2

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Help kicking a recurring carb addiction?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 30, 2011 at 3:09 AM

So I've been paleo for over a year now, and I feel like I've kicked the sugar/starch habit... for the most part, anyway.

I recently added tubers back into my diet in order to try and get over some low energy problems. However, it seems that potatoes and sweet potatoes have reactivated SOMETHING in me. Tonight, I ate 2 sweet potatoes, 1 russet potato, a couple clementines, a handful of strawberries, a box of raisins, and two squares of dark chocolate. I wasn't hungry for most of this food, but I craved it.

On the bright side, at least I'm not going for a bowl of Froot Loops or something, but...

Any other carb addicts have suggestions for adding in starch without reactivating the carb cravings? All I can think of doing is not keeping them around, but I live in a household with two non-paleo people so it's not like I can just keep the food out of the house.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:59 PM

I guess I like it because it is an extreme view in a mainstream mag, which is rare. You may be right that a carb addiction can't develop on a diet of healthy carbs, but you are wrong that you can't have a carb addiction, and once you do, a potato can be as bad as a lollypop.

07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

(3162)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:28 PM

I still don't see any evidence that starchy carbs in a healthy diet with fat and protein are addicting. Sugar - refined fructose, is the real villain. That article is heavy on alarmism and light on logic. It gathers up everything from candy to potatoes and declares it all the devil. Worse than cocaine? Try talking to a cocaine addict.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:20 PM

c) if you have digestive issues and long chain polysaccharides are going undigested. This in turn causes proliferation of bad bacteria. In such a case, the GAPs diet would be highly recommended.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:26 PM

I don't normally cite pop culture articles, but I like this one: http://www.details.com/style-advice/the-body/201103/carbs-caffeine-food-cocaine-addiction?currentPage=1

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:23 PM

I think this kind of thinking is misinformed and hurtful. Can you not conceive of bingeing as a physiological-based phenomenon?

A993550f2a130df8d3462c08582f08ec

(589)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:58 AM

This wasn't all in a single sitting, it was over the course of six or seven hours. I agree that it was binging, but it wasn't because I was upset or anything. If anything, I've been trying to get over a fear of carbs. I have no interest in going zero carb, but I do think I need to up my calories (23 years old, male, with an active job consuming about 2200-2400 calories daily), and tubers are a cheap and easy calorie source.

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9 Answers

5
D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:57 AM

Carbs are not a sin. If you start think of them as such you will associate them with indulgence and you will indulges upon partaking in them. For some people, low carb is beneficial and necessary. For some people it is not. The only reasons I would see the consumption of safe carbs as an issue is if a) nutrients are being neglecting b) goals, especially weight loss goals, aren't being met. Perhaps, your body is just craving glucose. Fighting that craving could be unhealthy. Try adding eggs to your mashed potatoes (raw preferably) to make them more satiating.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:20 PM

c) if you have digestive issues and long chain polysaccharides are going undigested. This in turn causes proliferation of bad bacteria. In such a case, the GAPs diet would be highly recommended.

2
1c7cf463bc9db1aed4f30bdd1734b9f4

(20)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:20 AM

If I eat potatoes or fruit, I will crave sugar all day long. but for whatever reason, lentils don't bother me. I know they're not paleo (and I've been strict paleo for almost 2 years), but I needed to do something to help get me through my 14 hour days as a trainer and a chef. a 1/4 cup in my eggs and veggies in the morning or with my meat and veggies at lunch, and I have tons of energy without any of the sugar cravings any of the other carbs trigger. Good luck!

1
B294f81b6a77c4ac1ad5fc55313dec84

(105)

on March 31, 2011
at 05:25 AM

I'm new to this -- having come out of Zero Carbing for a year, then low carbing for another. But what I've found is that the craving for carbs is linked to not eating enough calories (fat or otherwise).

I thought I was doing fine calorie-wize. Fatty meat, butter, heavy cream, the occasional salad. But I did note that was feeling worse over time. Energy was crap, digestion was horrible (it had improved on ZC, but got worse after the year mark).

Then discovered that I was eating about 1000-1500 cals a day regularly. It wasn't enough for me.

I should point out, I was not "cutting calories". It's just once I cut out sugar, grains, and starches, there weren't that many calories left in what I'd been eating. I also never had much of an appetite. And of course, as I mentioned -- digestive problems. That didn't help.

My cousin and I are trying to solve the problem by "Reverse Counting Calories". Basically, we've found, that if we eat under 1800 cals a day, the next day we have less of an appetite, eat less, and feel really low and crappy. And we crave carbs. Probably because our body is screaming for fuel. But that's a downward spiral. If we stay above 1800 cals for two days straight, we feel invigorated again. But it's tough to eat enough.

