Food Addiction: Could It Explain Why 70 Percent Of America Is Fat?

JANUARY 20, 2014 | VOL 19

Food Addiction: Could It Explain Why 70 Percent of America Is Fat?

OUR GOVERNMENT AND FOOD INDUSTRY both encourage more “personal responsibility” when it comes to battling the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. They say people should exercise more self-control, make better choices, avoid over-eating, and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed food.

We are lead to believe there is no good food or bad food—that it’s all a matter of balance. This sounds good in theory, except for one thing …

New discoveries in science prove that industrial processed, sugar-, fat-, and salt-laden food—food that is made in plant, rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say—is biologically addictive.

Imagine a foot high pile of broccoli, or a giant bowl of apple slices. Do you know anyone who would binge on broccoli or apples? On the other hand, imagine a mountain of potato chips, a whole bag of cookies, or a pint of ice cream.

Those are easy to imagine vanishing in an unconscious, reptilian brain eating frenzy. Broccoli is not addictive, but cookies, chips, or soda absolutely can become addictive drugs.

The “just say no” approach to drug addiction hasn’t fared very well. It won’t work for our industrial food addiction either. Tell a cocaine or heroin addict or an alcoholic to “just say no” after that first snort, shot, or drink. It’s not that simple. There are specific biological mechanisms that drive addictive behavior.

Nobody chooses to be a heroin addict, cokehead, or drunk. Nobody chooses to be fat either. The behaviors arise out of primitive neurochemical reward centers in the brain that override normal willpower and overwhelm our ordinary biological signals that control hunger.

Consider:

  • Why do cigarette smokers continue to smoke even though they know smoking will give them cancer and heart disease?
  • Why do less than 20 percent of alcoholics successfully quit drinking?
  • Why do most addicts continue to use cocaine and heroin despite their lives being destroyed?
  • Why does quitting caffeine lead to irritability and headaches?

It is because these substances are all biologically addictive.

Why is it so hard for obese people to lose weight despite the social stigma and health consequences such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer even though they have an intense desire to lose weight? It is not because they WANT to be fat. It is because certain types of food are addictive.

Food made with sugar, fat, and salt can be addictive. Especially when combined in secret ways the food industry will not share or make public. We are biologically wired to crave these foods and eat as much of them as possible.

We all know about cravings, but what does the science tell us about food and addiction and what are the legal and policy implications if certain food are, in fact, addictive?

The Science and Nature of Food Addiction

Let’s examine the research and the similarities between high-sugar, energy-dense, fatty and salty processed  junk food and cocaine, heroin, and nicotine. We’ll start by reviewing the diagnostic criteria for substance dependence or addiction found in the bible of psychiatric diagnosis—the DSM-IV and look at how that relates to food addiction.

  • Substance is taken in a larger amount and for a longer period than—a classic symptom in people who habitually overeat.
  • Persistent desire or repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit—consider the repeated attempts at diet so many overweight people go through.
  • Much time/activity is spent to obtain, use, or recover—those repeated attempts to lose weight take time.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced—I see this in many patients who are overweight or obese.
  • Use continues despite knowledge of adverse consequences (e.g. failure to fulfill role obligation, use when physically hazardous)—anyone who is sick and fat wants to lose weight, but without help few are capable of making the dietary changes that would lead to this outcome.
  • Tolerance (marked increase in amount, marked decrease in effect)—in other words you have to keep eating more and more just to feel “normal” or not experience withdrawal.
  • Characteristic withdrawal symptoms; substance taken to relieve withdrawal—many people undergo a “healing crisis” that has many of the same symptoms as withdrawal when removing certain foods from their diet.

Few of us are free from this addictive pattern. If you examine your own behavior and relationship to sugar, in particular, you will likely find that your behavior around sugar and the biological effects of over-consumption of sugar match up perfectly. Many of the criteria above are likely to apply to you.

We blame the fat person. But how can we blame a two-year-old for being fat? How much choice do they have?

Researchers from Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity validated a “food addiction” scale.(i) Here are a few of the points on the scale that are used to determine if you have a food addiction. Does any of this sound familiar? If it does you may be an “industrial food addict.”

  1. I find that when I start eating certain foods, I end up eating much more than I had planned.
  2. Not eating certain types of food or cutting down on certain types of food is something I worry about.
  3. I spend a lot of time feeling sluggish or lethargic from overeating.
  4. There have been times when I consumed certain foods so often or in such large quantities that I spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating instead of working, spending time with my family or friends, or engaging in other important activities or recreational activities I enjoy.
  5. I kept consuming the same types of food or the same amount of food even though I was having emotional and/or physical problems.
  6. Over time, I have found that I need to eat more and more to get the feeling I want, such as reduced negative emotions or increased pleasure.
  7. I have had withdrawal symptoms when I cut down or stopped eating certain foods (please do NOT include withdrawal symptoms caused by cutting down on caffeinated beverages such as soda pop, coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.). For example: Developing physical symptoms, feeling agitated, or feeling anxious.
  8. My behavior with respect to food and eating causes significant distress.
  9. I experience significant problems in my ability to function effectively (daily routine, job/school, social activities, family activities, health difficulties) because of food and eating.

Based on these criteria and others many of us, including most obese children, are “addicted” to industrial food.

Here are some of the scientific findings confirming that food can, indeed, be addictive:(ii)

  1. Sugar stimulates the brain’s reward centers through the neurotransmitter dopamine exactly like other addictive drugs.
  2. Brain imagining (PET scans) shows that high-sugar and high-fat foods work just like heroin, opium, or morphine in the brain.(iii)
  3. Brain imaging (PET scans) shows that obese people and drug addicts have lower numbers of dopamine receptors, making them more likely to crave things that boost dopamine.
  4. Foods high in fat and sweets stimulate the release of the body’s own opioids (chemicals like morphine) in the brain.
  5. Drugs we use to block the brain’s receptors for heroin and morphine (naltrexone) also reduce the consumption and preference for sweet, high-fat foods in both normal weight and obese binge eaters.
  6. People (and rats) develop a tolerance to sugar—they need more and more of the substance to satisfy themselves—just like they do for drugs of abuse like alcohol or heroin.
  7. Obese individuals continue to eat large amounts of unhealthy foods despite severe social and personal negative consequences, just like addicts or alcoholics.
  8. Animals and humans experience “withdrawal” when suddenly cut off from sugar, just like addicts detoxifying from drugs.
  9. Just like drugs, after an initial period of “enjoyment” of the food the user no longer consumes them to get high, but to feel normal.

Remember the movie Super Size Me, where Morgan Spurlock ate three super-sized meals from McDonald’s every day? What struck me about that film was not that he gained 30 pounds or that his cholesterol went up, or even that he got a fatty liver.

What was surprising was the portrait it painted of the addictive quality of the food he ate. At the beginning of the movie, when he ate his first super-sized meal, he threw it up, just like a teenager who drinks too much alcohol at his first party.

By the end of the movie, he only felt “well” when he ate that junk food. The rest of the time he felt depressed, exhausted, anxious, and irritable and lost his sex drive, just like an addict or smoker withdrawing from his drug. The food was clearly addictive.

The problems with food addiction are compound by the fact that food manufacturers refuse to release any internal data on how they put ingredients together to maximize consumption of their food products despite requests from researchers.

In his book, The End of Overeating, David Kessler, MD, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, describes the science of how food is made into drugs by the creation of hyper-palatable foods that leads to neuro-chemical addiction.

This binging leads to profound physiological consequences that drive up calorie consumption and lead to weight gain. In a Harvard Study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, overweight adolescents consumed an extra 500 calories a day when allowed to eat junk food as compared to days when they weren’t allowed to eat junk food.

They ate more because the food triggered cravings and addiction. Like an alcoholic after the first drink, once these kids started eating processed food full of the sugar, fat, and salt that triggered their brain’s reward centers, they couldn’t stop. They were like rats in a cage.(iv)

Stop and think about this for one minute. If you were to eat 500 more calories in a day, that would equal 182,500 calories a year. Let’s see … if you have to eat an extra 3,500 calories to gain one pound, that’s a yearly weight gain of 52 pounds!

If high-sugar, high-fat, calorie-rich, nutrient-poor, processed, fast, junk food is indeed, addictive, what does that mean? How should that influence our approach to obesity? What implications does it have for government policies and regulation? Are there legal implications? If we are allowing and even promoting addictive substances in our children’s diets, how should we handle that?

I can assure you, Big Food isn’t going to make any changes voluntarily. They would rather ignore this science. They have three mantras about food.

  1. It’s all about choice. Choosing what you eat is about personal responsibility. Government regulation controlling how you market food or what foods you can eat leads to a nanny state, food “fascists”, and interference with our civil liberties.
  2. There are no good foods and bad foods. It’s all about amount. So no specific foods can be blamed for the obesity epidemic.
  3. Focus on education about exercise not diet. As long as you burn off those calories, it shouldn’t matter what you eat.

Unfortunately, this is little more than propaganda from an industry interested in profit, not in nourishing the nation.

Do We Really Have a Choice About What We Eat?

The biggest sham in food industry strategy and government food policy is advocating and emphasizing individual choice and personal responsibility to solve our obesity and chronic disease epidemic. We are told if people just wouldn’t eat so much, exercised more, and took care of themselves, we would be fine.

We don’t need to change our policies or environment. We don’t want the government telling us what to do. We want free choice. But are your choices free, or is Big Food driving behavior through insidious marketing techniques?

The reality is that many people live in food deserts where they can’t buy an apple or carrot, or live in communities that have no sidewalks or where it is unsafe to be out walking. We blame the fat person. But how can we blame a two-year-old for being fat? How much choice do they have?

