeteners had nothing to do with my weight problem. I increased my artificial sweetener consumption every time I became serious about weight loss. I had ignored the negative talk regarding artificial sweeteners being bad for you until I read upon an article that they make you constantly hungry, crave sweets, tricking the brain into getting sugar, not getting it and constantly craving sugar as a result. On hindsight, I believe artificial sweeteners are largely responsible for my excess weight & lifetime of bad eating habits.

Just wanted to share my personal experience. It's taken me 30 years for me to figure out the missing link regarding my own weight loss. I am able to keep sugar levels low and naturally crave all the healthy vegetables that were mostly missing before. If the diet gets too high in sugars, vegetable cravings get transferred to sweet cravings & needs to be corrected ASAP. These past eight months I have had a couple of periods where sugar went a little out of control causing the hungry all the time syndrome. Good news is weight did not gain back as fast, and corrected myself easily by cutting back the sugars. Where in past with the artificial sweeteners in my diet I had no fighting chance.

Hope this information helps someone who may be consuming a large amount of artificial sweeteners or sugar in there diet.

Edited by: WEWRTFO at: 12/24/2013 (05:53)
SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,320
12/23/13 2:37 P

Just an added note to Becky's post

Dried fruit is dehydrated and that makes the fruit more concentrated in sugar. Dried fruits have more calories and natural actually is better to eat fresh fruits as they hydrate you and have fiber.

Satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your blood sugar in check by eating berries, cherries, apples, peaches, pears, plums, kiwi and oranges. It's a drop in blood sugar that can make you hungry.

This link may help you

crave sugary foods

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
12/21/13 10:17 P

I think it helps to distinguish between physical withdrawal symptoms and emotional eating. It is also helpful to think of a threshhold, although maybe a very small one. Completely abstinence is often preached but rarely practiced, even with alcohol and tobacco. After a long time of not smoking many ex-smokers can handle second-hand smoke for at least brief periods without relapsing. The same is true of alcholics who accidentally ingest some alcohol as part of a chocolate truffle.
For me as a recovered sugar addict I can have a very small amount of very dark chocolate without any problems at all, for some people this will trigger carb-creep (gradual increase).
There are other helpful strategies to deal with the almost automatic fear that is the results of telling oneself that one can never have a favorite food again. To decide to take one day or one week at a time, to find a replacement food that taste similar but does not have the same effect (Xylitol instead of sugar would be an example), to not have some foods in the house, to eat before social functions, to allow extra calories of other foods etc.
A good system of positive reinforcement for oneself, maybe with the help of family members, can also be of great help.
Just like with quitting smoking, many people have to make quite a few attempts to free their diet of sugar and sometimes it needs to happen in stages. I like the 4-week plan on Spark because everyone can do it the way they want. When I did it I did it differently from some of the other people and that's ok. People can also do it several times, each time challenging themselves a little more.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 12/21/2013 (22:19)
12/21/13 4:56 P

The "Never again" approach works for very few--unless it is tied to a "life or death" type situation (food allergy, alcoholism, drug dependency, etc).
I have however seen great results with a cold-turkey plan for 4 weeks then experimenting to determine trigger foods, how often to incorporate these triggers, and what environmental controls to implement for success. For example: perhaps ice cream is found to be a high trigger. But one may discover that they should not keep ice cream in the house, but can go out for a single dip scoop, once a month.


NIRERIN Posts: 14,327
12/21/13 4:11 P

i once read somewhere that the percentage of people who can really do cold turkey is somewhere under 5% of the population [and i think it was even under 1%. it was a really small number in any case]. and by do cold turkey i mean just decide one day that you're not going to do/eat x ever again and it just sticks from there and that's the end of the story. so if you're okay with saying "no cookies again, ever" and it's fine and you're happy with it, stick with it. if i say anything like that to myself i immediately want cookies because i can't have them, and i'll do my best to go out, get and eat a full bag of oreos, despite the fact that i don't really like oreos. telling myself never again is the quickest way to get me to want something. other people try cold turkey and fall off somewhere within about the first three months. the vast majority of people are work like this. we can't just decide and do. if you can, by all means do it the quick way and don't pay any attention to what those of us without that kind of decisiveness and willpower need to do.
just remember that carbs run the gamut from krispy kreme to kale. while it's fine to say no to the krispy end of the spectrum, you should not let being carbs count against the kale end. because my guess would be that cauliflower and brussel sprouts aren't really triggering your cookie cravings. and by the same token pay more attention to eliminating added sugars rather than the natural ones found in fruit and milk.

12/21/13 3:35 P

You will see in the SP 4-week plan, that things like honey, molasses, maple syrup are all "added sugar"...One usually eats these to add sweetness to cookies, biscuits, pancakes, etc. Added sugar is added sugar.

