Featuring a 5-part questionnaire to help you identify your personal craving profile
Julia Ross, best-selling author and expert in nutrition and overeating, exposes the real reason so many of us can’t stick to a healthy diet: our favorite foods are engineered to be addictive. At her clinic in California, Ross and her colleagues treat food addiction where it startsin the brainby triggering our natural appetite-regulating neurotransmitters with nutrients called amino acids. It turns out that these protein concentrates boost our neurotransmitters, which broadcast sensations of satisfaction that no food, including chocolate, can override. Thousands of Ross’ clients have abolished their cravings for high-calorie confections using this simple nutritional strategy.
With The Craving Cure, Ross grants all of us access to this revolutionary approach. The process begins with a five-part questionnaire that helps you identify your unique craving profile and specifies the amino acid supplements you need to curb your specific cravings. Ross’ clear explanations of why and how to use the aminos empower you to reclaim your natural appetite control, and her anti-craving eating guidelines will permanently strengthen your dietary defenses. A well-researched and clinically-tested rejection of low-calorie, low-saturated fat, and low-protein diets, The Craving Cure reveals how we can effortlessly and permanently eradicate our cravings to lose weight, rediscover our nutritional heritage, and regain optimal mood, energy, and health.
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Your Favorite Carbohydrates: Twice as Addictive as Cocaine
A nutritional crime has been committed. An ancient and healthful nutrient has been transformed into the most harmful substance ever known. It is now the main ingredient in the American diet. What is the violated substance in question? Carbohydrate.
Carbohydrate is one of only three kinds of food available for our consumption here on earth. The other two are protein and fat. We have been thriving on these three elemental fuels in various forms and proportions since the beginning of human time. Tragically, all three have been subjected to damage and defamation in recent decades. But carbohydrate, grotesquely deformed by commercial processing into sweet and starchy weapons of mass destruction, is having its revenge. It is igniting cravings that we cannot resist and destroying us as we succumb.
WHAT IS A CARBOHYDRATE?
Most people think that a carbohydrate is a starchy food like bread, pasta, rice, beans, or potatoes — and they're right. But carbohydrate also comes in sweet forms; as apples, grapes, sodas, and gum drops. Most foods contain some carbohydrate, but any food that is primarily either sweet or starchy is officially called a carbohydrate.
Why are these two types of carbohydrate lumped together under one name when their flavors is so different? These sweet and starchy sisters are composed of almost identical chemical elements. They're also identical in that both can very quickly be converted into our bodies' primary energy source; its gas. (More on this miraculous process shortly.)
Carbohydrate-containing foods in their original, undamaged forms are rich in nutrients and include the world's most beautiful and colorful edibles. Vegetables and fruits, which were originally our only sources of carbohydrate (as well as fiber) gave us all the reds, purples, yellows, and, of course, greens in our diet. They gave us myriad sweet and subtle flavors and many health benefits. Those of us who are still eating several vegetables and fruits a day have been found to be healthier (our cancer rate is lower, for example) and happier (our depression rate is lower). Unfortunately, we're now eating less than half the fresh produce that we traditionally ate before 1970. And I think it's fair to say that we're less than half as healthy and happy.
The foods highest in carbohydrate — fruits, roots, beans, grains, and, of course, sugarcane — also contain valuable nutrients. But it's their naturally high content of nature's sugars and starches that has made them the primary victims of modern nutritional crime.
THE CARBOHYDRATE-ENERGY MIRACLE — AND ITS DEMISE
Many of carbohydrate's natural properties are health- and pleasure-enhancing, but I have hardly begun to tout their most vital function. All sweets and starches contain, or can be instantly transformed into, the life-sustaining, cell-ready fuel called "glucose." Glucose absorption begins right in your mouth and continues in your digestive tract. The glucose released can be burned immediately or stored as backup energy.
Almost all sweet-tasting high carbohydrate foods like oranges and yams contain not only glucose, but lots of another natural sugar called fructose, as well. Glucose converts into energy immediately. Fructose is absorbed more slowly (you'll hear all about that process soon), but most of it eventually converts into glucose. High-carbohydrate foods like potatoes and pasta contain a starch called amylose, some of which is converted into glucose by the saliva in the mouth in milliseconds, the rest in the gut soon after.
