As Re-Find Health are frequently reminding me, the journalist and author of among other things The Case Against Sugar , Gary Taubes will be in London in November speaking at a seminar held over two days. Should be interesting!
One question my clients frequently ask me about cutting out refined carbohydrates is whether it is possible to just have a bit… the odd piece of toast, a croissant, maybe some jam? To which the answer is “Yes, of course it is but once you have weaned yourself off processed carbohydrates you’ll pay for it if you eat them. Symptoms may include nausea, diarrhoea, bloating, headaches, water retention and unexpected and sudden spikes in your weight. Still want a slice of toast?” To which the answer is frequently “Yes I do.” And they eat what it is they crave and all my dire predictions as to what will happen to them come true. They then have a miserable few days feeling awful while they repair the damage and wean themselves off the carbs again. Why put yourself through such self-inflicted torture?
Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times written by Gary Taubes where he suggests that carbohydrates may actually be addictive and sugar particularly so.
He suggests that for most carbs it may be the insulin response that causes the addiction as insulin both stops fat burning and clears sugar from the blood stream, removing the body’s two main sources of energy and causing the desire to eat more carbs. I think it goes a bit deeper than that in the case of wheat. I think there is enough evidence out there that suggest that the gliadin protein in modern wheat acts on the brain in the same way as opiate drugs (such as heroin) do.
Supermarkets exploit this by taking the vapour from the in store “bakery” and injecting it into the ventilation system so that you can smell the bread all over the store. It’s particularly noticeable at Easter when the whole shop smells of hot cross buns. The shop is simply reminding you that you are addicted.
So when my clients come to me complaining of feeling ill after eating bread after they have tried so hard to come off it, I don’t criticise, I sympathise. They have a real addiction that is terribly hard to conquer.