Dried fruit is an issue because of the dehydration of the fruit.
Since 15 grapes is a serving; then 15 raisings is a serving.
Since 2 small apricots is a serving, then two small dried apricots is a serving.
But in a dried form--folks usually eat a great deal more.


Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 12/21/2013 (15:38)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
12/21/13 3:18 P

It is also quite possible to avoid all sugars that are added plus those in higher amounts in natural foods. Some of us need to avoid things like tropical fruit, dried fruit, honey and other natural sugars almost completely while others do fine just avoiding added sugar.
When food cravings go away you know you are on the right track but be prepared for it to take a week or a little longer. emoticon


12/21/13 3:09 P

Preliminary research (using rats) has shown that sugar can activate the pleasure centers of the brain. These centers are also stimulated by drugs and alcohol. However, the term "addiction" does need to be used carefully.

I encourage you to give our 4-week sugar addiction plan a try (sorry for the title).

This is a way to remove the added sugar and overly processed sweetness in your diet---while "not" having to go into ketosis. You will still be able to incorporate fruits, milk, yogurt, beans, lentils, potatoes, lima beans, whole grain foods, oatmeal, etc, etc. This will give your body the "health carbs" it needs and those important nutrients. Give it a try.

your SP Registered Dietitian

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
12/21/13 2:43 P

I know that for me sugar and wheat are highly addictive, for wheat in any quantity, for sugar in any quantity over 3-5 grams.
I will not necessarily crave more sugar but crave huge amounts of foods and feel like crap.
Just not worth it.

GIPPER1961 Posts: 769
12/20/13 12:54 P

I absolutely agree. I have been in a sugar relapse after nearly six months of success by eliminating sugar and wheat. My symptoms are very similar to what I have heard from both alcohol and drug addicted individuals.

I do however thing the term food addict lacks needed specificity. I think it is completely reasonable to be addicted to a substance (sugar cocaine) but to just call it food addiction not so much. Even though I love broccoli I certainly am not addicted to it. Same thing with salad or beans. But even fruit which is healthy can trigger an addictive response if I eat enough of it.

KNUCKLES145 Posts: 16,215
12/18/13 11:54 A

I agree that we tend to use addict much more often than is really called for, but I do think there are true sugar addicts.

and even if you aren't an addict, you can have withdrawal symptoms if you totally cut out extra sugar. I did one year when I gave up sweets for Lent. felt like CRAP the first couple of days. (like going off coffee cold turkey)

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
12/18/13 11:38 A

I'm not like that exactly; I'm fine with moderate or even high amounts of carbohydrates and regularly do "just a little bit" of some sweet things without suffering any adverse consequences. My weight's staying stable with little to no effort or thought from me.

All of that said -- some of what you say I can completely relate to. I do feel free. Eating the crap foods in large quantities made me feel terrible, yet I kept doing it. I didn't think it was even possible to stop. Now that I've kicked those things into what I believe is their proper place (very small amounts and/or rarely), there's just no comparison. Being able to eat what makes me feel good without that compulsion hanging over my head is very freeing. I see my father, who's been struggling with weight his whole life, grabbing a candy bar at the gas station that I know he'll barely even register the taste of, will forget about five minutes later, and which will make him feel bad ... I'm really glad that's not me anymore, when any and every trip out of the house was an excuse to pick up several hundred calories worth of not very much.

There's plenty of people here who have made low carb/ketosis into a lifestyle and are very happy with it. I firmly believe the best way to lose weight (within reason of course) is the one you're most comfortable with. I'm sure you'll get a lot of support.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,338)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,812
12/18/13 10:57 A

I exhibited addictive behaviors towards sugar before eliminating it.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/18/13 7:28 A

Sugar may be a trigger for you. If you were addicted and quit, you would get sweats, and shaking, and feel nauseous.

We use the term addicted way too often, so be sure.

A lot of us have issues with sugar. Most can be okay with using it in moderation, but for most of these people they think moderation works, even though they are always " hungry ".

Instead of realizing that it is because of these trigger foods, which are almost always carbs, especially processed foods, and sugar, when asked what is the problem, they usually respond " willpower ".

For you, I would recommend reading a book on glycemic index, and see if switching to low glycemic carbs does the trick. Sugar is NOT a low glycemic

You may find that a small change like this will be enough, and can enjoy plenty of healthy carbs, like greens, berries, beans, nuts, and some dairy, while eating others like potatoes, and pasta in moderation. Most likely cutting salty, sugary processed carb, and sweets will be the bulk of your improvement.

