Struggling with those post-holiday cravings

January 5, 2013

Darlene Kvist and Katie Haarala discuss sugar cravings. Did you got caught in the sugar trap this holiday season? We can help you balance your eating so you can feel good again. We want to shed some light on carb cravings and help you get control of your eating.

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DAR:  Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Darlene Kvist, licensed nutritionist, and this show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Our mission at Nutritional Weight & Wellness and also at Dishing Up Nutrition is to bring you life-changing nutrition information that you can personally use and benefit from. We bring to you researched information, logical information, and life-changing information and I am pleased that more and more people are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and that more of you are applying the nutritional information that we share to change your own health. So, let me wish you a very Happy New Year. Everyone is predicting 2013 is going to be better than 2012.

KATIE:   Sure is. It always is, right?

DAR:  I think so. I believe it can be. But if you got caught in that big old sugar trap this holiday season, about right now you're struggling to get rebalanced and feeling good again. So, we want to help you shed some light on this very dark and rather miserable condition called “feeling out of control with my eating and particularly with those carb cravings.”

KATIE:  And we're going to get you back into control.

DAR: So, joining me, you heard her voice as our co-host, Katie. Katie is a registered and licensed dietitian. Plus you have a lot of long distance clients I've noticed lately.

KATIE: Yes, we Skype. So, to anybody out there we do have Skype!

DAR:  Good. And she teaches a lot of Lunch and Learn classes for many of the local businesses who have us come in and teach classes and she also teaches Nutrition 4 Weight Loss and Weight & Wellness series and you're busy, busy, aren’t you.

KATIE: Busy is fun!

DAR:  But, you're just never too busy to solve problems and figure out nutritional solutions because that's your main job all the time.

KATIE: And that's the passion.

DAR:  So, Katie, here's a personal question for you. Have you ever struggled with sugar cravings ever in your life?

KATIE:  Oh my gosh, have I ever! So, I think that's kind of almost the notion for people like, well, if you're a dietician or a dietician in training, you would never have struggled with sugar cravings. And in my past, I was actually a vegetarian before, and I thought I was doing myself good. I thought I was being healthy. But, during that time period of my life, I craved carbs. I craved sweets, pasta, bread, popcorn, you name it. But guess what? My favorite was cereal finished with more cereal. So, once I started eating those processed carbohydrates I could not stop. I'm being completely serious. Like I would have bowl after bowl of cereal and then I would actually start to eat toast and then I'd go back for more. And there were a few times I can remember, and maybe people can relate, I would literally just throw away my cereal box because I felt so out of control, so frustrated. Like what is going on? Why can't I stop eating the cereal? I was hungry all the time!

DAR: I bet some of the listeners are saying, “Oh, another person just like myself!”

KATIE: Yes! You're not alone. I mean I definitely experience that. I wasn't hungry for what I should have been hungry for. I wasn't hungry for vegetables. I was hungry for crackers and chips and granola bars. And looking back, I didn't feel well and my poor health really showed. I had a lot of acne that kept flaring up from all these carbohydrates that I was eating.

DAR: And I think that's a new thought right there that acne flares up from too many carbohydrates.

KATIE: So, if you're somebody dealing with acne, that could be a correlation for you. And another thing I noticed was I started to gain weight.

DAR: But you're not supposed to gain weight when you're vegetarian!

KATIE: And I was eating very low fat, too. You're not supposed to gain weight if you're not eating fat either. But, I especially started to notice I started to gain weight around my hips. But, since I switched my eating and now eating the Weight & Wellness way, those cravings are gone. Really. The cravings are gone. And I always talk to my clients about this from people that are having the cravings. I can I tell them about my past experience with cravings. And I let them know if you're having cravings, if you start eating the way we're talking about like the Weight & Wellness way, meaning some good proteins, some good vegetables and good fats, if we balance out your foods, in a few weeks when you come back and I put down a chocolate chip cookie here, it won’t call your name. You won't have cravings for it. They don't believe me. They say you're crazy, but when they come back and they say, “My cravings are gone!” And when they come back in two weeks their cravings are gone. It can happen that fast.

DAR: So, let's kind of take a step back a minute and ponder some of the headlines in the last two weeks and maybe a light bulb of understanding will go on for all the listeners that are struggling with some sugar cravings.