We live in a toxic food environment, a nutritional wasteland. School lunchrooms and vending machines overflow with junk food and “sports drinks”. Most of us don’t even know what we’re eating. Fifty percent of meals are eaten outside the home and most home cooked meals are simply microwavable industrial food.

Restaurants and chains provide no clear menu labeling. Did you know that a single order of Outback Steakhouse cheese fries is 2,900 calories or a Starbucks venti mocha latte is 508 calories?

Environmental factors (like advertising, lack of menu labeling, and others) and the addictive properties of “industrial food” when added together override our normal biological or psychological control mechanisms.

To pretend changing this is beyond the scope of government responsibility or that creating policy to help manage such environmental factors would lead to a “nanny state” is simply an excuse for Big Food to continue their unethical practices. Here are some ways we can change our food environment:

  • Build the real cost of industrial food into the price. Include its impact on health care costs and lost productivity
  • Subsidize the production of fruits and vegetables. Eighty percent of government subsidies presently go to soy and corn which are used to create much of the junk food we consume. We need to rethink subsidies and provide more for smaller farmers and a broader array of fruits and vegetables.
  • Incentivize supermarkets to open in poor communities. Poverty and obesity go hand in hand. One reason is the food deserts we see around the nation. Poor people have a right to high-quality food too. We need to create ways to provide it to them.
  • End food marketing to children. Fifty other countries worldwide have done this, why haven’t we?
  • Change the school lunchroom. The national school lunch program in its present form is a travesty. Unless we want the next generation to be fatter and sicker than we are, we need better nutrition education and better food in our schools.
  • Build community support programs with a new workforce of community health workers. These people would be able to support individuals in making better food choices.

We can alter the default conditions in the environment that foster and promote addictive behavior.(v) It’s simply a matter of public and political will. If we don’t, we will face an ongoing epidemic of obesity and illness across the nation.

For those with personal struggles with food addiction, remember it is not a moral failing or lack of willpower.  Here are five suggestions I offer my patients to help them break their food addictions.

1. Balance your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable:

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shake or nut butters.  Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
  • Have smaller meals throughout the day.  Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, or beans).
  • Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime.

2. Eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners and your cravings will go away: Go cold turkey. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners from your diet, as these can trigger cravings.

3. Determine if hidden food allergies are triggering your cravings: We often crave the very foods that we have a hidden allergy to. For a simple allergy elimination program, consider trying The UltraSimple Diet, or The UltraSimple Diet Challenge Home Study Coaching Program.

4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep: Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.

5. Optimize Your Nutrient Status: Craving Cutting Supplements

  • Optimize your vitamin D level: According to one study, when vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that helps turn off, your appetite, doesn’t work and people feel hungry all the time, no matter how much they eat.
  • Optimize omega 3’s: Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have also been associated with depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity.
  • Consider taking natural supplements for cravings control. Glutamine, tyrosine, and 5-HTP are amino acids that help reduce cravings. Stress reducing herbs such as rhodiola can help. Chromium balances blood sugar and can help take the edge off cravings. Glucomannan fiber is very helpful to reduce the spikes in sugar and insulin that drive cravings and hunger.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below–but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

And if you like this House Call, I encourage you to share it with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for the newsletter, and submit your questions, so that, next week, I may make a House Call to you.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD

References

(i) Gearhardt, A.N., Corbin, W.R., and K.D. 2009. Brownell. Preliminary validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Appetite. 52(2): 430–436.

(ii) Colantuoni, C., Schwenker, J., McCarthy, P., et al. 2001. Excessive sugar intake alters binding to dopamine and mu-opioid receptors in the brain. Neuroreport. 12(16): 3549–3552.

(iii) Volkow, N.D., Wang, G.J., Fowler, J.S., et al. 2002. “Nonhedonic” food motivation in humans involves dopamine in the dorsal striatum and methylphenidate amplifies this effect. Synapse. 44(3): 175–180.

(iv) Ebbeling CB, Sinclair KB, Pereira MA, Garcia-Lago E, Feldman HA, Ludwig DS. Compensation for energy intake from fast food among overweight and lean adolescents. JAMA. 2004 Jun 16;291(23):2828-2833.

(v) Brownell, K.D., Kersh, R., Ludwig. D.S., et al. 2010. Personal responsibility and obesity: A constructive approach to a controversial issue. Health Aff (Millwood). 29(3): 379–387.

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104 Responses to Food Addiction: Could It Explain Why 70 Percent Of America Is Fat?

  1. melody January 20, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I need to know how does one get motivated to loose weight. No matter what I do nothing is working, I’m 62 had open heart surg at the age of 45 and I’m 100 lbs overweight and wants to loose it but really not motivated to do it. My mind wants to but the body won’t. I also have high cholesterol and board line for Diabetes. I just started to go to a gym so I know thats a start I’m going 3 times a week, just walking right now, slow but walking. Can you please help.What should I be eating???? I know no breads thats very hard to do.

    • Karyn January 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi Melody – My advice Melody is join some sort of group in your area. Get connected to people that need you as much as you need them – because they do need you. I resisted joining, eating healthier, all that..but it was Arbonne that worked for me. I found people that really and truly cared about health more than losing weight and getting buff. All my best to you – take it one step at a time. Just posting here and asking was a great step!

    • Jen January 21, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

      Melody, perhaps working with a Health Coach would be beneficial for you. It will give you support and accountability and gentle guidance, which can really help. You may check out my website if you care to (www.beyondultimatehealth.com). There are contact forms there if interested. All the best, Coach Jen

    • Darlene January 21, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

      Melody, my heart goes out to you and your struggle. I am 62 years old also. I am not overweight but I do have some struggles of my own with food. It sounds like you would benefit from working with a nutritionist to get a handle on eating healthy, portion control, etc. Then, go back to your gym and talk to someone about working with a trainer to get the right kind of exercise. A good trainer should be personable, motivating and have an understanding of your general health. If you find you don’t like one ask to work with someone else. You took the first step by joining so continue your 3 times a week (walking is great!). Peruse the information on Dr. Hymen’s website as well. Knowledge is power so read, read, read. You can do it. Good Luck.

    • Hi Melody,
      I would suggest you get some support with a skilled and knowledgeable health coach or nutrition consultant, someone that is going to support you through your weight loss. There are some great people out there that want to help you succeed. I also really LOVE Dr. Hyman’s Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook and suggest it all the time to my clients, so that might also be a good place to start. So glad you have made the first steps toward getting back your health by walking 3 times week! That’s fantastic! I also recommend setting up non-food incentives as you reach smaller goals to give you encouragement along the way. Best wishes to you on your health journey!

    • glenda January 21, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      I know from experience that you need to focus on your health rather than your weight. Try cutting out ALL processed food……..this may take a while and you need to do it slowly. Start introducing more fresh fruits and vegetables to replace some of the processed food. I have had a weight problem all my life (almost 60 now) and I started researching for a young friend with cancer………I cut out all processed food – cut out wheat, dairy, sugar – cut down on meat – practically eat none now. Started juicing and green smoothies every day and the weight fell off. I stopped focusing on weight and focused on health. I have become a “high raw foodist” but still enjoy a little bit of cooked food and I do eat seafood. I now have more energy and feel fantastic – I look better than I did at 20 except for the wrinkles…….LOL Give it a go – you have nothing to lose except excess weight and bad health – so much to gain in energy and health – not to mention a new slim you.

    • Lisa January 21, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

      The doctor is right about cutting out sugar. For me it has been surprisingly easy. Not just sugar from candy and cookies, but the high fructose corn syrup found in so many products.

      Also, cutting out gluten can also help you keep cravings at bay. The key is to plan what you’re going to be eating for every meal. This sounds difficult, but once you get into a habit, you have a guide. I purchased a new recipe card box and for each new recipe that I try and enjoy, I write it out on a card and put it into my box so that I always have a selection of foods that I like.

      Also, Vitamin D and Omega 3 supplements really do help balance my blood sugar levels. I find that around 10:00 a.m. I am not getting the shakes from being hungry quite so much and always plan to have a snack prior to lunch, such as fruit. When you don’t have the shakes and feeling of weakness, you make better decisions such as a good, healthy lunch.

      I’ve tried about every diet out there but the one that works best for me is high protein, good natural fats and no sugar, except for fruit.

      All the best to you!

    • Dave January 21, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

      Melody, Although going to the gym is good, the major way to get back to your normal weight and get the other chronic ailments under control is to consume mass quantities of vegetables, about 9 cups a day (3 dinner plates). Most people including myself don’t do this directly, we juice. When I say juice, I mean vegetable juice. Buy a masticating one, not a centrifical one. Here’s a basic recipe: a liquid vegetable, like cucumber or celery; a green leafy vegetable, like kale or spinach; a citrus, like lemon or lime; a fruit, as low glycemic as possible, pineapples however aid in digestion only 1/2 cup or one medium, a root vegetable, beet (1/4) or 1 medium carrot and herbs, cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and helps replace insulin receptors, ginger, also an antioxidant (as all herbs) and helps thin the blood. Depending on your particular tolerance starting on a cleanse for 3, 7. 10, or even 21 days is plausible. Please consult your medical professional before venturing forth on a cleanse. There are Holistic Nutritionist around also, so it may be worth it to take their advice. If they don’t know about juice cleansing, then they aren’t worth their salt. After you cleanse your sugar craving will start to diminish. There are some breads that are okay to eat, such as Ekzekial only 1/2 slice, for fats eat avocado or coconut milks or oils, and vary your protein, 3 oz. animal or 6 oz. vegetable. Eat organic whenever possible. Hope this helps!

    • Cher January 22, 2014 at 12:59 am #

      Melody…good for you for wanting to make a change! Start by making the best choices you can each day. If you eat out just tell yourself I’m going to look for the healthiest choice on the menu. Another tip…read, read, read everything you can get your hands on that support your new lifestyle. (I read everything by Mark Hyman, MD..love him!) magazines about fitness, yoga & health it will motivate you start moving.
      Best of everything to you!

