Jewish Nutrition

The Jewish site for Kosher Food and Healthy Eating

Are you a Carb Craver?

Take this short quiz from Kathleen DesMaisons to find out:

I really like sweet foods

I eat a lot of sweets

I am very fond of bread, cereal, popcorn or pasta

I have problem with alcohol or drugs

I am in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction

One or both of my parents are alcoholic

One or both of my parents are/were especially fond of sugar

I am overweight and don't seem to be able to easily lose the extra pounds

I continue to be depressed no matter what I do

I often find myself overreacting to stress

I have a temper or short fuse

If you answered yes to three or more it is likely that you are sugar sensitive.  Sugar sensitivity, also called sugar addiction, is much more common than people think.  In our bodies, sugar and simple carbohydrates like bread or cereal breakdown into glucose and can affect those that are sensitive in a way similar to alcohol.  People with this body chemistry actually become addicted to sugar and carbs and experience withdrawal symptoms when they don't eat these foods.  The reason for this is a special body chemistry combining volatile blood sugar, low serotonin levels and low beta-endorphin levels.

People who are sugar sensitive, if they are not eating well, will feel awful.  Ups and downs of blood sugar will cause ups and downs through the day, foggy thinking, exhaustion and bad moods.  Low serotonin will cause the carb cravings, depression and impulsiveness and low beta-endorphins also cause carb cravings, low self-esteem and a low tolerance for pain.

If you are sugar sensitive no amount of counselling or psycological advice will help unless you take care of the physical problem.  The good news about this is that by eating well and following the advice below you can gain control of your moods and cravings. 

Here is my advice (you can also go to Radiant Recovery for support and online classes)

  • Switch to wholegrains (this will decrease the swings in blood sugar)
  • Eat breakfast every day, even if you don't feel like it
  • Combine carbohydrates with protein at each meal (also will decrease swings in blood sugar)
  • Eat fresh vegetables
  • Take a multi-vitamin and omega-3 supplement
  • Try to plan meals in advance
  • Eat a carbohydrate snack before bed or in the late evening (this must be without protein)

You will need all the support you can get.  This is real addiction and unlike other drug addictions you cannot give up carbohydrates.  However give yourself time and patience and your body will adapt and gain strength.  It will be good to consult with a nutritionist and gain the support of friends and family members.  You will feel great health benefits and the whole family will also benefit from the improvement in diet.  Make sure that you have read our Basics section in adition to the advice above.  Your hard work will definately pay off.