Count yer calories!

1
Da927135a179400e0928bd640841d10a

on March 30, 2011
at 03:02 PM

Carbs are addictive, as whatever their form they get metabolised into sugar and from an evolutionary standpoint are desirable to create easy fat stores when lean times next arrive. Read Gary Taubes or Barry Groves or Chris Masterjohn and you will see that carbs are purely an energy source and that if you have a blood sugar imbalance or insulin resistance, they will cause problems, and cravings. You might also have a gut imbalance- bad bacteria, yeasts etc, which thrive on glucose and other sugars. Definitely balancing your carb consumption with plenty of fat and protein in the same meal is the way to go, and then maybe don't eat them again for the rest of the day.

0
4d10a09dadeb266681418f5fe06c3f00

(115)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:05 PM

I'm eating sweet potatoes myself, to ensure I've got energy. I'm halfway through my 2nd week of pretty strict paleo and finally starting to get some energy again.

0
07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

on March 30, 2011
at 01:09 PM

You can't have a carb addiction any more than you can have a protein addiction or a fat addiction. Potatoes are not heroin. You had some starch after not having it for awhile and your body wants more. This happened to me when I started eating meat after being a vegan and when I started eating fat when I first did WAPF. Both instances I started off a bit cautiously and then I basically said "screw it" and I was inhaling red meat and butter. Yes I gained a couple pounds, but after a few weeks the obsession passed and my weight and eating went back to normal and I felt loads better having meat and fat in my diet.

You can either let yourself gorge on potatoes for awhile and see if your cravings subside or you can exert some effort to control what you are eating. If I were you, I would stop eating the fruit during your potato experiment, especially the sugary raisins. Sugar cravings are a whole other matter. I eat my tubers with plenty of fat and protein and the only sweet fruit I eat is 1/2 C. of blueberries or 2 oz. of banana a day and I have no added sugar at all. I haven't had any problems with hunger or craving fruit and sugar. Don't fear the potato!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:59 PM

I guess I like it because it is an extreme view in a mainstream mag, which is rare. You may be right that a carb addiction can't develop on a diet of healthy carbs, but you are wrong that you can't have a carb addiction, and once you do, a potato can be as bad as a lollypop.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:26 PM

I don't normally cite pop culture articles, but I like this one: http://www.details.com/style-advice/the-body/201103/carbs-caffeine-food-cocaine-addiction?currentPage=1

07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

(3162)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:28 PM

I still don't see any evidence that starchy carbs in a healthy diet with fat and protein are addicting. Sugar - refined fructose, is the real villain. That article is heavy on alarmism and light on logic. It gathers up everything from candy to potatoes and declares it all the devil. Worse than cocaine? Try talking to a cocaine addict.

0
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:37 AM

I have done that too. Just carbs carbs carbs until I could carb out no more. I now sublimate the urges with something like cheese, butter or creamed coconut. Just get very very full and you no longer want to.

It actually isn't a bad thing to have a carb-up day here and there. Mark Sisson says that it raises circulating leptin (in a good way) and boosts the metabolism if done once every other week or something like that. The task is just to not do it every day after that.

Also a thought, could you be deficient in any nutrients that are found more in carbs? Potassium, for example? Could your body be telling you something? That's just blind, unfounded speculation, but maybe there is something to that.

0
2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on March 30, 2011
at 06:20 AM

What do your meals normally look like? Have you tried adding in more fat? or, perhaps more fibrous vegetables (broccoli, cauiflower, zucchini, asparagus, etc.) could help drive satiety.

0
8f4ff12a53a98f3b5814cfe242de0daa

(1075)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:12 AM

It sounds like you have some binge eating disorder issues to address, not a particular carb obsession. Eating 3 whole potatoes in a single sitting would be physically uncomfortable / moderate pain in most situations.

Completely going zero carb is not necessarily a holy grail of good health. Looking at why you would go off and eat any food in great excess, and consider your emotional state at the time. Overt calorie restriction and intent over time can also build up issues.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:23 PM

I think this kind of thinking is misinformed and hurtful. Can you not conceive of bingeing as a physiological-based phenomenon?

A993550f2a130df8d3462c08582f08ec

(589)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:58 AM

This wasn't all in a single sitting, it was over the course of six or seven hours. I agree that it was binging, but it wasn't because I was upset or anything. If anything, I've been trying to get over a fear of carbs. I have no interest in going zero carb, but I do think I need to up my calories (23 years old, male, with an active job consuming about 2200-2400 calories daily), and tubers are a cheap and easy calorie source.

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