    • Gail January 22, 2014 at 1:00 am #

      I’m a retired RN, 69yrs of age.
      Your article is so encouraging and supportive of my yet again attempt to loose
      15 lbs again. I’m wanting my golden years to be really golden.
      This time around I had some food sensitivities testing done, Sensitive to Tyramine, sodium sulfite,benzoic acid and apples to list a few. (MRT testing)
      I’m off of the above foods, gluten,dairy, sugar and coffee now. Feel much better and no more muscle aches after working out.
      Had some gene testing done. It indicated I’m unable to retain Vit D3 and
      Vit B12+ Folate. Increased the doses of these supplements and more energy.
      Your book makes so much sense that I’m reading it thru getting prepared and looking forward to starting the diet plan.
      Keep the blogs coming. You’re my support team.
      Thanks so much.

    • Val January 22, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      I think http://www.sparkpeople.com would be good for you. (it’s free)

    • Brenda January 22, 2014 at 9:53 am #

      Melody, I understand how you feel.. I have struggled with weight issues all my life. I tried every diet out there until I came across the 17 Day Diet a couple of years ago. It was the best motivator for me because I started losing weight rapidly from the first day.

      I would highly recommend it because it’s so easy to follow. There’s no need to journal or count calories. It has become a way of life for both my husband and I. We have had a combined weight loss of over 70 pounds. My husband had high cholesterol and heart issues and I was pre-diabetic. All of our health concerns have since vanished and my husband is now completely off all of his medications.

      We never realized how unhealthy we were eating until we read through the book. The Blood Sugar Solution book is very similar as both concepts encourage fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. The 17 Day Diet Cookbook will also be helpful for a great variety of healthy recipes. Once you start eating healthy and the pounds drop off quickly, you will be motivated to continue.

      After two years of our initial weight loss, my husband and I continue to follow the plan whenever we put on a few extra pounds. I am not getting paid to promote these books; we are just living proof that the diet works. I hate to use the word “diet”.. It’s not really a diet, but a lifestyle change.

      If your mind is ready, the rest will follow. You’re off to a great start by walking and going to the gym! Your motivator should be your health concerns. If you keep up with your lifestyle, you will only feel worse as time goes on. Do something NOW before it’s too late!

      Stay positive, push yourself, believe you can do it and you will succeed.

    • Barb January 22, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      Excellent article! So many truths to this, it’s scary. This is a big part of why, as a nurse, and a student for IIN, I am excited to be able to help others, like the lady above, find their starting point and support them to rid the junk, not for today, but for good!!
      Thank you for writing this!

    • Neal Springer January 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

      The above news is vital to pass on. Healthy solutions do exist Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps the brain not only feel pleasure but gets the body motivated. Using the advise above to stabilize blood sugar and adding Dopatone active from Apex Energetics may be helpful to support initiative. The Repair and Clear diet and program has 3 steps to reduce inflammation and repair leaky gut on step 2 and support the liver on step 3. These steps include removing foods and taking supportive supplements for the restoration of health that aligns with the article here.

    • Wendy January 22, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      I got motivated by wanting better for myself, wanting more energy, desire to stop my mood swings that were affecting my children and wonderful husband, the desire to live a life without so much pain everywhere in my body and my soul, all that motivated me to do better for myself and also by educating yourself you will know what choices to make.
      I also understand very well that it took years for me to gain all this weigh so is going to take years to get it back down so I don’t think of the big picture I think of five pounds at it time. I lost 46 pounds so far and have 30 more to go and I feel amazing but I know I have more to go. Good luck

    • Josh January 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Melody, here are some ideas I’ve picked up over the last decade, that work specifically for me.

      Exercise:
      It’s easier to regularly exercise when it is enjoyable and varied. Gym workouts are fine. If you like walking, maybe you’d also like walking an easy hiking trail. Having company, human or otherwise, can add to the fun.
      Yoga is amazing and helps in too many ways to mention. It can be modified to suit individual needs. Start with a beginner class.
      Keep in mind all of the benefits of exercise. Better sleep, more energy, mental stability.

      Food:
      I personally try to focus on proteins and veggies. Grains are secondary and I try to make them whole grains. Steel cut oats, quinoa.
      I try to get the most nutrition per calorie. At the bottom of a nutrition label, under protein, it shows vitamins and minerals. I like a nice long list there, especially if the nutrition is natural.

      Like most learning experiences it’s the kind of thing that starts small, but with a little persistence and willingness to learn new things, it can become a lifestyle.

    • Tammi January 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      Yes, bread is a hard thing to give up. Have you considered Ezekiel Breac (found in the freezer section of your supermarket). It is low glycemic, but could fill that bread longing you are after. Also, real sourdough bread is also lower glycemic.

      Bottomline, you will have to make adjustments. You can’t go on doing the same thing and expect different results.

      Congratulations on starting an exercise routine. I hope you get hooked on moving your body. That’s what it is made for.

      Just remember that you need to watch both diet and exercise. It is hard to exercise off excess daily calories!

    • Ruth Jacobs January 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

      Have you tries The Blood Sugar Solution Diet? It really is helping me a lot and is written for people with pre-diabetes as well as people like my husband and I who have diabetes. The first cookbook Dr. Hyman wrote, Ultrametabolism, is great as well. That cookbook got me to realize that there are lots of healthy foods that taste great. Without ever counting calories these books and cookbooks allowed me to lose over 40 pounds and my husband lost over 60 pounds. When we lost all the weight we did sometimes include bread–experimenting with some made from sprouted grains. Eventually we each decided to avoid wheat and gluten because we feel better this way. There are some good gluten free breads made for the times we choose to have them. I was able to get off of insulin and became more physically active. I encourage you to try some of the ideas suggested in these books. The Ultra Simple Diet helps you start a weight loss program and begin to identify what foods may not be making you feel good. We are now going further into a paleo direction, very similar approach though we have to be aware of the carb content of the foods. My husband learned that he feels better avoiding all legumes.

    • Candace January 23, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

      Hi Melody – I have found that positive reinforcement works better for motivation than negative reinforcement. Having said that…..motivation is a funny thing….if all your health issues is not motivation enough to make a lifestyle change perhaps tying your motivation to something positive like being around and healthy for your family and so you do not feel bad all the time? I would also suggest seeing a therapist for a little while to help you understand your physiological tie to food and eating. Walking is fantastic, no matter how slow. Try to add time to your walks each week to build up to walking longer times. What you are eating is the biggest factor to what your body chemistry does and thus what you look and feel like. You will need to cut out processed carbs (including bread, pasta, chips etc.), it may be difficult at first but it is doable. I can hear the frustration in your message, however if you want something bad enough you can and will do it. Not a lot of fruit because of the sugar content and no candy, cookie, sugar etc. I would suggest a Paleo way of eating for sure. It has helped me tremendously. The basics are: meats, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds. If the food can be found in nature, God made, not man made eat it. Stay way from boxes, bag, and cans. Eat food that has a mother, came off a tree, or out of the ground. You may not be perfect all the time, if you mess up just start back up right away. If you need help, find it and take action. You are never too old or too sick to turn it around for yourself. Best wishes to you.

    • Ilene Gallo January 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      I decided to not focus on weight loss, but to change my food. I let myself eat as much as I wanted as long as it was low-glycemic index veggies. In the morning I have a protein shake with berries. For lunch I eat salad with cucumber, tomatoes, spinach or kale, a hard boiled egg, and a little avocado. I did have cravings at first, but because I could eat all of the veggies I wanted, I didn’t feel deprived. Without wheat, sugar, bad fats, processed carbs, my body released the weight, and best of all, my diabetes was regulated without meds. That is how I was able to do it–took the focus off weight loss and changed my food. Then, I got the result I wanted. Good luck to you.

    • Isabelle January 24, 2014 at 3:42 am #

      You don’t have to wait for motivation – you want to be healthy right? Not just loose weight – then just do it. Read the books he wrote and work on lowering your sugar intake. Educate yourself. it sounds like you didn’t even read his article.

    • Paula January 24, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Check out http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/ – she has meal plans and consultations she provides via phone and email. She also publishes lots of stuff on her blog and facebook pages and has a number of books and cookbooks which are great. The hardest thing to get motivated was to get through the first 7 days. It got easier after that. I’ve been losing and regaining weight since I was 21 (I’m 42). I’ve lost 65lbs this year without regaining following the advice of Maria, Wheat belly Book, Dietdoctor.com (free meal planning help), and Mercola.com – plus reading things like this. I still have a long way to go and recently slipped back into the sugar trap but am working my way back out and feel bloated and sore (arthritis in ankles from an old injury).I don’t like feeling this way.

      Only you can make yourself motivated – you can’t do it for anyone else. You have to want it. I eat no wheat/grains and my family eats very few. We try to stay away from sugar but with kids it can be hard. The hardest part was getting rid of bread, pasta, etc. The first week was tough but it got easier as my body felt better. Now it was pure hell the first week as my body had strong withdrawals. I didn’t exercise at all for the first 6 months and lost over 40 during that time. I also got rid of my Diet Coke addiction, which wasn’t easy. Switched to unsweetened tea with sparkling water, then just to unsweetened iced tea with lemon. I drink over 132 ounces of water a day. That helps a ton!

      Good Luck! With the right nutrition advice you can do it!

  2. Casey January 20, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Thank you for making the connection between food addiction and junk food marketing to children. We cannot continue to let our schools be used to market junk food to students: http://kyhealthykids.com/2014/01/17/will-the-pta-champion-ending-junk-food-marketing-in-schools/

  3. Andrea Baker January 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    How healthy are the veggie products in the form of meats such as veggie pattys, bacon, sausage, chicken and the like?

