| As many as 75% of overweight and obese people in the U.S.
may be addicted through poor eating habits to either
carbohydrates or the protein called gluten, which is found in
all wheat, rye, barley and oat products.
Like any addiction, these cravings are unhealthy and
problematic. They take the form of either an irresistible
craving for carbohydrate-rich foods such as desserts, candies
and junk food, or gluten products like breakfast cereals, breads
Carbohydrate-rich foods make up a large part of the modern-day
diet and include bagels, cakes, chocolate, cookies, crackers,
pastry, fruit and fruit juice, ice cream, potato chips,
potatoes, pretzels, rice, pie, popcorn and sugar-sweetened
beverages. In addition, carbohydrate "act-a-likes" such as sugar
substitutes, alcoholic beverages and monosodium glutamate may
trigger intense, recurring carbohydrate cravings, which can lead
to excess weight and obesity.
Proteins such as gluten result in the production of substances
that can have addictive, narcotic-like effects. These substances
are called "exorphins." Hydrolyzed wheat gluten, for example,
has been found to prolong intestinal transit time and may
contribute to weight gain. The effects of exorphins on the brain
tell a person to keep eating gluten products, which, in turn,
could contribute to the mental disturbances and appetite
disorders that routinely accompany food-related illnesses.
Many food "addicts" are right to suspect there is a physical
reason that makes them crave carbohydrates and put weight on
easily. But the underlying cause of their struggles often goes
undiagnosed and untreated by the medical profession.
Carbohydrate addiction is, in fact, caused by excess insulin,
which is released by the pancreas into the blood stream when
carb-rich foods are eaten. Insulin signals the body to take in
food and, once the food is consumed, orders the resulting energy
to be stored in the form of fat. Too much insulin results in an
irresistible and frequent desire to eat.
The scientific term for this condition is post-prandial reactive
hyperinsulinemia, which means too much insulin is released after
eating. Hyperinsulinemia stems from Insulin Resistance, an
imbalance of blood glucose and insulin levels. If left
unchecked, Insulin Resistance can result in excess weight and
obesity, increasing the risk of developing a variety of damaging
disorders such as:
- The cluster of cardiovascular risk factors called metabolic
syndrome (syndrome X), which can lead to a heart attack or
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of female
infertility as well as numerous other symptoms including skin conditions, excess body and facial
hair and male pattern baldness in women
- Reversible pre-diabetes, which, if left untreated, can lead
to type 2 diabetes, which is irreversible in the vast majority of cases. Type 2 diabetes may require daily injections of insulin and significantly increases the risk for blindness, heart and kidney disease and the need for amputation
Gluten intolerance can
manifest in many ways. You may have heard of Celiac Disease, an
extreme reaction to any product containing gluten, a protein
found in wheat. The symptoms are chronic watery and bloody
stools. The immune systems of those with Celiac Disease are
reacting severely to this protein, however there are thousands
of people who suffer milder reactions to gluten and are unaware
of the underlying cause.
Eating gluten can cause inflammation in the sensitive mucous
membranes of the intestinal lining which can trigger an immune
response. Because of this immune reaction, individuals
experience wide variations in symptoms such as rashes, fatigue,
mental fog, behavioral disorders like hyperactivity in
children, gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation or
diarrhea, chronic headaches and more.
Many individuals have increased food cravings as a reaction to
consuming gluten, but are unaware of the reason for their desire
to eat continuously or even out of control. Some medical
practitioners are challenged to pinpoint this condition and, as
a result, their patients are often left to treat the symptoms
rather than the cause - ingesting glutens. Due to the lack of
specificity in identifying their disorder, many people continue
to eat gluten for decades and struggle constantly with their
Insulin increases the insulin sensitivity of your cells, which, in turn, impedes the vital process whereby food converted into glucose in the bloodstream passes through the cell wall to be converted to energy. Glucose "bounces" off the cell
walls after being denied entry and "free floats" to the liver,
where the sugar is stored in fat cells throughout the body via the
Common symptoms of resulting energy starvation include irritability, shakiness,
tiredness, intense cravings, confusion and headaches. As high
insulin levels continue, glucose gets trapped in the blood
stream and can bring on pre- and type 2 diabetes.
Pre-diabetics, who have blood sugar levels higher than normal
but not yet in the range of type 2 diabetes, can reverse their
condition with a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise.
Type 2 diabetes can develop if you neglect the symptoms of pre-diabetes.
There is currently no accepted blood test to determine
definitively whether you are carb-addicted. Fasting insulin
levels do not necessarily predict how your body will react after
eating carbohydrate-rich foods and glucose tolerance tests use
highly sweetened drinks that are not the equivalent of typical
But if you are overweight or obese, there is a good chance you
are carbohydrate or gluten-addicted. However, it's not
necessarily true that you over-eat, just that you are trapped in
the bad habit of eating the wrong diet i.e. carb or gluten- rich
food, while leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Changing those habits is a key factor in the Insulite System's
approach to improved health through weight loss via a balanced
nutritious diet, regular exercise and ongoing support.
A crucial aim is to address the impact that food makes on neuro-transmitters
in the brain. By changing your lifestyle and "re-training" the
way your brain perceives food, you can reverse Insulin
Resistance and achieve lasting weight loss and a greater sense
of well-being in ways that may not have occurred to you.
Click here to read
How Excess Weight and Obesity are Diagnosed