Are You Craving “Fat-sugar?”
Let’s say I were to hand you a slice of rich, creamy strawberry cheesecake and a bowl of strawberry jelly, but you could only choose just one
Which one would it be?
If you’re like many people who struggle with weight, binge eating, emotional eating and “food addiction” I’ll bet you chose the cheesecake.
When I was at the height of my own B.E.D, there was no way you could get me to eat jelly, boiled sweets or other straight sugary treats. Sure, I craved sugar hard, but it had to be packaged in a rich creamy, cakey way.
Even today, if I’m triggered in anyway – it’ll typically be sugar in this form – especially cronuts! Mmmm croooooonuuuuts.
Now research is just beginning to show us there’s actually a reason for it!
You may have seen the BBC documentary that followed two identical twin brothers on a diet experiment. One twin followed a very low fat diet and the other a very low carb diet.
In the documentary there was another study featured by Paul Kenny of The Scripps Research Institute. This study really puts a sweet spin on our
Food that makes you go NOM!
Kenny’s research demonstrated that at a ratio of approximately 50/50 fat to sugar created an override to the natural hormones that regulate food intake. This bliss point seemed to promote greater compulsive eating than just sugar or fat on it’s own.
What is this bliss point?
Every day, throughout the world, hoards of white-coated lab dudes and dudettes are coming up with the optimal ratio of sugar to fat to sodium for processed foods. From icecream to snack bars, frozen waffles to chocolate milk.
If you’re in New Zealand, you’ll no doubt remember the Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Milk stampede. For those who don’t know – The entire country basically came to a stand still over this product.
I will admit it had a TOTALLY different feel to other chocolate milks, and had I not got a sore gut from it, I may have treated myself again.
That’s bliss point at work.
Now, what sugar and fat do the brain is stimulate the release of dopamine and tickle our opioid receptors. The more ‘perfect’ the bliss point, the greater the stimulation on the brain.
Dopamine is our reward chemical. It makes you feel good, and it also makes you seek out MORE of the thing that made you feel good in the future. It is one of the main chemicals associated in addiction.
And no, food is not addictive – it’s how YOUR brain is dealing with these dopamine highs and lows, and life in general which creates addiction. You can get the same dopamine spikes just by winning a poker hand if you’re that way inclined and you can have these same dopamine lows just by living a life without joy and connection.
Eating a piece of fruit instead of cheesecake is like telling a heroin addict to just smoke a small bong.
Once you’re stuck in a cycle of really ramping up those feel good hormones with the perfect 50/50 combo’s, nothing else really cuts the mustard any more – even if it does have copious amounts of sugar in it!
Bliss can make us gain weight
Paul Kenny’s research demonstrated that weight gain in his rats was far more rapid in the 50/50 foods than in the standalone high sugar or high fat foods. In fact, he found that there wasn’t really any weight gain at all!
But it’s ok - you can overcome this!
The overall goal is to arrive back at a healthy lifestyle with minimal resistance and rebounding. We do this by dealing with the mental / emotional / biochemical and nutritional triggers that lead us towards dysfunctional eating. Once we arrive back at that space where we can just eat healthy food without losing our shit then we are free from binge eating, emotional eating and weight issues
Four Simple Steps To Start Removing the ‘Fat-Sugar’ From Your Diet For Weight Loss.
- Base your diet around a good carbs, protein and fats and skip the latest #trending diets. This allows your body to get as many vitamins and minerals as possible, along with essential amino acids which build healthy brain chemicals.
- Seek help for any mental/emotional reasons why you might be medicating with dopamine boosting food combinations. Life Coaching, Counseling or Psychology can assist greatly. I work with Lifestyle & Mindset Coaching to assist my clients.
- Reduce your 50/50 combo foods. Allow your brain chemicals to chill out and come back to a new normal. If you’re craving chocolate milk, try just some raw cacao powder, mixed with trim milk and a little stevia / coconut sugar or erythritol to sweeten (fat free choc milk). If having a high fat meal, keep it low carb. Or if having a high carb meal, keep it low fat.
- Be wary of paleo cakes and slices. These still contain our dreaded 50/50 combo. Yes they are higher in vitamins and minerals, but they still over stimulate the brain chemicals we’re trying to get under control. By all means have a sensible treat, and I would definitely choose a paleo ‘fat-sugar’ as a treat any day!