  4. Rachel January 21, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    You need support. You can’t do it alone! People have had alot of success at Overeaters Anonymous… You need to find out what works for you but you have to decide that nothing can get in the way of your health being your number one priority. That must be your mantra! To be in the now, always, what can you do to maximize results? It may have to be with mindfulness for your lifestyle always. Join support groups online, see a nutritionist, but focus on progress, not perfection. If you have a baf fall, just get up, don’t just give up. Guilt and shame accomplish nothing. Focus on what you want in the now. Focus on why you overeat, and try to avoid the triggers. Chromium and protein balance your sugar and cravings, but go for a fruit if you need a sweet. Have a green smoothie with berries and some nuts in the morning for energy. I like the nutribullet. Keep crap out of your house, and nuts and apples handy in your car so you don’t stop somewhere. Make extra food when you are not busy so you have it ready for when you are. Have cut up veggies with hummus ready to go.
    That’s my tip for today!

  5. Sirisha Brennan January 21, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,
    I have been following your work since 2008. At that time you were offering the ultranourish diet through your website. I took part in the meal delivery service for four weeks, and it changed my life forever. I lost 11 pounds, gained energy and most importantly, got back in touch with a deep sense of well-being that I hadn’t felt since I was a high school athlete. Since then I have transformed the way that I eat, favoring fresh a plant based fresh and unprocessed diet. The interesting thing is, although I am deeply aware of how food affects me physically, I Still fall prey to addictive overeating at times, specifically at points of uncertainty and stress. I am 36 years old, and a physician. I am 23 weeks pregnant and have really tried to focus on healthy eating during the pregnancy. But there have been times that I end up with a junk food item in my hands, and I devour it without a second thought, but much regret a few hours later.
    What you are describing in this post is possibly the most important health advice I’ve heard you state. And I have heard you speak professionally as well as to the general public. The food industry is not going to change. It is our individual responsibility to work to change the addictive overeating behavior that is the most widespread health epidemic of our times. It is only if we as a population are able to break the habit, that we will see the collapse of this insidious profit at all cost driven industry. It is only when we no longer drive the supply of this “food” that we will see the manufacturers fail.
    I would like to add to your suggestions one more – Americans should explore ethnic food recipes which tend to be bursting with flavor, that more than makes up for the lack of sugar, salt and fat that drives disease.
    Thank you for continuing to champion health. I believe your message is changing lives. It certainly has changed mine.

  6. Kelly January 21, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Thank you…thank you…thank you…I feel validated and incredibly hopeful. By eliminating “addictive” food sources I will undoubtably be successful in my weight loss journey. It is said that when the student is ready the teacher appears…I had never heard of you, your work, or functional medicine a week ago. Within 12 hours of hearing from my doctor, ” Have you ever considered bariatric surgery?” I learned of you, and your work. I have since taken steps to work with a NT learn what foods are toxic for me, balance my body systems and move towards optimal health.

    Thank you for being a source of sanity and a voice of reason. You are saving lives!

  7. Skydivingblond January 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Find a partner!
    My whole life I have worked out and been conscientious about my physical well being. Over the last two years I became less motivated, more sedentary and subsequently, my body was not functioning properly. Unhappiness set in, followed by depression and lack of confidence. I needed a new strategy to deal with my lack of motivation! So, for the 1st time ever I joined an online group to help keep me accountable. After that, I then joined a gym with a friend so that we can plan “exercise dates”!
    I look better than I have in many years, but more importantly, I FEEL better. Also, and this is REALLY important… Spend less time with those people who do not support you- even if its your best buddy. Put a post-it note someplace (like the bathroom mirror) that says “I Love Me” so that you see it when you wake, and before ou toto sleep at night!
    Good luck 🙂

  8. Rachel January 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Oh yea, keep a food diary! Statistics show people lose more weight when they are conscious of what they are eating. If you can afford a personal trainer, if only for a few sessions, they can kick start you! Drink water between meals…

  9. Skydivingblond January 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    What resonated most in this particular article was that WANTING to change is simply not enough. I now spend a fair amount of time, as well as money, feeding my mind and body with information on how to choose the most healthful foods for my body. Even ‘organic’ isn’t enough anymore (just read up on the proteins found in wheat and other organic whole grains). It takes time, lots of energy and a strong commitment to oneself to figure out what foods work, and don’t work. I use elimination diets periodically to reset my body, but it sure is difficult. Sometimes I just want a bologna and cheese sandwich; so if I succumb to my urge, I have to work twice as hard to stay focused and say ‘no’ later- it’s just how my body (and apparently others) will react to ingesting more processed foods. Knowing how to do the right thing and doing are two different skills, so support systems (like diet or fitness groups) help keep me accountable to myself. Great article Dr. Hyman!

  10. Deanna May January 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    What a wealth of information! Can’t wait fort the next one!

  11. Sandy January 21, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Melody, I feel for you and I know how you feel. 18 months ago I was also borderline diabetic, 50 lbs overweight, extremely fatigued, with triglycerides and cholesterol inching higher and higher. I have carried these 50 lbs for more than 20 years. Once I started balancing my blood sugars, I felt better. If you don’t have a glucose monitor, go buy one and eat to get a good reading on your meter. You will soon find out what is good for you to eat and what causes your blood sugar to surge. During this health journey, I started reading books related to health, such as Blood Sugar Solution, Wheat Belly, Dr. Berstein’s Diabetic Solution, Bloodsugar 101, Grain Brain, Primal Body Primal Mind, and Clean Gut. Most were available at my local library. After reading Wheat Belly, I started eliminating wheat – first pasta, then bread, and so on until I was gluten free. My blood sugars stabilized even more and I felt better and better with more energy. I have been a carboholic most of my life and if someone had told me a year ago, I would be wheat free, I wouldn’t have believed them! Today, wheat is no longer tempting, nor do I crave crackers, bread, pancakes, or cookies. Your tastebuds will wake up without wheat and there are many foods that taste better than you remember they do. There isn’t a quick fix, but you have made the first step in wanting to be healthier, and every journey starts with the first step. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I wish you the best on your health journey!

  12. larry January 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Given the poor health of America, i don’t think suggesting ultrasimple is a wise thing to do without a personal office visit by Dr. Hyman or a doctor like him. I really think he will agree. Please ask him. Otherwise this was a good article.

  13. Sheila King January 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Excellent article Dr. H! I am a staunch supporter of your dietary guidelines. Diet plays a HUGE role in the management of my fibromyalgia symptoms.
    Melody, congrats on your decision to join a gym. Practice gentle, restorative yoga every day – sign up for a class if you can! It is a virtual life-saver and will change your world. Cut out all processed and “white” foods – white flour, potatoes, rice, bread, and most grains. Eat quinoa. Eat healthy protein like eggs, chicken , turkey, lean beef, fish, LOTS of veggies, and make home-made chicken or turkey vegetable soup ALL the time. If you can stop eating sugar and all the junky carbs, your body will adjust quickly and the weight will melt off. You will maintain and develop lean muscle mass, esp if you add the yoga (or Pilates) into your exercise program. Walking is great. Stay committed and if you slip up, every day is a new one. It is important to eat healthy, nutrient dense food so that you are not hungry. Fats like avocado, coconut oil, almonds and walnuts are all good in moderate amounts and help you to feel satisfied. Good luck!
    Sheila

  14. Jan Staples January 21, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    Thank Dr. Hyman……I am new to this site and found your article very enlightening…..I now am seeing a quality chiropractor who has just been voted the Best Chiropractor in Waukesha, Wi …..he is with Max health and knows alot about nutrition and keeps telling me I need to remove sugar from my diet, as well as detox….I am using Hymalian Sea Salt, not a lot and am eating some Grass Fed Meats and Cheese from Beyond organics wiith Jordan Rubain’s company. I have been encountering a itchy rash which moves about in my body…..have been trying to find an answer for that…..I was suggested to try Apple Cider Vinegar as a diluted foot soak so will try that this evening.
    Blessings to you for helping to get people well.
    Jan

  15. Ann January 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Hi. I was 100 pounds overweight also. I’ve taken off 30 by simply eating no sugar, no fruit (for 2 months until the sugar cravings go totally away), no grains, no processed foods and no dairy. To give yourself a jump start, detox works well. That way your body can get rid of many of the toxins that end up in our body. It helps to reduce your craving for bread. Also, eating 5-6 small meals a day helps. There are some wonderful programs out there…like Dr. Hyman’s books, John Gabriel and a new book by Jonathan Bailor called The Calorie Myth. Reading the book. “The End of Overeating” by David Kessler really made me angry and started me down the path to not eating processed foods. As long as we keep eating them, we will always stay addicted! They are making money off you keeping you addicted while your health suffers. They do not care about you…only the money. If you do just one thing, do that!! Then you may find yourself more motivated once the addiction wears off and you can think clearly. Vitamin D3 will help keep you from becoming diabetic. Everyone has it in my family except me. I consume a minimum of 5000mg/day. You can take 8000mg/day but it is best to take it with vitamin K2. Also, keep walking because exercise with vitamin D3 has worked for me for years now. I hope it does you as well. Taking off the pounds will help also. Another things to consider is gluten sensitivity. That can keep you down in the dumps and lacking motivation. How is your thyroid? If you have hypothyroidism, don’t let them put you on synthetic drugs (which cause depression in many people…and then they give you drugs also for depression). Get Armour Thyroid instead. It was used safely for over 50 years before they came up with the synthetics. I hope this helps and I wish you the best!!