Why all this focus on glucose? Glucose is your body's primary energy source; it is the vital fuel that keeps every cell in your body running. You can't build body parts out of it, though, any more than you can build a car out of gas. All of your body's structures, not just your muscles, but also your bones, organs, and everything else, are made from protein, fat, and water. But the miracle of carbohydrate provides the glucose that brings it all to life.
Our bodies require glucose twenty-four hours a day. Our cells can't ever turn off. Even when we're sleeping, they're still at work. But the precious glucose supplies we need are no longer consistently available to us. Despite the fact that our diet is higher in sugar and starch than at any other time in human history, these days, we can't count on the availability of glucose. That's because the unnatural, processed, carbohydrate concentrates we're now consuming so often can only fuel us with big, initially pleasurable, but short, bursts of glucose. In between bursts, we drop too low in glucose. We drop too low because excess insulin, stimulated by any high-carbohydrate foods, removes both any excess glucose and much of the needed glucose as well. The result: the low blood sugar crash called hypoglycemia. How do we know if we've become hypoglycemic? We crave carbohydrate.
Our hyper-carbohydrate diet has made us a nation of carb-craving hypoglycemics. Since so many of us now typically skip meals and often go without eating anything but sweet or starchy treats for long periods, glucose crashes just keep alternating with glucose overdoses. This roller coaster puts a strain on the entire body, distorts the body's natural hunger signals, and leads directly to the overeating of carbohyrates that ends up in fat storage. (That's where insulin disposes of all that excess glucose.)
THE CARBOHYDRATE-CRAVING CONNECTION
Do you crave garbanzo beans, blueberries, or acorn squash? Nope. Why? Because these ancient, healthful carbohydrates are only mildly pleasurable. As a result, they have helped fuel human life since the beginning of time without unnatural weight gain or disease.
Since a moderate serving of these carbohydrates does not produce blood glucose bombs, these whole, naturally occurring foods don't stimulate insulin rushes. That means our blood sugar levels tend to rise a little and then steady-up till we eat again in a few hours. Our traditional meals used to give us a balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These latter two foods could pinch-hit if the glucose supply from the carbohydrate in the meal didn't last long enough. That's because the body can burn them when needed, by transforming them into glucose substitutes like ketones and lactate. In fact, it does this very smoothly while we sleep at night.
Nice design. Too bad we've wrecked it.
How did we do it? We took the foods that are naturally the highest in carbohydrate — sugarcane, sugar beet, corn, wheat, fruit, and cactus — and savagely processed them into white sugar, high-fructose syrups, and white flour. This "denaturing" of our ancient sweets and starches, and the adding of their concentrated remains to the food supply, is the felony that's being committed wherever today's commercial foods are made. Almost every processed food product and restaurant item includes these felonious substances, everything from baby formula to "health" bars and frozen dinners. Here's why:
Very few substances in their original, whole forms can force the brain to set off the potentially fatal attraction called craving. But some whole foods contain chemicals within them that, when extracted and concentrated, become so powerful that we call them irresistible and divine. We can't get enough of them.
Think about it. What turns a leaf into crack? What turns a poppy into heroin? Most people addicted to cocaine would not chew coca leaves for long and heroin users would certainly not binge on poppies. No bread lover would settle for a wheat berry and no candy craver would settle for a piece of sugarcane. But when sugar is extracted from the cane and concentrated, it becomes hundreds of times sweeter, hence the sugar rush provided by countless candies and soft drinks.
Highly refined sweets and starches are two of the most potent drugs ever extracted from plants. Like poppies and coca leaves, sugarcane, sugar beets, wheat, and corn can now be quickly and cheaply transformed into ultrapotent white powders and colorless syrups. Like all drug substances, they are designed to impact the brain neurotransmitters that produce enjoyable sensations. First they amplify these sensations tremendously, then, when the impact wears off, those same neurotransmitters start broadcasting powerful craving messages; messages that guarantee quick new sales. (There will be much more on the brain and our cravings in Part II, Understanding Your Craving Type.)
Naming the Enemy: Techno-Karbz
Some people call them Franken-Carbs, most people call them junk foods, but from now on I'm going to refer to these industrial-strength carbohydrates as "Techno-Karbz."
