Carbohydrate Addiction and Withdrawal

Carbohydrate addiction is real

Afterall, if losing weight was as easy as “eat less and exercise more”, we would all be slim, svelt, built like greyhounds!

Carbohydrates are easily as addictive as cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine…

Don’t believe me?  Have a look at this research where rats were addicted to cocaine and then given the choice between cocaine and sugar.

If rats cannot resist the stuff is it any surprise that so many of us find ourselves looking at an empty biscuit packet when we only intended to eat one biscuit?

With sugar it is hard to tell when an individual first develops a problem.  Young people can eat as much as they like (very often).  They stay slim and full of beans.  They eat whole pizzas from huge boxes.  Not a problem!

Meanwhile – insulin resistance is developing

All carbohydrates get converted to glucose in the bloodstream.  Glucose is toxic in the bloodstream and our pancreas produces insulin to shuttle it into body cells as quickly as possible.  Wikipedia gives a very comprehensive account of the subject.  Over time, more and more insulin is needed to keep that slim, svelt figure before it all goes pear shaped (or, more accurately, apple shaped).

An apple shaped figure signals insulin resistance and women with a 35″+ waist and men with a 40″+ waist are definitely insulin resistant.

Withdrawal symptoms

Insulin resistance is a symptom of carbohydrate intolerance so it makes sense to cut back or to cut out carbohydrates.  Afterall, you go cold turkey for everything else.

Just like cigarettes and other drugs, sugar fights back.  Go low carb and you face withdrawal symptoms – low carb flu.  Just like real flu you feel awful.  Shaky.  You can’t think straight.  Low energy.  You just need to eat something and you will be ok.  Maybe just one biscuit?

And that is why it is so difficult to kick the sugar habit.



Rats and cocaine:

Insulin resistance:


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