Long before I started the Zero Carb Diet I was aware of how addictive carbohydrates are. I am a sugar addict, and have been since at least my very early teens. Every diet I have ever tried would always end with a carb binge and those feelings of guilt. Even talking about it, I have that feeling in my stomach, a strange want that I can not quite describe. Its like a niggle at the back of my mind asking for sugar.
Sugar has the same response on the brain pleasure centre as cocaine and Heroin. We have all been victims of the sugar rush after a binge on sweets or sugary treats. Then the horrible crash that follows that leaves us feeling miserable and craving more of the white stuff! When sugar gives our brains the same signals as opioids how can we not end up addicted to it?
Food is designed to nourish our bodies, give us building blocks to repair damaged cells and to give us energy. It is not the role of food to make us feel happy or give us that rush we get from sugar. It is not meant to trigger our pleasure centre in our brain like heroin. That should be the first sign that eating sugar in the quantity we do is wrong. Mood altering drugs are not food, and food is not mood altering!
The difficulty in any way of eating is not what you are eating, it’s the lack withdrawal of the drug that controls you. Sugar. When you start a diet like the zero carb diet, you are essentially going cold turkey with your sugar addiction. Its not easy, its hard work to not cave in. But as they say ‘fore warned is fore armed’ – Now you know you are addicted to the sugar, you know the reason you are craving that cake is not because you have only eaten meat, its because your body is crying out for the sugar hit… Thankfully the addiction does not last too long. Most find after just 3 or 4 days they are over the initial effects of sugar withdrawal. But for a long time, you will suffer the mental cravings that memory of what sugar did for you.
After smoking almost 30 cigarettes a day I quit smoking cold turkey. It wasn’t easy but I did it and after smoking for over 15 years I was well and truly addicted. When I cut the carbohydrates out of my diet I suddenly felt like I wanted to smoke. I couldn’t understand why this was. Then I suddenly realised, I wasn’t craving cigarettes, I was experiencing the same feelings quitting sugar as I did when I quit smoking. I was surprised to realise that this was sugar withdrawal and it was as strong as the withdrawal of nicotine.
Another thing with having a high sugar diet, is that it effects your taste buds. You become desensitised to the taste of sugar. It dulls your taste. After only a week or so with no carbs, you will see how sweet our food really is. I was a big fan of diet coke, I drank it every day. After just 2 weeks of no carbs I had my first diet coke. I sent it back to the bar twice complaining they have given me normal full sugar coke and not diet coke. In the end a friend tasted my drink and confirmed it was indeed diet coke. It was so disgustingly sweet I could have sworn it full sugar coke.
So when you start a Zero Carb diet it is important you avoid anything sweet. Nothing with the addictive sugar and nothing with the sense confusing sweeteners. They will only drag out your addiction to the sweetness longer and make it harder to quit.
We need to learn the real signals that our body gives us when we are hungry or thirsty. We have supplied our bodies poisons and chemicals for so long that it messes with the natural signals. You need to learn to listen to those again. Anything sweet will hinder your progress with this. Even sweeteners will produce an insulin response which messes with your true hunger signals.