Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ask Our Expert About Food Addiction

Ask Bitten Jonsson

Do you have a hard time controlling cravings for food – in particular sweet or processed foods? Do you experience lack of control over your eating? Ask your questions here:

Ask Bitten Jonsson, RN, About Food Addiction – for members (free trial available)

Here are three questions, answered by Bitten:

Question from Kirsten

Hi Dr. Jonsson,

I have been eating LCHF and using IF for the last year. I have successfully lost over 130 pounds by doing this. I still have about 30 pounds to lose and while the progress does keep me motivated I do find myself having a cheat day every now and then where I go back to ridiculous bingeing habits where I eat until I make myself sick.

Do you have any advice to step away from the binge days? I have recently stopped consuming all sugar substitutes as well to try to help with these cravings but honestly, it was never the sweet treats that I wanted, I have always been interested in french fries, bread, and other starchy, salty foods. Thank you for any advice.

Kirsten, congratulations on a ”job” well done, I do know how hard it is to do lifestyle changes being a food (sugar) addict myself.

The binges you are experiencing are dangerous, they can trigger you back into a relapse that can be very hard to break. It is like playing Russian roulette actually, I have seen that happen more than I want to. I recommend that you order a book by Terence T Gorski, Staying Sober, and everytime he writes about alcohol switch that word to your specific binge foods, the ones you mention are very common.

Start to map out your risk situations, when do you binge, a special day of the week, any other special situation? Then that day/situation is a risk situation that you need to address and really plan for and have your meals cooked in advance and stick to your meal plan.

You also need to figure out what your warning signs are, usually it is tired or bored but do pay attention to just wanting the ”drug”. We addicts have a hard time breaking through our denial and be painfully honest about our eating. Do you have a supporting network of other food addicts? Talking through our eating behaviour will scare our illness away. Happy recovery to you, Bitten

Question from Livia

Hi Bitten,

I’m really enjoying your videos. I’m learning so much. It’s been a great journey recovering from my sugar addiction one day at a time. What really helped me was daily yoga, meditation and getting a less stressful job. I was on a high fat high protein diet as well and doing really well.

3 months ago I became vegan for the environment and I really struggled! Never felt full and getting protein from beans/grains and protein powders really did me no good, I really struggled with carbs and nuts, even though I wasn’t eating sugar/flour/fruit.

I feel a lot better now on a LCHF diet. I am aware of my pattern behavior of doing really well for days then out of no where one day I wake up with a crazy carb craving. I really wanted to start trying amino acids to help me with this. Can you tell me a bit more about GABA, glutamine, 5tph and Tryptophan? Dosage and how to use them.

Many many thanks!

Livia, I am happy to hear that my videos give you tools to deal with your sugar addiction. We need lots of tools on our journey to recovery.

It is my own experience and I share this with most of my clients, a vegan diet can send us into cravings and relapse. It is a great idea to care for our environment but a vegan diet is not biologically appropriate and our brains especially need animal fat.

Amino acids can be a great crutch for many of us since our sugar eating has depleated us of neurotransmittors. First make sure your stomach gets lots of the good bacteria. Fermented vegetables, sauerkraut is important to add if the amino acids are going to have effect.

I suggest you try 1 teaspoon Glutamine in water 3-4 times a day. Take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon coconut oil in warm water right after. In the afternoon and or early evening take 1-2, 500 mg GABA, start slowly and listen to your body. At bedtime take 300-400 mg magnesium and 100 mg 5HTP or L-thryptophane. It is a good idea to add 200 mg B6 at bedtime to.

Try this for 3-4 weeks and see if it helps. I also recommend reading the book Staying Sober by Terence T Gorski to figure out your risk situations and hidden warning signs and work out strategies to deal with them without eating sugary foods.

I hope you find this helpful. I’m happy to answer further questions if they arise. Good luck, Bitten

Question from Jodie

Dear Bitten,

I have been on and off LCHF for two years. The trouble is staying on it. My addictive brain plays games with me. I feel deprived — work and work and want a reward. Many can relate to the loss of the control but I’m tired of the merry-go-round. Plus I feel like I’m not authentic because I secretly eat or want to eat desserts until I just die.

Any suggestions?


Dear Jodie, you are not alone, but trying to do this alone, will not work well. Using LCHF as the only tool when you have a brain disease, addiction, will not help.

I lecture to my clients that food plan is maybe 10% of the whole tool kit. 95% is more and other things you need to do in order to receive a stable, long term recovery. The on and off eating will wreac havoc with your body and mind.

I suggest you start with reading literature about food addiction. There are a number of books available today, Dr. Vera Tarmans book Foodjunkies is one, also look att this site: Food Addiction Institute, there are articles about new research and suggestions on what to do.

Another great book is Staying sober by Terence Gorski, it’s about relapse and written with alcohol in mind but just change ”alcohol” for sweets and you get the picture.

Since I do not know where you live it’s difficult to suggest treatment, but please talk to a proffessional food addiction specialist. And join a 12 step group, or you need support to stay abstinent.

You are not hopeless.

Take care,

More Questions and Answers

Read all earlier questions and answers – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Bitten Jonsson, RN, About Food Addiction – for members (free trial available)

More About Food Addiction

First Part of Our Sugar Addiction Video Course – Free for All!

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