Is Carb addiction

a “real” addiction?


A: Contrary to what people may assume, we did not invent the term Carbohydrate Addiction. The term was first published in a 1963, in a scientific article authored by Robert Kemp, T.D., M.D., M.R.C.P. Taking one step backwards, in 1947, Theron G. Randolph, M.D. published an article suggesting that certain foods could be addictive. He presented the following concept:

"Food addiction -- a specific adaptation to one or more regularly consumed foods to which a person is highly sensitive - produces a common pattern of symptoms descriptively similar to those of other addictive processes. Most often involved are corn, wheat, coffee, milk, eggs, potatoes and other frequently eaten foods. In contrast to the ordinary conception of food sensitization, the food addict is 'picked up' temporarily after a meal containing his addictant, but is 'let down' subsequently by the delayed recurrence of withdrawal effects or hangover-like symptoms. These hangovers recur regularly early in the morning, during the night, prior to or between meals, provided the specific food is eaten in each meal at the usual hours. The addiction cycle, or the time elapsing between meals and the onset of the hangover, depends on the individual's degree of sensitivity and the phase of adaptation to the specific excitant or excitants."

Stop for a moment and think about the paragraph that you have just read being about carbohydrate-rich foods. Interesting, isn't it. The word addict associated with carbohydrate is not being used loosely.

An addiction has been defined as "the failure to stop using a substance which is deleterious to health, where use results in short-term mood alteration". According to criteria set up by the American Psychiatric Association for psychoactive substance dependence addition exists when:

1. the substance is taken in larger and larger amounts or over longer periods than a person intended. (Carb addicts often find this to be true of starches, sweets, snacks and junk food,

2. there is a real attempt, one or more times, to cut down or control the use of the substance. (Carb addicts have tried diet after diet with little or no success in sticking with the diet),

3. there is a continued use of the substance despite the understanding that it leads to social, psychological, or physical problems. (Carb addicts know that the social stigma, the weight, and the health issues that confront them are related to their eating, but they still can not stop),

4. withdrawal symptoms. (Carb addicts often find that, because they become hypoglycemic an hour or two after eating high carbohydrate foods, leading to sweats, shakes, irritability, or mood changes),

5. the substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms. (Carb addicts often need a high carb snack in order to feel better).

We have found there is for carb addicts there is a TRIAD OF ADDICTION: that is BEHAVIOR, ENVIRONMENT, and BIOLOGY. In order to successfully correct an addiction, all three factors in the triad must be corrected. Most diet programs do not correct the most important, that is, BIOLOGY. For carb addicts, the biological correction is insulin balance through changes in frequency of carbohydrate intake and control of hidden carbs and carb act-alikes.

Scientists are finally documenting the addictive power of carbs. Researchers at Connecticut College, for example, have shown that for many of us, Oreo cookies are more physically addictive to rats than either heroin or cocaine! So, when someone says your cravings are all a matter of will power, you may not be so quick to accept the blame!