These "doctored" sweets and starches are no longer foods. They are neither fruit, bean, vegetable, nor grain. They are cold cereal, juice, ice cream, cookies, and chips. They are the bun on the burger, the batter on the chicken, the crust on the pizza, and the wrap on the burrito. The beef, chicken, tomatoes, and cheese in the latter products are real foods. When artificially created sugars and flours outweigh these real foods in a product, a Techno-Karb is created. More and more, the real food is being left out altogether. It has been determined that 60 percent of our diet is now composed of stripped sugars and starches with some flavoring and damaging fat thrown in (we'll get to the wronged fats in Chapter 3). This means that about 60 percent of our diet contains none of the nutrients required to keep us fit, healthy, and happy. No wonder we aren't.
Sugar and starch concentrates are the world's top-selling and, as we'll see, the world's top-killing designer drugs. As such, they need to be given a warning label. It's imperative that we start making the distinction between Techno-Karbz and whole, natural carbohydrates. It's worth our lives. We must find a way to see through the familiar, cute, and misleading images; the pet names, the funny voiceovers, and the darling graphics. Or, almost worse, the ones that convince us that they're good for us and our children.
Techno-Karbz are actually just narcotics dressed up in skirts. Adorably packaged and sublime tasting, these substances are designed to pass as foods. But they have much more in common with hard drugs. Actually, as you'll see, your favorite goodies are more potent than heroin and cocaine combined.
SCIENCE EXPOSES THE FOOD INDUSTRY'S CRAVING STRATEGY
Up until very recently, the food industry has been able to get away with saying, "It's the consumer's choice. We don't force anyone to eat our products." But this stance is now slipping under concerted scientific scrutiny.
In 2010, the ultimate food industry insider, former FDA chief, David Kessler, Ph.D., blew the whistle. In his book, The End of Overeating, Kessler quoted food industry leaders who acknowledged that their products were destroying our health because we could not limit our intake of them due to their inflated "palatability" (read: addictiveness), achieved through careful and increasingly sophisticated food technology. This was news to the general public, but not to addiction scientists. Three years earlier, in 2007, at the University of Bordeaux, a study using the same methods that had originally certified cocaine as the most addictive drug ever known, had found table sugar, alone, to be more than twice as addictive.
Animal studies comparing the effects of sugar to those of street drugs had first started to trickle in after 1980. That trickle has since become a torrent. The French study is now only one of hundreds of scientific papers that continue to be published on this topic. These studies have found the effects of Techno-Karbz on the brain to be comparable to the effects of not just cocaine, but drugs like heroin, Ecstasy, and Xanax, as well. Researchers have documented that foods containing highly refined sugars and starches can have an impact on all of the same pleasure centers in the brain that hard drugs do. The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), neuroscientist Nora Volkow, Ph.D., has repeatedly made it clear that some foods, like certain drugs, set off powerfully addictive brain chemistry processes that leave millions devastated, and that no pharmaceutical solutions are yet in sight, despite her agency's years of committed research.
Research and the Craving Cure
I disagree in this book with a number of opinions that have been held firmly for a long time. But I've only done so after years of experience with thousands of clients, years of digging through the research, and years of discussion with experts in the field of health and nutrition. Even so, I do not want you to just take my word. That's why I've included fifty pages of jewel-like references in the Notes section. I strongly encourage you to scan them and locate the studies that interest you on the Internet. Just type the first five words of any study into the search bar of your favorite search engine to find the study itself (not the blog posts about it).
IF OUR FOOD IS NOW SO ADDICTIVE, HAVE WE BECOME A NATION OF FOOD ADDICTS?
I've just explained that our diet has come to consist largely of addictive drugs in disguise and that our cravings for them are involuntary and harmful, so I don't think that you'll be surprised when I say that you are very likely to have become addicted. How could you not have? Craving is the primary symptom of any addiction. Most of us have been led all the way into a full-blown addiction trap by cravings that have been building since childhood, when we were first exposed to these shrewdly designed and mercilessly marketed substances.
You have likely been trying to escape that trap for years. No matter the strength of your own cravings, the methods you'll find in Part III, The Amino Breakthrough, will free you. But I don't want to minimize what's at stake here. You now know, from scoring your Craving Profile, how many Craving Types you have and how severe their symptoms are. You could have as many as five separate brain-generated forces propelling you toward the Techno-Karbz. This internal pressure is formidable. But, on top of it, you are faced with massive external pressures. Big Food's entire advertising industry is arrayed against you. And Techno-Karbz are everywhere, always a big part of "having fun." It's an addictive gang-up. Yet, most people, probably including you, still think that it's "all my own fault"; that it's about lack of motivation or poor self-discipline. That's what you're supposed to think. It really is a conspiracy!