KATIE:  So, there was kind of an alarming headline in Sunday's Star Tribune, titled “Type 2 Diabetes is Taking a Growing Toll on the Young.” So, more than 20,000 teens in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes. That is so many. And if we think about it, actually about 20 years ago, almost no teenagers had type 2 diabetes. It was thought of as an old people's old person's disease. So why would a young person have it? But we're starting to see it with the way we're eating. So, in that article, Dr. Claudia Fox was cited, and she's from the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, and she said when your child has type 2 diabetes, it's like your child has the body of a 70-year-old man. It's accelerated aging.

DAR: Exactly. And I'd have to say a healthy 70-year-old. Not a healthy 70-year-old that eats the Weight & Wellness way. So, on Thursday, December 27 2012, another story appeared in The Star Tribune. “Type 2 Diabetes Linked to High Fructose Corn Syrup.” And researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of Oxford found an association between countries that have more high fructose corn syrup in their food supply also have a higher rate of diabetes. So, if you have more high fructose corn syrup in your food supply, those are the countries that have a higher rate of type 2 diabetes. 

KATIE: Actually, in that same study, Michael Gorin, the author, said that this high fructose corn syrup, something we've been hearing a lot about these past few years, here appears to pose a serious public health problem on a global scale. But, really, here's the take-home message. The researchers found that of the 42 countries studied, the U.S., right here at home, had the highest consumption of high fructose corn syrup per person. We consume 55 pounds of high fructose corn syrup per year. High fructose corn syrup circulating through our systems. It's not a health food.

DAR:  So, if we stacked that up it would make a pretty high stack. So, where and how are we consuming fifty-five pounds of high fructose corn syrup? Another interesting article appeared in The Chicago Tribune. “Soda Falling Flat” was the title of it. Soda sizes continue to grow. They used to be little, originally like six ounces. And now how big are they?

KATIE: Oh my gosh. I think you can get those Big Gulps. I don't even know, 64 ounces? So, going from 6 to 64. But it's such a good deal!

DAR: So, as the soda sizes continue to grow, so, too, is an army of critics pointing out high sugar drinks pose a potential health risk. And there's a doctor from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester who said, “So, soft drinks or sodas have a lot of calories, but no nutritional value.” Well, we kind of knew that.

KATIE:  That’s a lot of sugar and a lot of bad chemicals, too. But it doesn't provide us with all that those nutrients that our body is actually needing.

DAR: But, he also said it has no nutrient nutrition value, but it only does bad stuff to your body. So then here's a quote from him. He says, “There's not a positive thing to say about soda.”

KATIE: And I think listeners struggling with addictions to soda or that sugar, I think they know that. I think they do realize this Pepsi, this cola, is not providing me with nutrition. It's just kind of providing you with too much sugar. So, people are starting to kind of be aware of that, I think more than they used to. Or at least adults. So, really, we ask you to kind of get your brains thinking. Who is drinking Mountain Dew? Who is drinking Coke, Pepsi, Orange Crush, Root Beer? You guessed it…kids! Also, think about too, the same thing is juices and Gatorade. These will have a lot of sugar or high fructose corn syrups in them as well.

DAR:  So, the big question comes, so why did kids have such a craving for soda? Because they really do seem to have a craving for soda. Is it simply the result of how sugar or high fructose corn syrup stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain? And perhaps the pop drinkers are dealing with an addiction. We see that a lot. “I have to have my 2 o'clock coke.” And, usually people that drink those, they drink more than once a day. They usually drink two to three, sometimes up to six of some kind of pop. Usually it's Coke or Mountain Dew or one of those. So, when you're an adult and you decide to stop drinking soda, you're going to experience some withdrawal. We all know that. It's going to take a few days. So, as an adult, you can say, “OK. I'm in withdrawal and it doesn't feel good.” But as a child or a teen, they don't have that same level of reasoning that adults have. And the soda actually drives them to want another high sugar food. And guess what? They often combine it with chips.

KATIE: It's that that salty sweet. But, again, it's the sugar. It's still breaking down to sugar at a biochemical level.

DAR: So, if you're listening and you're thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is happening to me all the time.” Well, we're going to have some solutions coming up pretty soon.

KATIE: So, I think it's a really good time to take a break.