  16. Marge January 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    Hi Melody,
    I totally understand! I’m 61 and have always been very healthy and energetic, but I’m also 100 lbs overweight. I’ve been unable to walk due to back and hip pain for over a month. Fortunately its the holidays so I’ve been able to work around being an active real estate agent and my sole support. But today I’m still in pain – I can hardly walk and need to be out very actively working now, so I don’t have time to waste!
    I lost 45 lbs last year successfully, and it took going on a very strict diet plan with a local group. They had weekly weigh-ins, and that’s very motivating!
    I think that’s what you may be missing, is support and accountability, it can do wonders for motivation- you just can’t imagine until you’ve tried it.
    This week I’m going to join Weight Watchers because i know that going every week to weigh-in is very motivating for me, and something I need to stay on track. Maybe it would work for you too. It was also voted one of the easiest to follow this year, which is a plus for my busy schedule.
    Obviously at my age and condition, I need to get healthy and maintain my weight NOW, and I’m on track so far this year. I’m ready to join a group to help me get there – I hope you find what it takes to help you! it almost doesn’t matter as long as its healthy, just start! We don’t have any time to waste.
    good luck!
    Marge
    Vancouver, WA

  17. Eleanore Dunn January 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    I had the same thing happen after an antibiotic shot and I subsequently gained 60 poiunds in 20 months. That was back in 1983.. Biotic: of or pertaining to life. antibiotic: that which is against life. Probiotic: that witch supports life. I finaly have found the magic bullet that would release the weight and I am down 30 pounds. I am working on a Ph.D. in Holistic Healing and have discovered that all of disease is digestive failure. I have created a program that restores the balance in the digestive and immune systems and then the body heals itself.

    Let me know if you are interested.

  18. JM January 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Simply, I do need a health worker who can support me to make better choices. I love that idea!

  19. Zamira Benthall January 21, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    All the above makes total sense, but having given up sugar and all junk food, what starch can one eat . Veg and protein do not fill me up and i am 8 kilos overweight.

  20. Denise January 21, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Melody – I would suggest to you to review the website link Dr. Hyman gave in the above story, and buy his book. If you can’t afford to purchase his book, go to another web site of his: http://experiencelife.com/article/the-ultrasimple-slimdown/ where he gives an outline of the Ultra Simple Diet.

    To keep it simple, try not to eat anything bagged, boxed, or bottled (or canned.) Eat fresh everything, God made, not man made. Veggies, fruit, eggs, nuts – fresh lean meats. I personally add almond milk (no dairy) and rice (which generally is boxed or bagged.) Just try it for a week. It is how we ate, way back when – well, not even that long ago, in the 1800’s we grew and raised most of our food.

    Most of us still have to buy our groceries at the markets. However, about 80% of foods available have corn sugar or corn syrup in them. Seriously! Read the labels. Shop on the outer lanes of the market as much as possible for the fresh stuff. Go to the market 3 times a week instead of one (a change I made.) I also shop at an organic market, a little pricier, but not by much.

    Personally, I have difficulty giving up cheese. I choose to make that choice, so for me it is a treat, limited and rare. Giving up artificial sweeteners was a big one for me. I didn’t realize just how much I was consuming until I stopped it.

    But, to start, read Dr. Hyman’s book or try the link I gave above where he writes about the diet more.

    Good luck!

  21. Mary Beth January 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Melody I would suggest starting by just adding vegetables to your diet. Start small and increase the volume. Make changes such as substitute a fruit for a processed type of snack. You can do it one step at a time! Mary, Certified Health Coach

  22. carrie January 21, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    I’m 51 years old and have struggled with my weight my whole life. I have been a bunger and its a viscous cycle that I could not control. It is only within the last few years that I have discovered that it is possible to be ‘addicted’ to food. I had never considered it before…white flour and sugar might as well be called cocaine to my body. Dr Hyman is right on…

  23. Little Fox January 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Dear Melody,

    I’m 61 1/2 I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was angry and wanted to loose the weight. I’m a sugar baby and can’t seem to get off of sugar. Love bread, cake, cookies and everything else. But, I didn’t want to take any of the diabetic meds (I really think they lead to other problems). I started to work on “peak fitness” on my treadmill. I was more than shocked that after the first couple of days I really did feel better. I had more energy and wanted to do more. No, I still struggle with eating right (but, I have cut back). If I cut back and still allow myself to have some things like breads, or some sugar I feel like I can make it. I doubt that I’ll ever be perfect or the slim teenager I once was (don’t know if I really care). But, I do know I feel better and I allow myself a couple food here and there that I like. If I watch what I do all week then on Sunday I can have a treat. Somehow this works for me. The other thing I’ve found is the Wii and the exercise program(s) it keeps me interested and I tend to work out longer. Hope this helps wishing the very best!

  24. samuel chiu January 21, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    well presented. all industrially processed fake food has a cryptic code in it,i.e. S.O.S.

  25. Kathy January 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    I am a T2 diabetic who has successfully reduced my medications and got my weight down into a healthy range. I know what you mean when you ask, how do you get the motivation? Been there & done that! For me, I eliminated gluten and saw a dramatic, positive result within a few weeks! The best part is that my cravings for carbs, especially bread products, melted away along with the pounds. That was my motivation: feeling so much better and seeing the weight just melt away! The more positive results I experienced, the more motivated I became! I know its hard. I struggled for years unsuccessfully, watching my scale go up and down like a yoyo, but going gluten free was the beginning of success for me. Now I’m completely grain free and I don’t miss it at all. Good luck to you!

  26. Sarah Chapin January 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    Once again-insightful and actionable.
    As my friend Tory says in “The Shift” much of food is about honoring “Priorities not Preferences”.
    Over time, real and healthy food has become my preference and priority both. I know my taste patterns have changed.

    Your program works. Down 30, 30 more to go.

    Sarah

  27. Janice Morrison January 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    I have fought fat my whole life , roller coaster. I have been eating clean for almost 2weeks. I feel better already! I am hopeful that this is my new lifestyle . It takes planning , but so far is worth it. I’m not hungry because of the heathly snacks , I don’t miss sweets , which is always a struggle . I’m 53 and I def don’t want to be in a motorized wheelchair at walmart!

  28. R January 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    What about the paleo diet?

    • Whitey Bird January 22, 2014 at 12:17 am #

      no such thing as paleo….at least not according to what I believe about creation.

    • Mackie Ramsay, Ph.D. January 22, 2014 at 1:00 am #

      Thank you for your intelligent, and obviously well thought out ideas. How cruel to intentionally advertise so children become addicted and fat.

      • Mackie Ramsay, Ph.D. January 22, 2014 at 1:04 am #

        Thank you for your intelligent, and obviously well thought ideas. Let’s join the other 50 countries who make it illegal to advertise addictive food to children.

    • Dolores Woodrum January 22, 2014 at 5:32 am #

      THANK YOU for presenting such a clear and complete picture of the causes and cure for the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer that Americans are experiencing as a result of industrial greed and governmental complicity that have been growing worse in our nation for the past fifty years or so. People do have a choice to educate themselves and then implement changes; it’s simple but not easy—replace ALL processed food with whole natural foods, e.g., vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, real butter, avocado), and grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken and turkey, and wild-caught fish. It takes focus, determination and work, but it can be done. Your work is providing the truth people need, but after that it must be implemented. We can make the choice.

    • Neil Levin DC January 22, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      The Paleo diet would naturally accomplish all of the above as you are cutting out all processed and high glycemic foods. I put my nutrition oriented patients on a modified paleo diet and the ones who follow it get remarkable results.

  29. Normal Healthy January 21, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    Great info here!
    Thanks for all you’re doing to help people get healthy. It’s crazy how much we underestimate the power of food addictions and how much it affects our health.

    We also strive to provide information for good health, focusing on digestive care and autoimmune diseases. – http://www.normalhealthy.com

  30. billy o January 21, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Going to try the blood sugar solution feb 1st.I’ve been overweight for 20 yrs, I’m trusting and praying that your my answer, I thank God for you..God bless you

  31. Danielle January 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Thank you Dr. Hyman for this discussion! Your suggestions for getting food cravings under control really work. I have been fighting this battle for many years and have finally found information that is putting me on the right track. Simple steps like not eating for 3 hours before bed are really a huge factor along with eating enough nutritious food earlier in the day really do curb that desire to over eat. Thanks for these practical tips.

  32. Alison January 21, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    I am an RN and have been dealing with fibromyalgia for 25 years. I have researched diet and nutrition and I believe that an element of regaining health and balancing nutrition that has been ignored is the fact that our food supply is sterile and we have also stripped our normal bacterial flora by overdosing on antibiotics. To counteract this, we need to put good bacteria back into our bodies. This is done through eating organic, raw, non-pasteurised, fermented foods. The government needs to allow raw organic dairy products to be sold (including fresh milk- raw cheeses are available). Beer and wine need to be non pasteurized. I wish all you diet doctors would look into this. Its very important and you are ignoring it.

