Some people believe that food addiction is more a matter of psychology than of physiology. I find the question interesting. Are those cravings for sweets and starches REALLY a problem of the mind, or are they problems of the body?
I, myself, have spent a lifetime considering this issue a psychological one.
My personal experience with this involves about 20 years of Therapy while working to overcome that problem,....to no avail.
With professional help, I've dug into my psyche on the "whys"; I've taught myself most of the "hows"...in fact... I've learned and incorporated most all of the various recommended Behavior Modifications. Numerous "mindful" eating behaviors have become Habits for me.
For many, many years, my pattern has been not to label foods "good" or "bad", but to allow myself to have a little of anything I want, including the occasional sugar-laden dessert.
Those techniques have helped me RESIST the cravings, but they have NOT REDUCED or ELIMINATED the cravings. There are quite a few “Experts” who feel that the term "addiction" is not helpful, when talking about food, and they tend to avoid using it for various reasons.
At this particular moment, I have finally reached the point where I am willing to seriously consider the possibility that these cravings may have a strong physical element,rather than being merely psychological.
I've begun to think that new way, due to my exposure to Good Calories Bad Calories (2007) by Gary Taubes, and his recently released book, Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (2011) which is now featured for discussion here on BOOKTALK.
Perhaps many of us DO have a physical intolerance for certain food substances.... Perhaps the physical tolerance for them varies between individual, just like some people have bodies that are allergic to peanuts... and to varying degrees...., maybe there is something to the Theory about Insulin and Carbohydrates too.
I don't know.
I DO know that psychological treatment won't resolve a physical problem. All the therapy in the world won't let those who have a severe peanut allergy, eat peanuts without side-effects.
This year I began a personal experiment to see what a lengthy Low-Carb commitment will do in my body. I am especially interested to see whether or not a total elimination of sugar and refined grains, and a serious restriction of whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit will eliminate or greatly reduce these cravings in my own body. This is a day-by-day experiment...which is being carried out with planned pauses ....and at this point....I don't even know how long I'll be able to stick with that Experiment-of-One
Each of us does the best we can with our own experiences. The same things don't work for everyone.
In my own body, it makes no difference whether it is white sugar, or "natural" sweeteners. MY body treats them all the same way. I am learning that...right now... this seems to be true for me
even with regards to many starches.
In fact, recently I learned that a few weeks of extremely-low-carb eating does reduce my cravings for sugars and starches, however, within 24 hours after having half a cup of Lentils ...(complex natural carbs)... for lunch, all of my sugar cravings returned. And....I've carefully examined my surrounding circumstances...mental state....etc, and feel fairly certain that this instance was not due to a psychological issues. So…that leads me to believe that there must be some type of physical element involved.
Life goes on.
We all do what we can.
I'm now living as a normal weight person, and I'm willing to keep doing whatever it takes to make that a long-term status.
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