DAR: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. When you have a carb or a sugar craving, most of us know it is a food problem. Certainly, supplements assist in making the correct food choices that puts down the sugar dragon. So, my recommendation for you is to sign up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program. If you attend every class, meet with a nutritionist for your individual plan, and follow the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss eating plan, I can guarantee that you will feel better, and most people lose inches and pounds. And sometimes you have to get your metabolism going a little bit, but in 12 weeks, most people lose inches and pounds and we can guarantee that you're going to feel better. We can help you with your cravings and we can get them under control.

KATIE: So, it's January, right? So, this is kind of when people's brains start to tune into lifestyle change. So, if you've tried the pills or the supplements or all of that in the past to lose weight, why don't you try the real food approach? That's the lasting approach is when you start to nourish your body.

DAR: And it worked for you because you got rid of all your cravings. And you got rid of your acne.

KATIE: Got rid of my acne. I lost weight, too. So, hey, there is a testament right there. So, we really do see changes in our classmates.

DAR:  That's right. And the interesting thing is we were talking about how high fructose corn syrup affects your cravings and how it seems as though it has increased the rate of type 2 diabetes in teens. There's something that's going on that is triggering this. They're not pointing their finger directly at that, but we know that things are not working right. So, to kind of follow up on that line of thinking, there was a small study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association and this is what the study found: When scientists are using an MRI imaging of the brain, they found that when people ate fructose, the fructose actually caused changes in the brain, which can lead to over eating. If I said that really simply, if you drink a Coke or Mountain Dew or any beverage or any food that contains high fructose corn syrup, it changes the way the brain works and it can lead to overeating. And they can actually see that on an MRI. So, basically, what these scientists found is when we eat fructose, such as high fructose corn syrup, I keep repeating that, or even fructose in table sugar, our reward center in our brain doesn't recognize fructose as a food. Our brain actually says, “Feed me more, feed me more, feed me more.” Because it never gets satisfied.

KATIE:  And isn't that interesting? It's like it's us against our biochemistry. It would say, “I've had a Coke, so I've had calories, but I don't feel full.”

DAR:  Versus when we would eat a piece of meat or a couple of eggs and some vegetables and some butter our body would recognize that we've eaten and our brain would recognize that. And it says, “Oh, I’m feeling satisfied.” So, it isn't rocket science, this eating, but it is a habit.

KATIE: It’s always nice to have the research to kind of let us know what's going on in our body, too.

DAR:  So, we really can see why soda, or all those foods containing high fructose corn syrup drives your brain and you to eat more. If you check the labels of many of the processed foods, just kind of pull things out of your cupboard right now and look at that because you're going to see corn syrup or sugar is often the first or second ingredient in many, many boxed foods.

KATIE: It's in everything. It's in bread, it's in soups, Gatorade and sodas like we've talked about, but it's in those little packaged seasoned mixes that you put in your chili. It's everywhere. It's not necessarily hiding in something sweet like a Coke.

DAR:  Well, certainly it’s in Shake ‘N Bake. Sometimes you think back at some of these old products and you wonder, “Do people still use them?” And then you suddenly realize they're still using some of these, what I call, “the 1950s.” So, if you're saying to yourself, “I'm just so out of control of my eating.” It isn't a lack of willpower. It is the trick that this fructose is playing on your brain.

KATIE: Now, do you suppose that some of these food companies have figured that out that fructose has that play on the brain and they’ve added it?

DAR:  So, you have taken in the calories and your fat cells expand. But what really happens is your brain cells are not getting the message that you have consumed lots and lots of calories. And so, it just keeps saying, “feed me, feed me, feed me.” So, it's really simple chemistry. And it's been based on science.

KATIE:Let’s try to understand why it's having that effect on us. So, let's kind of bring this full circle. Let's kind of think about our first days of life. Perhaps there's a little bit more to this story. So, did you know that the new Health Canada guidelines advise meat as baby's first food?

DAR Meat as baby's first food. In Canada, they're saying the first time your baby eats it should be something like a meat product, not iron-fortified rice cereal. So, when I was going to school, that's what we learned was to give the baby iron fortified rice cereal.

DAR: And that's probably still being taught in many of the nutrition schools.

