Do You Believe Foods Change Your Brain?
By Joan Kent, PhD
Ever feel you should change your nutrition but slam on the brakes because you're afraid to try?
People have a misconception that changing nutrition is hard because it means deprivation and taking away the good stuff.
But we also hear this common myth: Everything is okay in moderation. People say it all the time and think they're saying something clever.
Not everyone can eat certain foods in moderation. In fact, some folks become addicted to particular foods.
Sure, not everyone believes food addictions exist, but they're wrong. They're the ones who believe everything's okay in moderation. They're wrong about that, too.
Let's Look at a Few Facts
• Certain foods are more addictive due to their effects on brain chemistry.
In my experience, those who deny that foods can be addictive usually don't know much about how foods affect brain chem.
• Certain people are more susceptible to food addictions because of their genetics.
Folks who deny that someone can become addicted to foods usually don't know much about the genetics of addiction.
• Someone who's susceptible to addiction may become addicted to foods that affect the brain addictively.
Well, duh. Yet you'd be surprised at the pushback I get on this logical flow.
Saint Augustine said, "To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation."
I don't even think the issue is 'perfect' moderation. I just know, for some people, total abstinence is easier than even attempting moderation because one taste of an addictive food can trigger a cascade of brain responses that increase appetite and increase desire for more of that addictive food.
Buddhist wisdom recommends 'Everything in moderation, including moderation.'
Moderation is absolutely NOT a solution for someone with addiction susceptibility. How many recovering alcoholics do you know who drink in moderation? Terrible idea.
A Mistake with Huge Consequences
Anyway. I've noticed that the people who say, "Everything in moderation," are the same ones who don't believe food addictions exist.
Probably because they are not susceptible to food addiction, sugar addiction, or any other kind of addiction. So what do they know?
I really mean that. What do they know?
I once tried to start a nutrition project with a registered dietitian who didn't believe in food addiction – and certainly not sugar addiction. He really thought "addiction" to sugar meant liking it. You know, the way his wife liked crunchy, salty snacks.
Good thing we were on the phone so he couldn't see me rolling my eyes.
How could his food recommendations work for a sugar addict or any food addict? Yes, he might get his clients to shrink their portions without changing their foods. But even if they lost weight, they'd probably regain it – and more.
What Can You Do Instead?
Believe that foods have psychoactive effects ... because they do. Use those effects to help.
• They can help decrease appetite.
• They can shift food preferences toward healthier foods.
• They can change the hormonal effects of meals and help with weight loss.
• They can shift moods and make them better.
• They can help stop cravings.
You can make great changes by adding foods that change brain chemistry for the better. You can keep adding in good stuff until things have changed so much that subbing for a trouble food isn't a big deal anymore.
If you'd like to see how easy this is, perfect. That's what I do. Just visit www.LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free Empowered Eating Consult. Discover how small changes can bring fantastic results.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood, and Transform Your Health.