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Giving up coffee and carb/sugar cravings

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 31, 2013 at 5:30 PM

I have been paleo for almost a year now, following a low-carb high-fat diet for most of that time. Last month, I decided to try give up coffee cold turkey (I previously drank 1-2 large mugs per day) and all the carb cravings I thought I had gotten rid of suddenly came back( worse than ever). I ended up binging one day out with friends at pizza hut(I know, don't judge). This was after being gluten free for over 6 weeks, and although I didnt feel great afterwards, ever since that day I haven't managed to stay paleo for more than a few days without binging again. Is this just a motivation issue, or is there something else going on here?

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 31, 2013
at 09:16 PM

Very good article!

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on March 31, 2013
at 08:28 PM

Some further analysis on the neurological effects of coffee and why it's so hard to give up http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201205/coffee-happiness

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6 Answers

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3
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 31, 2013
at 07:32 PM

We all "slip" eventually (or now & then). So don't beat yourself up.

For some people giving up caffeine is REALY hard. IMO, it's NOT a motivation or will power issue.

You've done one really hard thing (change your diet, give up refined carbs) and now you've layered on another potentially REALLY hard thing...cold turkey caffeine cessation.

Caffeine has brain chemistry effects and you've eliminated caffeine so you've removed its effect.

check out

http://www.livestrong.com/article/247177-dopamine-appetite/

You could approach this two ways...

1) Be more mindful of the urges to binge and substitute a filling Paleo alternative. Hard to do.

2) Go back on caffeine and see if the urge to binge & binges go away. If they do and you still want to kick caffeine... do it slowly over a few weeks via a decaf / regular coffee max. Brew both and slowly change the mix & the total daily quantity of caffeine consumed. This will give you a LOT of time to adjust. Yeah, sounds like a real PITA but the carb bingeing is going to derail your Paleo work.

If the urges don't go away....I'm stumped.

cheers Bob

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 31, 2013
at 09:16 PM

Very good article!

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on March 31, 2013
at 08:28 PM

Some further analysis on the neurological effects of coffee and why it's so hard to give up http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201205/coffee-happiness

2
3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on March 31, 2013
at 05:36 PM

I've had some similar experiences, but I've attributed it to having an empty stomach. When I drink coffee, I'm always a little full. If I skip coffee, my stomach is gurgling, which brings my brain back into the time when that meant "You want carbs!" I rarely get really hungry like I used to, so I guess I subconsiously associate an empty stomach a sign to eat cereal or bread or cookies or something like I used to eat when I was hungry.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 31, 2013
at 06:39 PM

I'll assume you weren't sweetening your coffee, but if you were that would definitely relate to your cravings for carbs. Otherwise, I'd say you just disrupted your morning routine and you have to let yourself establish a new one.

I'm not an expert and can only speak to my own experiences. When I'm already conscious of and trying to manage my food choices, any significant change can trigger unsettled reactions. You may be like me and you may find it quite soothing to slowly sip a warm mug of coffee. If you stopped drinking it because you thought you should, rather than because you didn't want it any more, you probably just triggered an internal debate between the part of you that liked the routine and the part of you that decided to quit. Since you aren't drinking coffee, the internal conflict is showing up at other times when you're thinking of food and beverages.

That's an oversimplification, but it does describe what happens to me if I try to stop drinking it because I think I should. Luckily for me, it's very hot here in southern Nevada so each spring I wake up some morning and the thought of warm coffee is repulsive. I don't give coffee a thought until the mornings get cool again in December.

0
5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f

on June 25, 2013
at 06:27 PM

This actually happened to me when I gave up coffee for lent!

My theory was that my warm and delicious morning coffee with almond milk kept my cravings at bay since it was like a treat.

Also, coffee keeps appetite down, so when it is eliminated, appetite is free range!

0
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on June 25, 2013
at 04:01 PM

The few times I had a diet coke habit (10 cans a day) (I never drank or liked coffee or tea) coming off it gave me much worse physical cravings and effects than coming off sugar and even though I much much prefer sugar.

My order was give up the caffeine and only after that move to clean eating. I think you should stick with not having the caffeine and perhaps just have dark chocolate after meals instead for a bit until you feel you can give that up too.

0
67871ef2326f29da48f1522827fc0f80

(704)

on June 25, 2013
at 03:43 PM

I love coffee but I'll go off of it a few months a year. It's a weirdo control thing.

I don't seem to have a problem with tea and coffee. I don't know what's up with that. I can share the experience of 'fullness' it provides, though. A lot of the time, if I'm out and about (I don't eat out since I'm Celiac) and hungry, I'll grab a cup of coffee.

I understand it REALLY affects some people, though. Me, not so much (thankfully -- something I can do!).

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