Our body is greatly affected by what we put in it. If we treat it to processed, un-natural, chemically treated, high fat foods it will go through high processes to digest these so-called foods, we will look and feel un-natural, we will suffer symptoms of chemical overload and we will have a high fat content to our body.
What is food addiction and how do we become addicted?
Food addiction is basically compulsive overeating. There are many reasons for this kind of behavior. Some compulsively overeat for comfort, out of loneliness, depression, as a control issue (as in it’s the only thing they have control over, but then it gets out of control and so begins a cycle), some binge out of boredom, or not being satiated with healthy food choices, for many it’s for emotional reasons. Overall, the kind of food you consume can lead you to being addicted to it. Whatever the reason, it can be stopped!
First, let’s look at the addicting foods.
Caffeine – Caffeine is a drug. Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system, causing increased alertness. Caffeine gives most people a temporary energy boost and elevates mood. It’s found in coffee, tea, soda and chocolate.
Sugar – Sugar is an additive and in its many forms can lead to many diseases, the most well-known being Type 2 Diabetes.
Salt – Salt is added in large amounts to processed foods. This makes that particular food addicting.
Fat – Fatty foods such as meats dairy and sweets are addicting because they stimulate the “pleasure centers” of the brain causing the compulsion to repeat the experience. We can also develop a tolerance to the pleasure the food gave and need more of it.
Casein – Casein is a protein found in cow’s milk and is therefore in cheese and other dairy products. Casein breaks down during digestion into casomorphins, which are opiates that make the eater “feel good” after eating. They create cravings and cause withdrawal when given up. Casein is more concentrated in cheese than milk.
Artificial Sweeteners – Most of what you hear about artificial sweeteners comes from the companies themselves. Unfortunately, you don’t hear the downside of these chemical additives. You most likely use these so-called sweeteners either to lose weight or to satisfy your sugar craving. But artificial sweeteners do neither; they don’t help you lose weight and they actually make your cravings worse causing you to have ‘one more’. They’re also dangerous to your health because they are chemicals that you should not be putting into your body as your body has a difficult time getting rid of them. Studies have proven artificial sweeteners are linked to potential cancer risks, negative effects on the liver, kidneys and other organs, gastrointestinal problems, developmental problems in children and fetuses, headaches and they stimulate cravings. Artificial sweeteners may also lessen the body’s ability to regulate glucose levels. Studies have also shown that people who consume artificial sweeteners eat more calories than those who don’t.
Chemicals in our food – This includes MSG, food dyes/colorings, as well as preservatives. Over 12,000 chemicals are used in the production of our food; many are used intentionally as “direct additives” but some are “indirect’ contaminants or used accidentally. The food industry uses roughly 3,000 different additives in various packaged, processed and preserved food. They include preservatives, emulsifiers, natural and artificial colorings and flavorings. Two common chemicals we create are Trans-fats and hydrogenated fats.
So, how can you eat-to-lose, and win?
1- Eliminate junk food from your diet. This includes artificially sweetened foods, processed dry or frozen foods (with the exception of plain, frozen vegetables or fruits); foods labeled low-fat or fat-free as these usually have added sugar (with the exception of low-fat dairy products where the fat is simply removed). Junk and processed foods have little to no nutritional value.
2 – Eat lots of produce. A fruit or vegetable should be added to every meal and eaten as snacks between meals. They provide abundant amounts of nutrients without a lot of calories which make them a perfect food for supporting weight loss.
3 – Eat lean protein. Protein helps your body maintain muscle mass and helps you stay full. Don’t stick to meats only. There are many great sources of protein including fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and dairy products such as Greek yogurt and cheese.
4- Eat fiber with every meal. Fiber helps you feel full and stay full. It’s also beneficial to the digestive tract. It can be found in a wide variety of foods including most vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, eggplant and whole grains breads, pastas, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, barley, bulgur wheat and more.
5- Get moving. Get outside. Walk, bike, run, play catch, Frisbee, hike, anything. Just get some exercise every day. It will burn fat and relax your mind, body and lift your spirits.
Our ancestors ate whole grain breads; we eat white bread, stripped of all its nutrients. Native Americans ate corn: we eat corn syrup which has no nutritional value.
By omitting processed and junk foods as previously mentioned, and replacing them with whole foods in correct portion sizes and with at least a little bit of physical activity daily you will lose weight and win your body back.