  33. Lori L. January 21, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    I was found to have thyroid disease (hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s disease) in 1995 and Hashi’s in 2008. From 1998 to 2012 I was not optimally treated for this disease and gained a large amount of weight during that time – far larger than I ever dreamed I would become. I was scolded by doctor’s (the many I sought for help with the disease) and was told countless times it was my fault I had gained all the weight – I don’t believe that fully – I know thyroid disease left untreated can cause you to gain weight and believe a large part of it came from not receiving the correct dosage of medication. In 2012 I sought out an internal medicine doctor that came highly recommended and specialized in thyroid disease and weight loss. I drove the 2 hours to see him and for the first time in 12 years – I finally found a doctor that listened to my problems and told me that he would get to the bottom of the issues I was experiencing. By that time I was diabetic, had hypertension, was vitamin D deficient, low on B12, had major issues with female hormones, I was reverse T3, and was found to be adrenal insufficient – the test came back nearly bottoming out for a score. I also was in need of losing weight. He had a new weight loss program his office was working with and not many of his patients had been on it and he asked if I would work at it? I said I was willing to do anything to lose weight. It was called the Better Body System/Yoli diet. I followed it faithfully for 2 months and I lost a total of 68 lbs. This program does not allow you to eat sugar or artificial sweetener, high fat meats or condiments, and was low on carbs (only certain days I could eat carbs). I have since come off the diet and the only thing I can say about it that I did not like that my constipation has been worse since stopping the diet, but I am thankful for the weight I lost without a lot of hard work and no exercising was necessary, but I did walk some on the program. It curbed me of the cravings for sweets and other fatty foods that I felt I was addicted to – it removed toxins built up in my body and I am thankful for that. There are so many things I just do not crave or desire to eat anymore and if I do, I eat in moderation. It helped get me on the right track for eating again. I am not saying this is right for everyone, but it worked for me. I was told many times in those 12 years I should have the gastric bypass surgery done and I refused to do that to my body – I personally know people who had that surgery done and many of them wish they had not and most have gained their weight back and some have further health problems that arose from having the surgery done. I just do not believe we should go messing with what God created! I truly agree with what Dr. Hyman has said above – I was eating processed foods and I had major cravings for foods – did not always give in to them, but I definitely craved certain foods to an addiction phase! I think it is important to eat foods from all food groups and the program I was on moderated all of that and let you know what you could and could not eat. I was addicted to Diet Pepsi prior to this program and it curbed me of that craving as well – I rarely drink it anymore. I drink a cup of coffee in the morning and pretty much water the rest of the day. I hated water before I went on this program – now I love it! I would like to lose more, but would like to see if I can do it on my own now that I have a formula to use! Thank you for this article Dr. Hyman – I enjoyed it very much!

  34. Jackie Anderson January 21, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    As a nurse of 26 years I am months away from completing my MSN toward FNP through Georgetown University. I am an avid exerciser, healthy fresh eater and have not worked for pay in 2 years. I have volunteered with Girls on the Run and trained my 5 kids to choose health.
    My thesis is on my local county Latino adolescent obesity. There are many programs but no real significant changes and no jobs directed toward functional medicine or youth.
    At a loss, armed with information and population need but no venue to launch into.
    People have to be willing to take upstream steps.
    Perhaps I will publish and get started.

  35. Cindy January 22, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    About 3 yes ago, I tried the UltraMetabolism plan this doctor provided in one of his books. It was definitely not what I learned in school about how to eat. Nor did I learn how to eat to have good health as a child. Ramen noodles, bologna, doritos, PB&J sandwiches, fried chicken, pork chops, and sugary cereal were daily or weekly staples. They were cheap, had long shelf or freezer lives, and could last for several meals. So, yeah, eating to be fit and healthy was less of a priority than not being hungry. I still struggle with the fear of being hungry. When I tried the UltraMetabolism, I had great results pretty quickly with water weight loss because I started drinking more water and eating less salt. Finally the constant swelling in my lower legs was going down. Over a period of 3 months of the elimination phase, I went from 220 to 188 lbs. I did work out (walking, jogging, hand weights). I felt good. Gone were the stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Heck, my dental appointments were even better because I wasn’t eating or drinking sugar. Obviously since I’m commenting, this didn’t last. My boss at work left to have her third baby, leaving me in charge of a major project. My stress level increased so much that I lost my appetite. I began working longer at night which made it very hard to cook. Plus I was mentally drained. It took about 5 months for me to gain my weight back. Let me tell you how much returning to quick foods and fast foods hurt. It really felt like cement was moving through my intestines. I’ve been working ever since to learn how to manage my stress in ways other than with chips, caffeinated sodas, or not eating all day until I left work and hit up the nearest fast food place. I’m 35, 5’8″, and 240 lbs right now. My motivation now is to not have digestive pain and get more life insurance for my son. A $400,000 30-yr policy estimate is $50/mo at my current weight. At 180 lbs, it’s $28. It’s going to take time, but the increased energy, pain free living, and confidence are worth it. I took it one day at a time those 3 yrs ago, and I’ll do the same. I wish more doctors and commentators would provide usable stress and time management tips while discussing all the wonderful ways eating healthier makes you feel better. Sometimes, a bag of Cheetohs, ice cream, or other calorie dense, fat filled, low nutrient food were the only things that kept me from cracking under the weight of my work stress and divorce. And not everyone’s job is confined to 8-5, M-F. I’m an environmental engineer at a consulting firm. To get ahead in the workplace nowadays, one has to take on more with less resources. I am hopeful that I will find that elusive work-life balance to set boundaries and prioritize cooking, sleeping, exercising, and eating the food I cook. I’ve got to, really. I wish everyone clarity on what’s important and success in your efforts to bring real and lasting change!

  36. Tom January 22, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    Wonderful piece. I would consider adding to the list of suggestions – drink 64 ounces of water daily.
    I belive that both adequate sleep and adequate hydration are key factors in a healthy diet.
    Keep up your great work and education.

  37. Mackie Ramsay, Ph.D. January 22, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Thank you for your intelligent, and excellent ideas for health. Let’s find a way to join the 50 other countries that do not allow addictive food being advertised to children. That would be a start.

  38. Monica January 22, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    At last someone who acknowledge the addiction connection in weight gain and obesity!
    Thank You Dr Hyman for explaining this! I hope many people including health practitioners read this house call. It is only when we understand how addiction plays such a huge part in our escalating sugar and junk food consumption that we have a chance to take back our power.
    I wrote a book about sugar addiction published i 2010 after my son died of a brain tumor, called Sugardreams…waking up to the bitter reality.

  39. Dessi Todorova January 22, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    Can you please make these great articles available for sharing on LinkedIn? Thanks

  40. Dolores Woodrum January 22, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    One more thing I forgot to mention is grains; we can learn to choose healthy whole grains over GMO, processed, or high-starch content grains. Quinoa, black rice, oats and other gluten-free grains can be substituted for wheat (gluten and GMO) and other refined grains. People also need to know to avoid all corn and soy products, and animal foods from commerciallly raised animals that are fed corn and soy, and given antibiotics and hormones.

  41. Jeff Edwards January 22, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    Good Morning Dr. Hyman, I would first like to thank you for writing the book the Blood Surgar Solution. I stumbled upon your book at the library and decided to read it. I’am fifty nine years old and was recently diagnosised as being pre-diabete for type two diabetes. After reading your book I changed the way I ate. As a result, I have lost thirty five pounds, reduced my blood pressure and corrected my blood surgar level. Everyone should read your book. It could save their life or at least extend it.
    Thank You Again, Jeff Edwards

  42. Maggie S January 22, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    (1. Balance your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable:)

    Don’t you mean “HIGHER” blood sugar are associated with lower blood flow to the brain?

  43. June Kittay January 22, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    I am conducting two seminars in the Tampa Bay area entitled, “Sick or Sensitive”, which is my personal journey. I have conducted fitness classes for the IFM, and I am presently a participant in “The Daniel Plan” at the Hyde Park Methodist Church. I would very much like to speak to you about possible involvement with your organization and my basic movement program, “Emerging thru Movement”. Blessings, June Kittay

  44. Rosana January 22, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    I find that after cutting sugar and all white carbs, I still have episodes of bingeing or overeating, in this case something as simple as raw almonds could trigger it, and I have no idea why this happens. It is not a sweet craving, it is an impulse to overeat.

  45. Delia January 22, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Melody,
    You can find many books at the library or online by Dr. Hyman, Dr. Neal Barnard or Dr. McDougall or Dr. Oz. They can help you learn about healthier lifestyle changes you can make. You can make one change at a time. There are also many cookbooks that can help you to learn healthier recipes to make at home. After you have been walking for a set amount of time at a certain speed on the treadmill or for a set amount of time on the ground you can increase the speed in increments or if walking on the ground then try to cover a little more distance in the same amount of time which will cause you to speed up. Every couple of weeks make another increase of time and speed and eventually look into other exercise machines or classes, sports, if they interest you. Don’t worry if you feel clumsy at first – everyone was once a beginner. Take a beginner class or try a personal trainer at the gym. They can help you find motivation and learn how to exercise safely. Look at the food and drinks you consume and look for healthier things you can swap them for. You can do it! Imagine a healthier, stronger and more energetic future. Focus on this when you are wavering. Hug yourself and know that you are worth it! Good luck!

  46. Jeanne M Schmit January 22, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Melody, I have staff that can help you get started on a diet that will work and be satisfying for you….following Dr Mark Hyman’s recommendations. Go to the website listed and contact us if you want help.

  47. Cynthia Pace January 22, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Excellent read. Thanks for the clear explanation.

  48. Jill January 22, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    I was 100 pounds overweight and a size 22 and a bulemic for 25 years. I am now a size 6 and working towards a four and no longer bulemic. I started by doing a Daniel fast for 21 days and going to the gym four days a week to do weight training. You can google the Daniel Fast to see what it entails but basically its absolutely no processed food, only fresh food fruits, vegetables and certain grains.

    Like it is written above, I also started out with a protein breakfast and then ate every three hours five times a day. It was a little difficult at first but I lost 13 pounds during the 21 day fast and through that I gained some resolve to keep going. I developed a faith life as well and gained strength through God to keep going. Not only did I no longer want to be sick and overweight but He didn;t either. That is not how He intended us to be. Through the fast I also discovered foods I liked I never would have looked twice at before. As I started to drop major weight and clothing sizes I decided I liked that way better than any food I could possibly eat.

    Eventually I got bored with the working out and bit the bullet and paid for personal training for a year. It helped to learn how to maximize my time. I only spend 35 minutes in the gym three or four times a week and that is all that is necessary. I am at the point now that I can be a little more liberal in my eating and if I miss a day at the gym no big deal. But I still eat no processed food with the exception of a little ice cream or pizza now and then. The key is now and then and not routinely every day or even every week or month. I also taught myself to learn to like drinking water where I used to drink conservatively about 176 ounces of diet soda daily.

