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Straight sugar - straight grain

Monday, March 11, 2013

This is a continuation of my blog from yesterday.
Some people responded to me on the blog or privately stating that they do in fact like straight sugar or grain-products like bread. Others said that it is only the combination of these things with other foods that make them attractive or that things like bread or rice function as a filler, a buffer, or to clean the palate between different tastes.
Using grains as a filler is something that I am very familiar with as I have done this for many years. It seems that the price for grain is low enough, at least for white flour, that it is possible to get lots of calories for relatively little money. This is a good thing for people who are extremely poor and/or close to starvation and is an issue for a significant percentage of the world's population. The interesting thing is that obesity affects more people worldwide than starvation now.
Concerning the use of grains and other starches like rice as fillers some of this is cultural and it is good to become aware of this fact and to make a conscious decision if giving in to cultural pressures is worth it for us.
For people who enjoy the taste of plain (even if fancy/gourmet) bread or of plain rice or of plain sugar I would love to know what that experience is like since I have never had it.
Does this enjoyment lead to a food craving an hour two later (indicating a possible addiction) or is it the taste, texture or the act of eating that makes it feel good? How does the experience of eating these plain foods compare to eating high-fat or protein foods, maybe meat, or avocado or nuts, or fresh, raw foods like vegetables or fruit? Which is more pleasurable and when? Does the association of bread with other things like butter, or jelly or cheese or even pizza toppings bring about good feelings even in the absence of these things just because the brain has been trained that way? Is the fact that a lot of these foods are very convenient and easy to prepare and/or store and the fact that they are therefore always handy make them useful to satisfy unplanned cravings between meals?
Lots of questions, I know, I thought they might in part be helpful to find out what makes grains and sugar so irresistable and how to make it easy to do without them.

One book that has some of the answers to this topic is this:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am one of those people who loves bread completely by itself. I definitely see an addiction element present.
    -- now that I abstain from wheat, I can forego bread. Many events serve only pizza; I can ignore it. Church dinners always include hot soft rolls; I can ignore them.
    -- when I ate bread, I NEVER got "enough." I would stop eating after 3 rolls just from some remaining shred of self-respect, not because I was satisfied.
    --I would eat it secretly
    --I would buy a package of hamburger buns and eat three. This is the bottom of the barrel in the category of bread items, yet I craved them.
    --before I stopped eating wheat, I thought about food all the time. I did exercise a lot of self-control, but it was agony. By God's mercy I only got up to 90 pounds overweight. I lost 35 pounds 3 times and gained it back. I lost 57 pounds and gained it back. Now I'm down 25 pounds from my highest, but it is an entirely different experience since I don't eat wheat, and eat plenty of meat, healthy fat, fruits and veggies. Some yogurt, some cheese. It's still hard work, but do-able. I can eat this way the rest of my life. Trying to lose weight with a bread/sugar addiction was awful.
    --you are correct that additions are a significant element. Yes, I craved bread plain and would eat immoderate quantities, but I would eat MORE with additonal items, flavorings, etc.
    --in my case there are certainly emotional elements and habituation elements, but I am personally convinced that there is a chemical addictive response that enters in.

    I don't speak up very often on your blog or page, but I am a silent fan. I truly appreciate how informative and insightful you are about nutrition topics. Thank you for the benefit and inspiration you bring to so many of us.
    1924 days ago
    For me, eating is about the flavor and texture. And how those play together on my paplatte. I do honestly like a good rustic fermented sourdough bread. I love teh hard crust and the chewy-ness of the soft inside and how it melts in my mouth. But I can eat 1-2 slices and not eat any more. But plain old white bread - can't stand the stuff.
    Pasta for me is just a delivery system for the veggies in the sauce. I think pizza is too doughy, except for extremely thin crusts. And I don't like cheese on pizza.

    But sugar and salt I can taste miles away. And I don't use a lot.

    But a oiece of bread is tastier to me than most meats. I just don't enjoy most meats. It's a tecture thing for me. I detest chicken. not so crazy about beef. I eat mainly lamb and bison. And lots of fish.

    To me, this is an area where your mileage may vary. What works for one body and set of taste buds may eb awful for another.
    1925 days ago
    I don't get cravings or out of control hunger any more. I eat small amounts of bread and starches on occasion - a far cry from the 3-5 servings per day I used to eat. If I eat too much, then yes, that can happen. Personally, I can't stay very low-carb for long. The potassium drop can be scary, and I don't like to manage it with supplements. I prefer carb cycling where I cycle high and low so I can replenish potassium stores naturally with sweet potatoes or fruit, my carb of choice. Also, my focus is more on maintenance these days instead of weight loss.

    Salt, fat and sugar in the optimal proportions on food make us go "yum". Our taste buds are highly sensitive to desire those three things. Lean meat without salt or fat can taste bland, too. I eat a lot of avocados, but without salt I'd be less enthusiastic about eating it.
    1925 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/11/2013 8:21:19 PM
    I agree with you, I've gotten to the point that if I think "bread", I think "gummy" or "doughy" - Same with crackers... There's nothing more bland than a piece of bread or a cracker without salt - that tells me it's the salt that's giving the flavor, not the bread itself. So... put a few grains of sea salt in your mouth - Same effect!! (Why do the manufacturers always put such enticing toppings on them? They may not sell it if they'd just sell them plain).

    I think most of us think of bread and ~~~ rather than just bread. Be it bread and butter, bread and peanut butter, bread and (name your favorite topping)..

    And I'm not saying I'm perfect, but for the most part, bread isn't in my thoughts anymore.
    1925 days ago
    great informative blog--thanks for sharing its a fascinating topic

    Country Living Team
    1925 days ago
  • GLC2009
    i think it's also interesting to note that there is more obesity than starvation and that alot of obese people suffer from malnutrition.
    1925 days ago
    One thing to consider is that some people's enzymes might work more quickly than others, and the wheat flour that tastes "pasty" to me tastes sweet and delicious to someone else.

    The starch in the flour is converting directly to glucose in the mouth by the action of the enzyme amylase, which is found in saliva. Anyone can demonstrate this by putting a (no salt on top) saltine in their mouths and allowing it to dissolve. In less than a minute the flavor changes from bland to sweet.
    1925 days ago
    cutting down on bread, rice
    1925 days ago
    I do enjoy both sugar and bread. Too much and agree that it is something to be mindful of because neither has any real health benefit. I'm not sure I can answer all of your questions, but I can say that a good, crusty Italian or French bread tastes great to me without anything else on it. I love the crunch and the chewiness. It usually has a touch of a salty flavor to me. I also love it with butter or oil. All good.

    With sugar I like the sweet sensation that spreads through your mouth. I hate admitting that I would absolutely eat plain sugar or sugar cubes and enjoy it. It sort of dissolves in your mouth.

    I'm not advocating either of theses habits/choices/addictions mind you. In fact I'm working hard to break both of them. I was just intrigued by the notion that they are not enjoyable. I really hope that if I can abstain from these habits long enough, I'll feel as you do.
    1925 days ago
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