0

votes

Help! Sugar addiction, hunger- am I doing this wrong? what do I eat when I want to eat nut butter?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 16, 2013 at 1:23 PM

I've been on and off a Paleo diet for a few years now. By on and off, I mean I haven't eaten grains or legumes at all in that time, but I go through phases of eating grass-fed dairy. The problem is I can't seem to stop some level of compulsive eating, particularly of sugar. I'll give it up for a month or so and feel great, but somehow I end up falling off the wagon again. I also seem to be addicted to the avocado oil potato chips, and even when I'm "strictly" paleo, my consumption of nuts and nut butters is excessive. I did a Whole30, although even during that I overate nuts.

I'm sure there's some kind of psychological component involved, but I also wonder if I'm doing something wrong nutritionally. On a typical day I'll eat about 16oz of ground grassfed beef, lamb, or sometimes chicken, and/or maybe a big salmon fillet. I eat a ton of vegetables, usually a big salad with olive oil plus an entire red pepper or a pound bag of frozen broccoli. I snack on dried coconut all day too, plus (too many) nuts. I avoid fruit because it triggers sugar binges. Sometimes I eat sweet potatoes, but I try to limit them because of the fructose.

Am I doing something wrong? I'm certainly getting enough protein, and I suppose enough fat (I'm a 34 year old female, 5'4", 130lbs, no health problems). Yesterday after two weeks of "clean" eating, I ate an entire pint of (er, organic) ice cream- oops. Afterwards, I felt warm and happy, and sort of energized, like my body suddenly got something it desperately needed. Today I feel good, no hangover. No one's body needs ice cream, so I'm thinking what I really needed was carbohydrate. Does that sound right? I should add I get hungry a lot even after eating my meat and vegetables, hence the nuts. I can't stomach (or afford) any more meat. Should I add more carbs, and if so, in what form?

Edit- my basic question: when I'm hungry and I want to eat nuts (or sugar, or potato chips), what should I eat instead? I'm happy to give up those foods, but how do I replace them?

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 17, 2013
at 12:59 PM

I have actually been eating raw macademias- I find that I eat far fewer if I avoid salted nuts. Really shouldn't be spending money on them. Speaking of which, I wish the dessicated liver weren't so expensive. I think I'll hunt down some liver and try the frozen chunks method.

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 17, 2013
at 12:57 PM

Thanks, I'll check the book out. There's absolutely an emotional component. On the other hand, after a couple weeks of sugar (i.e. fructose) abstinence my mood improves dramatically. So it's self-perpetuating. After a few weeks I feel so good that I figure I'd have to be insane to eat sugar, but then I eat sugar. Either I'm insane, or I'm literally addicted to fructose. White potatoes and white rice don't do it, so it's not glucose/carbs.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on March 16, 2013
at 10:53 PM

Okay, that's a good point. With that history, it's really important that you be comfortable in your eating style and choices. In that case, I agree that maybe more carbs or saturated fats are just what you need, at meal times anyway. As to what carb source that should be, perhaps a little white rice, a la Jaminet, if you're not down with the sweet potato? Maybe that would reduce your desire for the treats. As far as snacking, I guess dried coconut is about as good as it gets! Rock on!

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on March 16, 2013
at 08:16 PM

Desiccated liver pills could be an option, not so hard to stomach. Also, if you really love nuts and they bring a lot to your life, some nuts are better than others, macadamias in particular are low in phytic acid and polyunsaturates. You might be less inclined to binge on them because macadamias are expensive, and the effort of soaking (possibly sprouting as well) will help discourage you from eating too many.

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 16, 2013
at 07:21 PM

Hmm. I thought I was getting enough saturated fat, with 4-5lbs of ground sirloin per week, plus whatever other meat I come across. I do drain off the liquid after I cook it though and it's lean to begin with, so yeah, maybe that's an issue. I do take chelated magnesium, and chromium and active B's as well. I'll try getting more of the fat into my body- I'm paying enough for it :) You're right about the liver, and the nuts. I need to find a good grassfed source for liver, but I'm lazy and it tastes yucky. I haven't been soaking nuts because every bag I buy is "the last."

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 16, 2013
at 07:14 PM

That's a good point. I think I'm eating enough at meals, always a bunch of meat and vegetables, so it doesn't seem like I should need snacks. I have a history of restricting food and disordered eating and I NEVER want to go there again, so I'm wary of making rules about when I can eat. It feels safer to set guidelines about the identity of my food, rather than the quantity or timing.

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 16, 2013
at 07:11 PM

I agree with you in principle Mandy, it's just that I don't feel like I eat sugar for the pleasure or as a conscious choice. It feels compulsive and like something else is going on. I often feel dizzy during the day and can't force myself to eat much of anything, but I can always eat sugar. It feels like something unhealthy, both psychologically and physiologically.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on March 16, 2013
at 06:22 PM

Maybe she needs a donut, too. Or a grilled cheese sandwich. Or a Twinkie. Or maybe SHE sees a problem with it and that's why she's asking for help.