As to whether anyone can relate.. I used to be 361 lbs, and ate lots of ice cream, pop, cereal, and Taco Bell, as well as 2-3 other meals, that I considered healthy. I would have some pasta at dinner, and an hour later, I would be starving, and eating 10 bean burritos, a pint of Ben & Jerry's, a 2 liter of Pepsi, and 4 candy bars. I would hurt from overeating, and 2 hours later, I might have 2-3 bologna sandwiches.

I started Atkins, and the cravings disappeared. I started eating 3000 calories a day, and no more. I am down to 2,000-2,500 a day now, averaging 2,200, and eating exactly what is in my tracker. The #1 thing that helped me, was being able to control my eating. I started dropping weight, and then I started exercising as I got lighter, and healthier, and it just adds up. I eat healthier, and exercise more, as I get lighter, which makes me lighter, and adds to my exercise, When I stated, I did not exercise, due to my heart problem, and weight, plus being on oxygen. Now I am 170 lbs lighter, and exercise 45-60 minutes 365 days a year.. even Christmas. Being healthy just becomes a habit, and you don't need to force it.

Start by making changes to your quality of carbs, and see if you stop feeling cravings/hunger. This should allow for you to eat properly, and lose weight. Once you get that under control, start taking short walks, or watching an exercise DVD. Just do what you can, and the next month, increase the exercise a tiny bit. Usually, one day you just feel like walking 30 minutes, instead of 15, and it becomes a habit. Then 45 minutes, then an hour. If you can do more vigorous exercise, you up the intensity, but let the progression happen naturally, and make exercise fun. Play sports, or walk/hike/bike/swim outside, instead of machines at a gym. Keep eating a small calorie deficit, and exercising more, and the weight will just continue to disappear, since you aren't hungry anymore.

Trying to lose weight while always hungry is almost impossible, and I have to salute those who do so. I failed at it, and had to go another route. I just have to wonder if the people who lost 30 lbs on a diet that leaves them perpetually hungry, would already be at goal weight, if they eliminated this hunger? They obviously can lose weight while starving. Think how much easier it would be, if they had to remember to eat lunch, because they would never think " I'm hungry, when's lunch ? "

My biggest problem right now, is increasing calories/variety as I near goal weight, so I don't lose too fast, and also so I can learn how to eat a wider variety of carbs that are acceptable to me/ I want to coast into goal weight, with my diet set, and be able to say.. I'll eat 15 servings of fruit and vegetables, and at 2,500 calories I maintain 164. At 2,200 I am losing weight at several lbs a week, and am pretty sure I will need to up calories more to stop losing . If I was always hungry, I doubt I could focus on these changes. Most likely, I would be focusing on my next meal.

Hope you find success with the minimum amount of changes. Glycemic index applies even to healthy foods, like pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, and bananas. That does not mean they are bad, but that you might find alternatives that work better for you, like berries instead of bananas. Cauliflower, instead of potatoes ( although I hate cauliflower ) I have no alternatives for pasta, or rice, or grains, or corn, except to say, maybe wheat pasta, or brown rice, or quinoa will affect you less. Try everything, and if it causes a binge, then you have to decide if you will eliminate it, or limit it. Or you can just eliminate things over a certain G.I. Most people don't think they will stick to this, so they opt to limit higher glycemic foods to special occasions. Find out how every food affects you, and then adjust your diet accordingly.


HEALTHSPARKS SparkPoints: (593)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 6
12/18/13 6:26 A

It makes great sense, if you ask me. I can't explain exactly, but talking from experience. I was addicted to sweets and trying eating less of them did not work for me. Then I decided what I consider as sweets and stopped eating all of them from one moment. No serious craving or anything worth to mention. I was eating a lot of carbohydrates before and after that, so for me, this is not about carbs, but just about sweetness.

FINNYB SparkPoints: (3)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 1
12/18/13 5:54 A

Hi everyone,

I'd really like some opinions or advice on this. The only time I ever feel in control of my eating and devoid of insane cravings, is when I'm in ketosis. I'm unsure if it's actually being in ketosis or being away from carbs and sugar for a prolonged time.
What long term diet plans could give me the same affect? I honestly think a life without sugar is much more appealing than the life I've been living, I can't do "one cookie", or one of anything of the junk food (or processed food) variety. I've tried countless times, calorie counting, 5:2, WW etc and while I think they're all great plans and I've seen first hand how successful they've beendfor friends and family. They just don't seem to work for me as after a few days my cravings are so bad that I'm planning to use all my calories, points etc on junk filled binges.

Does anybody relate? However when I'm completely away from it I feel free. Like right now, I wouldn't even want a chocolate bar or giant bag of chips. It reminds me of giving up smoking, I couldn't have had one a day, I had to just stop completely or I'd have failed.

Is anything I'm saying make sense, I'm brand new here so thanks so much for reading and I'm sorry if this is a bit all over the place!

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