HOW MANY OF US ARE FOOD ADDICTED?
Scientific interest in what constitutes addicted eating has been aroused by the helpless struggle with food and weight that most Americans are now engaged in. What have they concluded about how foods compare to drug and alcohol addiction? There are 28 million drug and alcohol addicts in the United States. NIDA chief Volkow and the influential Yale Food Addiction Study estimate that, in contrast, between 70 and 200 million Americans are addicted to foods. That's 20 to 60 percent of the U.S. population. In a speech given in 2012, Volkow said that "20 percent of drug users become addicted and behave in health-risking ways because of their use. By this standard, food could actually be considered several times more addictive than crack." Her estimate and that of the Yale study factor in the fact that over 70 percent of the U.S. population is now either obese or overweight and that the majority are suffering serious health and other consequences. They also take into account that those who are overweight and obese are not all food addicted, and that some of those at normal weight, like most of our bulimics, are.
The Most Addictive Foods
The international team associated with the Yale Food Addiction Study conducted research, published in 2014, that identified the top most addictive foods. Pizza and chocolate-flavored baked desserts topped the list, with chips, cookies, fries, and ice cream close behind.
How did wholesome natural carbohydrates score? Bananas, strawberries, and apples were near the bottom of the list. Carrots and cucumbers were at the rock bottom.
Most important, the team found that over 90 percent of the cross section of 500 people they'd surveyed "had a persistent desire to, or repeatedly made unsuccessful attempts to, quit eating" those foods.
THE SIGNS OF TECHNO-KARBZ ADDICTION: SIZING UP YOUR OWN EATING HABIT
The essential criteria for a diagnosis of chemical dependency, first developed in the alcohol and drug addiction recovery field, are now being applied to food addiction. There are many signs and degrees of addiction and the negative consequences of it, but the simple definition is "continued use despite adverse consequences." For you, is it four squares of chocolate every afternoon that you have to have? A pint of ice cream most nights and a constant struggle with fifteen pounds? Or daily binges, type 2 diabetes, and obesity? Can you stay away from your particular favorites? How often have you tried and "failed" despite the guilt, shame, expense, weight gain, and hangovers; despite the comments of friends, a spouse, your personal trainer, or your doctor?
Excerpted from "The Craving Cure"
Copyright © 2017 Julia Ross.
Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introducing the Craving Cure 1
Are You a Craver? The Craving-Type Questionnaire 7
Part I How We Got Here 21
1 Your Favorite Carbohydrates: Twice as Addictive as Cocaine 23
2 The Invasion of the Techno-Karbz: 3,000 Years of Bliss-Point Technology 39
3 The Craving Generations: Reshaped by Three Dietary Trends of the 1970s 57
4 The Weight-Gain Pandemic: Uncovering the True Causes and How the Craving Cure Can Help 79
Part II Understanding Your Craving Type 91
5 Your Brain: Craving Control Central 93
6 Are You a Type 1 Depressed Craver? 107
7 Are You a Type 2 Crashed Craver? 116
8 Are You a Type 3 Comfort Craver? 126
9 Are You a Type 4 Stressed Craver? 133
10 Are You a Type 5 Fatigued Craver? 140
Part III The Amino Breakthrough 149
11 Cracking the Craving Code: Prep Steps for All Craving Types 151
12 Your Personal Breakthrough: Specific Directions for Each Craving Type 169
Type 1 Craving Elimination for the Depressed Craver 170
Type 2 Craving Elimination for the Crashed Craver (Including any Diabetics) 177
Type 3 Craving Elimination for the Comfort Craver 181
Type 4 Craving Elimination for the Stressed Craver 184
Type 5 Craving Elimination for the Fatigued Craver 188
Part IV Craving-Free Eating 199
13 Finding Your Way Back to the Primal Plate: What, When, and How Much to Eat 201
14 Traditional Cuisines: Choosing What Works Best for You 224
15 Personalizing Your Plate; Food-Reintroduction Testing 242
16 Dodging Slips and Shooting Trouble 253
Part V Vital Resources 265
Tracking and Testing Tools 267
Recipes and Menus 295
Notes: References and Author Comments for Each Chapter 375