Sunday, May 11, 2014

Food Addiction

There is no doubt that, for some of us, food addiction is real, but perhaps not for all. Do you get a buzz of honey? Not intended as a pun, it is the quick test. A teaspoons of honey in tea times two or three. Do you feel the buzz? If no, you are not an addict. Go away, you will never believe what I am about to say. If you feel the buzz, and like it, you are or will become a food addict. It is to that pleasant warm feeling that we become addicted to. We overeat, trying to stay in that buzz. That is the animal reaction, wanting more of the good stuff we like.

But how can honey be addicting. Well it is not, but fructose is. Warm hot drinks are quickly absorbed source of free fructose, warm is faster absorbed than cold. Fructose, absorbed in the mouth, gullet, esophagus, and upper stomach does not pass into the portal vein, but rather directly into the blood stream. Fructose blood concentrations go from nano-grams per liter to 100's nano-grams per liter, and the brain gets a buzz. Fructose crosses the blood brain membrane without an issue.

Now for the second punch, glucose drives up insulin, especially in the insulin resistant, (obese person) and insulin is a sedative, it makes us lay back a bit. This is also part of the glucose addiction side of the equation.

Now for the third punch, we were often given sugar as a distraction when we were small, resulting in a emotional or habitual component to addiction. Sugar and food, eating, consuming, snacking... became a maladaptive behavior, pushed by adults, and addicting us when we were small. Now sugar is everywhere.

Now how do we get out of the addiction - craving cycle? No fructose, very little glucose, and deal with all those emotions through Stoicism, CBT, or other method.

The hard part is avoiding fructose, and glucose with drug dealers everywhere using, pushing, and in denial of the problem.

We have the power of choice. Use it wisely.      

1 comment:

George Henderson said...

It might be relevant that carbohydrate, and sugar, more than glucose, increases transport of tryptophan into the central nervous system, tryptophan being the precursor of serotonin.
I presume what happens is a sort of dependence on elevated serotonin, and on sugar as the means of keeping it up; but tryptophan is also more toxic than other amino acids (unusually hard to metabolise with many active byproducts on the way).

Some people use 5-HTP supplements to reduce cravings. Using this means you don't need sugar to get the serotonin fix.
Personally I found chromium supps very helpful. But these are all short-term solutions that at best give you a window of opportunity to change other things; used for too long they are bound to stop working.