    Once you start to research this, you will not believe the garbage in the food supply that is literally killing us and making us sick. I keep wondering when the government is going to chase down the food industry like it chased down Big Tobacco. But you know the food industry and the pharmaceutical industry have everything to lose by people getting this because the food industry makes the food that makes us sick and Big Pharma is right there with a pill to take to fix the problem. They are making billions of dollars making us sick. As for sickness, I should also point out that I have not been sick-not even so much as the common cold-in over a year! I’m not special. I struggled for most of my life with weight. Those days are gone. You can do this. You just need to start.

  49. Joanne Morris January 22, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Melody–read the article, it tells you what to do. Give up white foods–added sugar, bread, white rice, pasta. Eat low-fat protein and all the vegetables you want. No added sugar or corn syrup. Read the article.

  50. Becky January 22, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Excellent explanation and information! Thank you for your House Call.

  51. Kim January 22, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    You didn’t mention the pesticides that are found on much of the fruits an vegetables that are in our supermarkets today. Organic is expensive and sometimes not available where I shop. Is there a way to clean the fruit and vegetables found in stores so that they are not as harmful as I have been reading that they are. I would like to feel that I am feeding my children safe produce when I serve them fruits and vegetables and not poisoning them with the residue of pesticides that I keep reading about. Apparently, it can cause disease and illness just like the processed foods.

  52. Kim January 22, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Is Stevia okay? I have been using it to sweeten the one cup of coffee I have per day.

  53. George January 22, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Right after his first inauguration and his promise of health care, I attempted to email the White House and said if he wanted to really help with wellness that the biggest problem was have a food and drug administered in ONE BUILDING.
    Why else would the US be the only country in the world with loaves of bread on our shelves with 38 ingredients and a shelf-life of five years.
    You eat food from most grocery stores big pharma is your cook.
    You take prescription drugs – chances are they will cause a second problem so you can get another prescription, until you can have a loaf of bread in your medicine cabinet!!

  54. Connie January 22, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    I agree with Dr. Hyman there is so much junk out there! And it is addictive. Sugar has the effects of a drug; you have a little you want more and if you stop eating it you get withdrawl symptoms. It is that powerful!! AND IT IS EVERYWHERE. I believe that more than any food group, sugar is responsible for most of the chronic disease out there.
    If you have tried losing weight and can’t, you should get help of a professional like Dr Hyman or a health coach. What you are eating right now that’s making you fat and sick is not your fault but it is your responsibility to get better. Someone who can coach you, cheer you on and hold you accountable is key!

  55. Betty January 22, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Can you elaborate on the statement from the article;
    “Why do less than 20 percent of alcoholics successfully quit drinking?”
    Please go into more detail about that….very depressing statistic!

  56. Nancy Minchin January 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    I sooo agree with you Dr. Hyman when you say that we need to change the school lunchrooms in the United States. It reminds me of the one Jamie Oliver, from Great Britain, who changed the way British children ate at school and when he offered the same help to U.S. schools, received a wholehearted welcome from most schools….but the people who make the rules for U.S. schools wanted nothing to do with the change for the better and so Jamie was not allowed to do it anymore. Sounds something like the food industry ignoring what is best for us once again. It seems to me to be all about the “almighty dollar” here in the United States and it’s time we started reading and heeding the information people like you, Dr. Hyman, are giving us!

  57. Janet January 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Melody, You didn’t ask me, but I can tell you what motivated me to start. I joined Weight Watchers online. Even though there is Spark People, and I’ve been a member for a while, I find that having to pay (even the low cost of Weight Watchers) keeps me on track. Just like the gym. I pay for that, so I use it… otherwise, I am wasting the good resources of my family.

    I lost 25 pounds rather quickly on Weight Watchers, and am still going down (only one pound in December, but 5 this week!). Seeing a budge in the scale every week keeps me slightly motivated. Occasionally, I will press into my ankle, just to prove to myself that I am not retaining water anymore (a gift from giving up diet soda), this can be slightly motivating. I look at my daughters, and worry about their them. This can be slightly motivating. I think about wanting to ride in an airplane, and sit comfortably in the seat. I think about possibly riding the roller coaster this year and having the safety bar just a bit lower. I think about how good I felt when I woke up this morning, with my back only hurting a little.

    All those little motivations add up. And sometimes I am not motivated, and I overeat…. but, then I try hard to find my center again. So far, it has been about 4 months, and I’m definitely motivated. I feel better, I look better.

    Hugs and good luck to you. I will pray for you to find your center and your little motivators.

  58. Aaron January 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    Great article Mark,

    This is an area that has interested me greatly after I successfully escaped from the nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and marijuana traps. I read your UltraMind solution with great interest and was determined to follow through with your plan…

    Unfortunately, despite making great leaps in my eating habits (the vast majority of my main meals these days are wholefoods based – I love the Ultrashake!) I couldn’t seem to refrain from chocolate or the occasional pizza/takeaway… Now I remember why…

    I stopped all of my former addictions through Allen Carr’s Easyway. Those who enjoyed this article may enjoy their book, “The Eayweigh to Lose Weight” – http://allencarr.com/32/easyweigh-to-lose-weight

    Although it doesn’t delve too deeply into the science behind junk/industrial food addiction, it covers the addictive mechanism behind the proces, offering an “easyweigh” out.

    hope it helps some people!

    Aaron

  59. dawn williams January 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Very good article. I have been on the path to better health all my life, and it’s amazing how much new info keeps coming out year after year. I’m 60, eat a pretty clean diet, exercise with weights 3 days a week and yoga on the other days and yet I still have cravings. For the most part I don’t cave in to them, and I eat no processed foods, but if I have a bag of raw nuts in front of me, I will binge on them. Maybe we’re just wired that way as humans. I eat no bread, very little grains, meat, tons of vegetables, very little sugar (85%dark choc only). I’m at an ideal weight for me, but still have a roll that folds when I sit. Not sure if I can ever get rid of that. I’ve been told to just accept it, it’s part of age. Wow, really?

  60. mm January 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    I think all high school students should be required to take a course on nutrition (curriculum written by educators and health professionals-not the food industry). perhaps also send home educational materials to parents on how to feed kids of all ages (even teens). I think that many Americans do not understand that the way they eat (and feed their kids) has anything to do with their health. Many younger people who lose weight do so by eating and drinking less junk- not doing anything to improve the quality of their diet. We also need to get our government to do something to lower the price of fresh produce.

  61. Claudia Graham January 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I have Blood Sugar Solution and have pre-ordered your Detox book. For nearly a year now I have been following your guidelines. However I have now come across a website (http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-stevia-bad-for-you/) which I find disturbing, especially her link to oxalates. This just blows my mind and I feel I don’t know where to go next. Would you please address this subject of healthy sweeteners and the business of oxalates. I am running out of food to eat. I am 76 years old, have had fibromyalgia for over twenty years, and am working with an Integrative Medicine doctor following your guidelines.

  62. Wendy January 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    I looooove this article, I had my 12 year old read it and I will have my 18 year old read it too. I wish there was a way that you guys can put this a little more simple for children to understand, I had to read it to my son and explain many things for him to understand but he got it.
    When I read this I felt that you were disc riving me. Lol

    I’m 40 years old and was 85 pounds over weigh, I started seven months ago to loose weight with WW but three months ago decided to start doing my own thing learning from many different doctors like Dr David Perlmutter, Dr Hyman, Dr Tom O’bryan about clean eating and exercising and I have lost 46 pounds so far, my addiction is mostly under control and I have tools to help me with those.

    Dr Hyman Thank you so my for all your help and your guidence, God bless you.

  63. Josh January 22, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    This article is spot on. I can relate to it as I have an addictive personality for just about anything fun. It’s crazy how I can eat an entire big bag of potato chips, a package of oreos, or a half gallon of ice cream in a single day, but can go weeks without any of those things when I am sticking to better stuff. Once I get that first taste it becomes an irresistible obsession until it’s all gone and I feel sick. That’s why I don’t even keep most of that stuff in my house any more.

    Step #2 can be a life changer. When I eat sugar, I can’t get enough. When I don’t eat it, I want nothing to do with it.

  64. Tammi January 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    The book by Michael Moss “Salt, Sugar, Fat” should be required reading by anyone interested in their health and how food manufacturers manipulate us in regards to the food we eat.

    Since we started the low fat, high carbohydrate bandwagon – obesity rates and diabetes rates have continued to increase. The Paleo diet does help to moderate the glucose spike / insulin response – but, its practice is variable. All proponents state that you should not have grains due to the high glycemic nature. And, I think we can all agree that wheat has changed due to its genetic modification. Also, white bread is not a good choice for anyone.

    But, certain grains (such as buckwheat, spelt, faro) can be good if combined with protein and fat so the rapid release of insulin is not triggered. However, some Paleo proponents also state no white potatoes – or other starchy vegetables. I find that restrictive.

    Food, especially in its natural state, is meant to be enjoyed and when a diet becomes too restrictive, it is no longer enjoyable and will be jettisoned after the dieter gets bored with the limited food choices.

    The point is to minimize sugar intake so that blood sugar levels stay relatively consistent, and there are no insulin spikes. FYI, Insulin also competes with Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) on fat cell membranes. If insulin is present in high amounts, the cells do not release the stored fat to be used as energy – so, that fat is not mobilized.

    No wonder that when our cells are bathing in a ‘carb-induced insulin bath’ that we keep getting more overweight and obese.

  65. cindy January 22, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    Wish more health care professionals would read and follow the information in the above article, as would the 1st lady if she wants to curb the childhood obesity problem in this country.