KATIE: Yes. I'm sure it's still being taught. So, Health Canada, along with Canadian Pediatric Society Dietitians of Canada and breastfeeding Committee, the Committee for Canada, recently issued new guidelines for transitioning a baby to solid food. And two of the first solid foods they recommended were meat and eggs, not rice cereal.

DAR:  So, Katie, just tell people again, what were the groups that got together in Canada to decide, because it's just not like one or two people.

KATIE: No, it's not like one person said, “Alright, we're going to be doing meat and eggs.” So, it was a whole conglomeration of people. It was the Pediatric Society. It was the Dietitians of Canada, the breast-feeding committee for Canada. It's all of these people getting together to say, “Is rice cereal really the best thing to be giving our babies right away?”

DAR: So, really, this committee of experts said, “Rice cereal is never a healthy first food for babies.” And this is what they said. “Rice cereal is an extremely high glycemic.” Which means it's a high sugar food. It pops the blood sugar up. When eaten alone, it spikes the blood sugar. So, if you're just feeding that baby rice cereal, up goes the blood sugar. And I thought a question that we all should be asking-- Should we be making our children and ourselves pre-diabetic with cereal?

KATIE: And maybe that's a new fact for people. Maybe people who have been taking our series and listen listening to us on the radio realize that we need to balance our foods to balance our blood sugar. But if you just give a baby rice cereal, that's not balanced.

DAR: So, this pre-diabetic condition could be, and I believe is, what sets both children and adults up to crave sugar and processed carbs, leading to obesity and diabetes. So, what it really says to me is that people can stop blaming themselves for their sugar cravings. Now, it seems like then they have to say, “OK I get it. I have to change how what I'm putting in my mouth so I can change how my cells are reacting and then I'm going to have control.”

KATIE: And that's exactly what we teach and that's when we see that reverse in people.

DAR: So, for the past ten years, all the nutritionist and dietitians and Nutritional Weight & Wellness have been recommending eggs and avocado and meat as baby's first solid food. That's kind of what we've been talking about because we've been reading this research. So, Katie, do we have time to take a caller?

KATIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Kim, you have a question for us?

CALLER: Hi. Yes. Off topic. What you were talking about, which is fascinating, but I've been wanting to call you with this question for such a long time. I am having such horrible skin issues. I've had eczema pretty much my whole life and just this year, now that the weather has turned cold, it has gotten so much worse. I mean, all over my body, patches are popping up, but not only that. What's been happening since November, now that the weather is getting colder, chillier, is about 30 minutes into exercise, and I play tennis about four times a week, so I'm pretty active, so for about 30 minutes after exercise, my whole body breaks out in hives and it’s driving me crazy.

DAR: Well, Katie, do you want to kind of hit some of this and then I'll come in on some of it too?

KATIE: Sure. So, eczema is kind of an autoimmune of sorts. So, whenever I think of skin, one of the first things I think is dairy. So, have you eliminated dairy from your diet?

CALLER: I have not. I have not eliminated anything yet.

KATIE: OK, so dairy and gluten are the very most inflammatory foods that we look at. And dairy is the one that really kind of causes and flares up that inflammation in the skin. Another thing that we would look at supplement-wise is there's a fatty acid called GLA. It's a good form of Omega-6 that helps to kind of pull water and hydrate your tissues. So, I would take 600 to 800 milligrams of GLA throughout the day.

DAR:  And also, as an anti-inflammatory, fish oil, the Omega-3’s. I think it might make sense for you to come in because what's happening, it seems as though, your auto immune situation is increasing. At first it was a little eczema, but now it's going into creating hives, and so that's another auto immune reaction that's occurring in your body. And we've seen this many times. And it's like you really have to kind of look at the food sensitivities that you have and to eliminate those things to kind of get rebalanced because another one is going to start occurring probably for you.

But for sure, couple of things, like what Katie said, is certainly eliminate the dairy products and eliminate the gluten out of your diet. And that's the first step.

CALLER: Do I need to eliminate dairy completely 100 percent? I like a little milk in my coffee.

DAR: Well, if it's the higher fat, like butter or heavy cream, usually it has no protein in it and so most people can tolerate butter and heavy cream without any reaction. The proteins are what caused that inflammation. But, if you put the skim milk in, that's got the protein and so you don't want to do that.

CALLER: OK. So, that protein in the dairy product is kind of the killer.

DAR:  Yes, it is. It's the inflammatory part.