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:34 PM

Saturated fat deficiency could also explain the ice cream cravings.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on March 16, 2013
at 01:57 PM

Maybe you just needed ice cream! I don't mean to sound like I'm trying to derail you, but if you don't have any ill effects from a pint of ice cream, I don't see a problem with eating it every once in a while.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers

1
C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

on March 16, 2013
at 02:33 PM

Maybe I'm missing something, but you don't seem to be getting very much saturated fat at all. It seems whenever I get too close to half of my calories as carbs I start to get sugar cravings due to glucose preference vs fat preference. Also, are you taking a magnesium supplement and/or eating organ meat? A lack of either of these causes nut cravings, as well as possibly a fat deficiency you're trying to make up for with the fat in nuts.

You should also be careful if you aren't soaking you're nuts ahead of time, the phytic acid content will catch up to you and bind nutrients.

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:34 PM

Saturated fat deficiency could also explain the ice cream cravings.

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 17, 2013
at 12:59 PM

I have actually been eating raw macademias- I find that I eat far fewer if I avoid salted nuts. Really shouldn't be spending money on them. Speaking of which, I wish the dessicated liver weren't so expensive. I think I'll hunt down some liver and try the frozen chunks method.

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 16, 2013
at 07:21 PM

Hmm. I thought I was getting enough saturated fat, with 4-5lbs of ground sirloin per week, plus whatever other meat I come across. I do drain off the liquid after I cook it though and it's lean to begin with, so yeah, maybe that's an issue. I do take chelated magnesium, and chromium and active B's as well. I'll try getting more of the fat into my body- I'm paying enough for it :) You're right about the liver, and the nuts. I need to find a good grassfed source for liver, but I'm lazy and it tastes yucky. I haven't been soaking nuts because every bag I buy is "the last."

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on March 16, 2013
at 08:16 PM

Desiccated liver pills could be an option, not so hard to stomach. Also, if you really love nuts and they bring a lot to your life, some nuts are better than others, macadamias in particular are low in phytic acid and polyunsaturates. You might be less inclined to binge on them because macadamias are expensive, and the effort of soaking (possibly sprouting as well) will help discourage you from eating too many.

0
4d8fd4160293afaeab0b8b2b11315269

on March 18, 2013
at 06:50 AM

That sounds so familiar :) I've also eating paleo for quite a while now just 2 weeks ago I got some great tips from the 21 sugar detox book which gives some great tips and insights to sugar cravings - I bought it because I had days where I ate some bad snacks (Snickers, ice cream,..). Afterwards, I always hated myself:| Now I always carry 'emergency snacks' with me: Carrot, banana, avocado and almonds. In my fridge I always keep an emergency-paleo-friendly Pina Colada :) (For your ref.:http://timreviews.com/21daysugardetox)

Eloise

0
B9cfa43798183424786a59d11ac52f76

(145)

on March 16, 2013
at 03:49 PM

You know, sometimes you just have to have what you crave. If I want something for more than a day, I'll have it. The other week I wanted peanut butter and banana sandwiches SO BAD. Don't know why. I resisted that for 2-3 days, then said, okay, craving still there, I'm eating it! (Except I subbed out the bread for paleo bread, but it worked!) Who can eat 100% perfect all the time? If they do, they're superhuman, congrats to them.

If you keep on having short-term cravings for sugar-maybe you are having less sleep or more stress in your life lately? I seriously start craving some sugar when I'm tired.

As for the psychological aspect, maybe that could use addressing, too. I read this book by Geneen Roth called "How to Break Free from Emotional Eating" that was very insightful. Even if you don't think you're an emotional eater, it was an interesting read.

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 17, 2013
at 12:57 PM

Thanks, I'll check the book out. There's absolutely an emotional component. On the other hand, after a couple weeks of sugar (i.e. fructose) abstinence my mood improves dramatically. So it's self-perpetuating. After a few weeks I feel so good that I figure I'd have to be insane to eat sugar, but then I eat sugar. Either I'm insane, or I'm literally addicted to fructose. White potatoes and white rice don't do it, so it's not glucose/carbs.

0
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on March 16, 2013
at 01:43 PM

I snack on dried coconut all day too, plus (too many) nuts.

Someone else may have some input on your macro ratios (maybe more carbs would be a good idea, don't fear the sweet potato)... but this is the part that really stands out for me. By eating all day long, you're keeping your appetite (psychologically) and insulin secretion (physically) going all day long. I know it's tough when you're hungry, but try to eat only at meals. If necessary, start with four real meals a day and work your way down to three. I think that would give you a greater benefit than simply replacing those nuts with another food to snack on.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on March 16, 2013
at 10:53 PM

Okay, that's a good point. With that history, it's really important that you be comfortable in your eating style and choices. In that case, I agree that maybe more carbs or saturated fats are just what you need, at meal times anyway. As to what carb source that should be, perhaps a little white rice, a la Jaminet, if you're not down with the sweet potato? Maybe that would reduce your desire for the treats. As far as snacking, I guess dried coconut is about as good as it gets! Rock on!

1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on March 16, 2013
at 07:14 PM

That's a good point. I think I'm eating enough at meals, always a bunch of meat and vegetables, so it doesn't seem like I should need snacks. I have a history of restricting food and disordered eating and I NEVER want to go there again, so I'm wary of making rules about when I can eat. It feels safer to set guidelines about the identity of my food, rather than the quantity or timing.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!