Are Carbs More Addictive Than Cocaine

The title of this blog immediately came into my head once I read the name of this article, “Are Carbs More Addictive Than Cocaine?” http://www.details.com/style-advice/the-body/201103/carbs-caffeine-food-cocaine-addiction, when I was scouring the internet for some nutrition related pieces.  I read this article with vigor and relish because I aim to instill a similar mantra in my patients.  As a dietitian working with patients seeking bariatric surgery and then following them post-operatively, from the initial consultation I am trying to make a lasting impression regarding the damage that carbs are capable of. 

The reactions of pre-operative patients sitting across from my desk are pretty much the same when discussing the importance of eliminating carbs, i.e. bread, pasta, potato, rice, chips, crackers, sweets, etc.  Horror stricken faces stare back at me at which time I try to alleviate their worries about letting go of their staple foods.  I think what we have to understand is that if everyone could eat all foods in moderation then obesity would not be an issue, however people eat for many more reasons other than physical hunger.  Thus, it makes perfect sense that people in such situations would mourn the loss of these foods. 

The reasons behind my emphasis on carb elimination to my bariatric patients are two-fold.  Eating lean protein first to provide long lasting satiation is of utmost importance, and we must remember that the carbs noted above are not imperative  for providing essential nutrients.  However, these same carbs are the types people struggle with in terms of portion control and becoming the foundations of their intake. The more frequently these types of foods are consumed the more the body will crave them, therefore they become addicting.  Eliminating these foods from one’s daily regimen is necessary so that the body will eventually stop craving them, helping people to maintain a healthy way of eating.  Reintroducing small amounts of said carbs, even in minute amounts, is a slippery slope for my patients since these foods are part of the reason they came to see me in the first place.  I strive to truly hit home with my patients that their quality of life, health and longevity are what should be focused on vs. when will they next be able to eat bread, pretzels, or a bag of Baked Lays.

The article that is abovementioned and inspired me to write this blog drives home the point about carbs that I talk about on a daily basis and I hope that as many people as possible read it and take it to heart.

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