CALLER: OK, and I have asthma. Is this related?

DAR: Oh yeah. You need to come in and see you're one of us. We tackle all of this together.

CALLER: OK, I will definitely make an appointment. Well, thank you so much. I knew there was some nutrition aspect to all of this. It’s very confusing to someone who's never tackled it.

DAR: OK. Thanks for the call. It was great. Take care.

KATIE: All right. Time flies, right? Time for another break.


DAR: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Most people who have eaten the standard American diet have many nutritional deficiencies and they have carbohydrate cravings. I find often that they are deficient in an amino acid that is called glutamine and the mineral magnesium, they’re deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. And often they are deficient in vitamin D3. So let's just talk about one of those. And let's talk about a glutamine deficiency. It's associated with many symptoms including low blood sugar that we've been talking a little bit. It's associated with sleep problems, anxiety, and sugar cravings. It's one of our magic formulas to help people with sugar cravings. So, glutamine is normally released from muscle tissue to help support stable blood sugar. And when you're deficient in glutamine, you often have blood sugar problems, which can lead to sugar cravings. And I find taking either a half a teaspoon or two capsules of glutamine before each meal reduces sugar cravings and also anxiety. And glutamine is also the building block of a neurotransmitter that is called Gaba and Gaba is really the brains natural Valium.

KATIE:  It's very relaxing. Very anti-anxiety.

DAR: So, sufficient production of Gaba helps to relieve anxiety and stress. Typically, when people have less anxiety and stress, they have fewer sugar cravings. Since there are many causes for cravings, most clients find that they are much more successful when they work with a nutritionist who can design an eating plan and a supplement program to meet their individual needs of that client because everybody is so different.

KATIE: Everyone is so different so we could kind of tailor your eating plan to your specific biochemistry and look at supplements that will help your specific biochemistry and glutamine is a very powerful one.

So, Dar, we have another caller. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Eileen, you have a question for us?

CALLER: Yes, thanks for taking my call. Yes, having a non-alcoholic fatty liver, can you safely use all that coconut oil you guys are talking about?

DAR: Yes, you can. It's perfect. It's a great addition and so it's a matter that you really have to keep your carbohydrates and your sugar down. Your carbohydrates should actually be just vegetables and maybe a little bit of fruit, but fruit like a half of half a cup or a half an apple or something at a time and not like orange juice or anything like that.

KATIE:  And this ties pretty well into kind of what we're talking about with the fructose. So, fructose really is one of the kind of sugars that they're finding that creates the fatty liver disease. So, really being careful of the sodas and the juices, and I guess a lot of fruits too.

DAR:So, if you take coconut oil and sauté your vegetables and coconut oil, wonderful. It works great for fatty liver.

CALLER: OK. Thank you and I found high fructose corn syrup in Campbell’s tomato soup and just about died.

KATIE: Exactly. In places you would not think that it would be.

DAR: It's so interesting. I taught a seminar out at Mystic Lake, I think probably 12 or 15 years ago, and one of the things that I held up to show people was that tomato soup as having a lot of sugar in it and people were just amazed. So, we've been talking this message for a long time. But that's great. Thanks for bringing that up because I don't think people realize that the soup that they're eating at lunchtime has a lot of sugar in it. But that’s great. I'm glad she called in.

KATIE:  And that's a good question, too, as when you when you hear that diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, people would automatically assume to watch the fat. But it's actually watching a lot of the sugars that tax the liver.

DAR: So, let's just kind of finish up on that conversation about the fact that the Canadian pediatricians and all those people decided that, for babies, the first real solid food should be meat and eggs and not rice cereal, because here's another thing, and I don't think people realize this, but the babies actually lack the digestive enzymes to digest grain. And rice is a grain. And they are saying they should not be given grains, even rice, until the baby is at least a year old.

KATIE:  Yes, we've been giving our babies, starting at six months, this rice cereal that they can't digest. So, they're getting these indigestible foods in place of foods that they really can actually break down and use for growth and development.