  66. Katy McCullough January 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    This is an amazing article. I have several family members who suffer from addiction; one died of a heroin overdose. I do not suffer from any drug addictions but battle obesity. I am going to apply your suggestions beginning NOW! Thank you

  67. Ellen January 22, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    I’m especially interested in your suggestion to subsidize the production of fruits and vegetables. More people are beginning to eat more fruits and vegetables, and I’m concerned that if a whole lot more people do the same (which would be wonderful for our health), the increased demand will drive up the prices considerably, thereby making the fruits and vegetables less available to those people who are the poorest. Couple the increased demand with the on-going drought in the western U.S. where a lot of our fruits and vegetables are grown, and we may have a difficult situation on our hands. Is anyone in the federal government taking a serious look at subsidizing fruit and vegetable production? (They should if they seriously want our nation’s health and productivity to improve.)

  68. Joan January 23, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    It is really important to eliminate grains such as breads. Eat more natural starches such as potatoes with skin on and squashes. Eat lots of veggies to keep you full. Limit fruit and drink water. Also visiting a hospital and seeing sick people might make you try harder. Good luck and know you are not alone.

  69. Joan January 23, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    It is really important to eliminate grains such as breads. Eat more natural starches such as potatoes with skin on and squashes. Eat lots of veggies to keep you full. Limit fruit and drink water. Also visiting a hospital and seeing sick people might make you try harder. Good luck and know you are not alone.

  70. Ilene Gallo January 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Over the past year, thanks to your books, Dr. Hyman, I have changed my eating to mostly plant-based foods, with a little meat. My body really loves this food, and I am much more energetic and joyful in my spirit. However, over the Christmas I ate some of my traditional favorites and I found that my body is less tolerant of sweets, overly fatty/salty foods, and over processed foods than before I adopted a healthier eating plan. Next year I am going to research and prepare my favorites in a healthier way because my body doesn’t like the “normal” American food anymore. Thanks for showing us the way.

  71. GranCore January 23, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    I would say try a vegan lifestyle. Green smoothies in morning with hemp seed as your protein.

    I add:

    2 cups of water
    2-3 frozen bananas
    1 handful of frozen mixed berries
    1 handful of frozen pineapple
    juice from 1 lemon squeezed into blender (strain it so no seeds go into blender unless you have a high powered blender like a vitamix that can grind seeds and release medical benefits )
    BLEND

    then I add 2-3 Tablespoons hempseed
    BLEND
    then I add 2-3 cups of organic dandelion greens OR organic kale
    BLEND TILL SMOOTH AND ENJOY!

    Once I saw how animals in factory farms were treated I stopped eating meet. I realized I am indirectly killing an animal. For me, since I am not willing to put myself, family members, loved ones, etc on a grill it’s not in alignment for me to demand the same for other living beings. Perhaps that perspective might serve you? Blessings on your journey. Peace!

  72. Doug Rawson January 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    I changed my diet last year after reading your book best thing I have done for my self ever.
    As a comment to this article I can now see how addicted I was to sugar for many years. There is no doubt that it is highly addictive. One of the big problems I see is that healthy food options are much more expensive then the junk. My food bill has gone up by $25 percent at least.

  73. B January 24, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    I asked this question a few days ago and never saw it posted or addressed, so I’ll ask again;
    Please elaborate on the statement made in the article above; “Why do less than 20 percent of alcoholics successfully quit drinking?”

    That is a really depressing statistic – which study did it originate from? Can you please go into it more?
    Thanks!

  74. Dorothy Ann Cole, MEd DD January 24, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    METABOLIC TYPE
    One factor which seems completely overlooked and helps to guide the types of food you eat, is your metabolic type: Protein, Mixed, or Carbohydrate Type. There are tests to determine this from dieticians, but basically what type of food are you likely to eat gives you a pretty clear idea.

    1. Protein types: Meat, Fish, Eggs and only fruit are apples and avocados
    2. Mixed: Meat and Carbs includes carbs plus salads, vegetables, and some fruits
    3. Carbohydrate Types: Pastas, Breads, Starchy foods, Fruits, and Vegetables

    SUGAR CRAVINGS
    Sugar Cravings are usually a result of a protein deficiency. Dr. Oz recommends eating nuts 20 minutes before a meal to help turn on the hormone which tells your body that you are full: 23 peanuts or 12 almonds or 6 walnuts.

    MODERATE EXERCISE
    Exercise does not guaranteed weight loss, unless it is the right type of exercise. Research indicates that fat is burned after 30 minutes of continuous, moderate exercise. Start slow and work up. The best are walking and swimming. Note that as you burn fat, some of it turns to muscle which weighs more than fat. So instead of weighing yourself each week, measure your chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, and upper arms. Typically, when the waist measurement drops below 30 inches, you are no longer obese.
    Also as you exercise more, you will have more energy to do other things, so you are less likely to overeat. Exercise is also helping you get tired, so you sleep better.

    TWO KNOWN CAUSES
    Research also indicates that sugar consumption (and its many forms plus high fructose corn syrup) and hormone imbalances are the primary causes of weight gain. So stress reduction techniques to balance your stress and hormone production are equally important. Meditate, deep slow breathing, listen to peaceful music, warm baths, aromatherapy, and activities which are fun and joyful will help reduce your stress too.

    ADDICTION PERSPECTIVE
    Emotionally, people often self-medicate with food to address unknown or unacknowledged emotional needs. Learning the Language of Peace, specifically a process known as self-empathy, helps identify those unmet needs and fulfills the meeting of those needs, allowing for a healthy choice instead of looking in refrigerator for a soothing response. There are 10 FREE lessons at Peace-Matters.net to get you started.

  75. lloyd moroughan January 25, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I’m reading Blood Sugar …..excellent. My new Bible. I’d like to get the free download of the article about how to talk to one’s Dr. to get what one needs from that Dr. But I havn’t been able to find it on line.

    It’s interesting. Both my family Dr. and my Cardio Dr. seem to know nothing about diet and couldn’t care less about it. My family Dr. prescribed insulin for me and I am classic insulin resistant. My cardio guy has me on Lipitor which I haven’t taken for a year.

    I have a whole separate regime/lifestyle that is low carb for the last 11 years that my Docs don’t know or care about. And I don’t bring this up with them because I don’t want them to fire me because I need them as my link to the medical system in case I break a leg or have a heart attack or need a script for something. And they are great guys. And they are smart and mean well. And they are unable to isolate my metabolic problem. No one is. There is a guy in Annapolis who is a Chiropractor who claims that if you give him a year he will find and isolate your metabolic disorder. I believe him. But he doesn’t use insurance and he wants something like $30K. for this service. He can arrange for financing in his office. If I won the lottery, I guess I would go to him.

    But my plan is to take the 5 or 7 main causes of all disease that Mark Hyman lists in his book: inflammation , toxins, poor diet etc. and start down the list one by one with my family doc. Keep it simple for him and just do all the tests etc. and try to eliminate each one. I’m guessing this may be what the article Dr. Hyman has out may be about. I’m 64 yrs. old and the learning curve for understanding these metabolic factors is very steep for me. But I have no choice but to try to find the cure myself. Dr. Hyman and Dr. Perlmutter are my hope and my salvation, but it means I am in “home school” for a long time to come. And I got a D in HS chemistry. And my BA had no chem. or biology and of course that was 40 years ago!

    There is no prognosis for me as yet. I am 6′ 1.5″ and weigh 160. Type 2 diagnosed 12 years ago. Have never had a hypoglycemic event in my life. I fight every day to get a BG of 160 instead of 200. Insulin makes me worse and makes me sick. Some days I feel like a 20 year old kid. Some days I can barely get going. There are a thousand variables in my self treatment so it is hard to tell what works and what doesn’t. I’ll try Cinnamon. Yea, take it every day for 6 months and not do anything else different in my life for that six months and see if it works! Sure.
    I’m doing Dr. Hyman’s 6 week course, and it’s inspiring me. But it’s taking a long time for the BG results to show. But if it gets me to say 150 or even 140, I’m good to go. And having Dr. Hyman more or less approve of Metformin is great because that is the only med. that seems to help and of course I want to get off of it eventually, ideally.

    My disease (it’s a cruel joke to call it type 2 diabetes, that’s a useless name) is very complicated and has yet to be diagnosed. My problems are zip compared to many people and in general I am thankful every day for my life.

    Now I am seeing ads on TV for diet supplements and I see a sea change happening in the medical arena. No longer will I have to listen to health professionals tell me how dangerous fat is and how low carb is not recommended. Even the ADA told me low carb is not recommended! Thanks to folks like Dr. Hyman, my struggle may still be tough, but at least I will have support instead of warnings.

  76. Kent January 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    What successful nation ever allowed industry to violate their own people…

  77. Haely January 26, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    It’s great that you are going to the gym 3 times a week Melody. That’s a good first step! I find it really helpful for people to focus on increasing good healthy food instead of starting with cutting out the unhealthy food. This is what I recommend for you:

    Week 1 – eat 8 servings of vegetables each day – a serving is 1/2 cup of any vegetable (leafy greens take 1 cup to make a serving) – this is the only thing you need to do for week 1. When you are tempted to have something unhealthy tell yourself you can have it but first you have to finish eating your 8 servings of vegetables.

    Week 2 – make sure you have some protein with every meal and snack – some good options include a small handful of nuts and/or seeds, chicken, salmon, eggs etc.

    Week 3 – make sure you eat a good breakfast with at least 15g of protein

    Week 4 – make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water each day

    This will get you started and you should start to see results. The next steps would be to start moving away from the unhealthy foods but you will be well on your way with this plan.

    I hope this helps

  78. B January 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Please elaborate on the statement above which says that “only 20% of alcoholics recover”….I’m dismayed by that and have asked 3 times now where that info comes from?
    Losing faith in that I’ve been a longtime fan of Dr. Hyman- have read all his books and ordered the new one…but wondering about credibility now since I keep asking and not getting any response…?

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