DAR:  And so, what happens is when they eat the cereal, up goes her blood sugar, and they start that insulin resistance path. And that's what we're really trying to kind of hit home. That's the first way to start those sugar cravings or insulin resistance is doing rice cereal right away. So, all of this talk with high fructose corn syrup, you might be asking, “Where is all this high fructose corn syrup hiding?” Again, type 2 diabetes and cereal have a lot to do with your sugar and carb cravings from the sodas, from, as the caller just called in, tomato soups. So, here's why that corn syrup can relate to your car your carb cravings. When you consume a little extra sugar or processed carbs for an extended period of time, your cell receptors for glucose or sugar and insulin become coated. When they become coated, it doesn't allow that glucose to easily pass into the cells for energy.

DAR:  So, the thing that came to mind when you just said that is if you eat out, they always get that bread basket in front of you. And so, if you have one slice and then pretty soon you go back and you have another one and another one. That's what we're talking about. We're talking about a little extra glucose or sugar over an extended period of time. So, you just think, if you eat out four times a week or something like that and you enjoy that bread basket, there you go.

KATIE: Yeah. So, it's not a one-time occurrence. It's when it's happening in small doses over an extended period of time. That's what creates starting that resistance in your body. So, sometimes we call this insulin resistance or it's also a pre-diabetic condition. So, when that happens, some experts believe that this is starting to occur in about 80% of the population. When this happens, when you start to create this insulin resistance, we crave more sugar to satisfy our cells.

DAR: So, let's see. I guess we don't really have time to take a caller.

KATIE: Let's take a break right now and we'll come back and take some callers. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. When I decided to give up sugar and processed carbs that turned into sugar, I thought of all of my reasons to just say no to sugar. Sugar made me have acne. Sugar made me gain weight and sugar made my body feel achy and just tired. I was just tired all the time. Sometimes, another thing that happens is sugar leads to the formation of cataracts. So, really what's happening in the body is that glucose or that sugar attaches to the protein in the lens of the eye. So, it changes the lens from crystal clear to cloudy. A lot of sugar and a lot of cloudy lenses. That leads to a cataract. So, now when people tell you they had cataract surgery, you might guess that they just loved their sugar, because that is happening in their body. Eye opening information. We'll be right back.


DAR: 95 percent of our clients who took either Nutrition 4 Weight Loss or Weight & Wellness saw improvement in their health. That's a huge percentage. 95 percent, and we've been keeping these stats for years. You can also see and feel improvement in your health. For some people, your health needs to improve before you can actually lose weight. I think now you have to come and listen to Nell’s story because her metabolism did not kick in it right away, but she ended up losing 90 pounds and keeping it off.

KATIE: And the motivation for her was she was feeling better. I'm going to keep doing this. I feel better. And then really that weight loss really did kick in.

DAR: So, we're offering both daytime classes and evening classes. So, lose 10 percent of your body weight and reduce your health risk. And don't worry about losing weight. Maybe that's not what you really want to do. Just learn how to eat good for good health. We always say change your nutrition to change your life.

KATIE: And that's so true. We've seen that time and time again. So, we had a question. Somebody wanted us to repeat the top four pieces that people are deficient in. Most people are deficient in an amino acid called glutamine. Most people are deficient in a very important mineral the mineral of relaxation, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin D3. So, we have a caller. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Liz, you have a question for us.

CALLER: I would like to know about that glutamine. Is that the L-glutamine? What's the dosage and how often should you take that and when should you take it?

DAR: OK. Usually if you do a capsule they’re either 500 or 700 milligrams and I usually recommend two, maybe 10 to 15 minutes before every meal. And it helps the intestinal tract. It works better in the intestinal tract if it's taken on an empty stomach. Usually about 1800 milligrams is what we're shooting for before meals.

CALLER: OK. Thank you so much. I love your program and I wish I could get over there today, but I'm an elderly lady and I can't get any place anymore.

DAR: Thank you for listening. Bye bye. We have another question. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Mary, you have a question for us.

CALLER: Hi. Yeah, I have a question. People that are allergic to dairy period, where they can’t have butter in that. What would you suggest for fats?

DAR:  I probably would go with coconut oil and coconut milk. Also, any the other fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, things like that.

CALLER: And then another thing that I tell you guys, I’ve been eating a lot of that coconut oil. I bought a big thing out at Costco and that is good stuff.

DAR:  So, any of these processed soups, you have to be careful because a lot of times they're too high in carbohydrates. Yeah, you have to just eat a little bit where if you make your own soups you actually can put more meat in it and also more vegetables that are lower in carbohydrate and it's actually better for you. All right thank you for the call.

I think we should get back to our discussion. The problem when you eat more sugar and processed carbs, and I think that's a good example, but you have to even watch the soups. Even so-called healthy foods you have to be careful. If we eat too many processed carbs, the coating becomes thicker on our cell receptors. That's kind of like what is called insulin resistance. And that coating gets heavier and heavier. It sets up low energy for us. It sets up inflammation and it sets up sugar cravings. As nutritionists and dietitians, we call this a blood sugar problem. So, one way to look at this, if your triglycerides are above 75 or 80, it may indicate that you're eating too much sugar or pasta or bread or muffins and you may be having cravings from blood sugar spikes and blood sugar drops, which means you need to start your day with a blood-sugar- stabilized meal such as two eggs cooked in butter or coconut oil served with a cup of green beans and a half a sweet potato, which is exactly what I had for breakfast this morning.

KATIE: Which was a great way to start your day. And how much energy did you have?

DAR: We need a lot of energy for today.

KATIE:  So, really kind of what we're talking about is to control your cravings, eat every two to three hours. Each meal and snack that you eat should contain some type of meat or eggs or a good protein, a healthy fat, such as olive oil, butter, nuts, olives, or avocado, and some vegetable or a fruit. That's what we mean when we talk about balanced eating. A good protein, a good fat, and a good carbohydrate. At our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program, we teach you how to balance your meals to balance your blood sugar. Within one or two weeks, your cravings will be gone. And I am not making that up. That is very powerful for people dealing with cravings. It can switch within a couple of weeks as long as you remember to eat some type of protein, a vegetable, and a healthy fat, cravings disappear.

DAR:  Now, there's about a third of the listeners that will balance their blood sugar, but they’ll still have cravings. So, remember I talked about how the sugar in pop stimulates the pleasure center in the brain, much the same as alcohol, cocaine, certain street drugs, and even some prescription drugs. So, after working with hundreds and hundreds of clients over the past 25 years, I find the clients who often have intense sugar cravings or intense pop cravings often come from a family that has a history of addiction. Perhaps the grandfather was an alcoholic or maybe the mother had an addiction to prescription drugs or maybe even to alcohol or maybe even to sugar. And these are the people that are in that one third.

KATIE: Yes, so then we have to really work with your biochemistry to make sure that your cravings subside. But, it can be done and we see it all of the time. For these people, we're dealing with that kind of biochemistry, with that addictive biochemistry, the pleasure center lights up when they eat sugar. And you can almost sense it. You just kind of feel like almost a high. The trouble is that that light quickly dims and they seek out more sugar, but they don't get that same buzz effect. So, they eat more and more sugar because really what they're doing is just searching for that high in their brain.

DAR:So, I find the clients with what I call a hardcore sugar addiction certainly need to balance their foods, but they need to increase their animal protein to maybe 14 to 16 ounces a day. The protein is actually the building blocks to make healthy, sufficient neurotransmitters. So, we want higher levels of dopamine and serotonin, those are the neurotransmitters that are made out of protein. And usually when we get that level up it results in less and less cravings for sugar and processed carbs. But often, if these clients eat some sugar, they can't stop because that pleasure center, again, gets lit up bright and bold, but quickly dims. Again, the brain's pleasure center says, “hit me again, hit me again.” It's similar to an alcoholic who has stopped drinking for a period of time and then starts again. He or she is telling the bartender to hit them again, hit them again, but the joy is gone after that first drink, or the first sweet roll, or the first candy bar, or the first piece of fudge, or the first coke.

KATIE: And I think people realize that, too, there are these trigger foods. When we’re talking about their meal plan, they say, “I can't have that food because I keep it out of the house,” which is great if they realize that about themselves. You just don't have it around.

DAR:  I always say it's accepting your own biochemistry.

KATIE: And you're working with your biochemistry to make sure you don't have those cravings. So, just like an alcoholic, people with a sugar addiction need ongoing direction and support or that evil twin will appear in the brain and say, “You can just have one brownie.” And then you turn around and guess what? The whole pan is gone! I would suggest making ongoing appointments with one of the nutritionists to get this under control.

Well, my gosh. Time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it? It does. So, that wraps up another episode of Dishing Up Nutrition. I hope you had as much fun as we did! Always remember, change your nutrition to change your life.

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