Tuesday, October 25, 2011

JOURNAL: Why Can't I Stop Eating Candy?

Best Blogger Tips I never buy Halloween candy early.  I always wait until a day or so before the 31st to stock up on treats we will pass out to the neighborhood kids.  If I buy any candy before then, we eat it.  My husband eats it, so I hide it from him.  I know where it is, so I eat it.  I try to hide it from my four year-old son, too, but if he sees me eating it, he wants some. 

Then I have to buy more, which we will eat.

This time I wasn't the one who bought it early.  A well-meaning friend of ours surprised me on Friday with a bag of Snickers Peanut Butter Squares.  It was my birthday last week.

They were all gone by Saturday afternoon. 

I had a moment where I thought to myself, "Why can't I stop eating candy?"

Then, I remembered.

The food industry is very good at creating foods that are addictive.  There are specific flavor combinations that trigger the same parts of the brain as illegal drugs:

1.  Sugar-fat
2.  Salt-fat
3.  Sugar-fat-salt.

Think for a moment about those unhealthy foods that you may find addictive. 

Potato chips: salt-fat
Ice cream: sugar-fat
Cookies: sugar-fat
French fries: salt-fat
Cheese: salt-fat
Chocolate: sugar-fat

Investigate further since starches actually break down into sugars, especially if they are refined starches.

Potato chips: fat and salt on sugar (potatoes convert to sugar easily)
Cookies: sugar and fat and sugar (refined flour converts to sugar easily)
French fries: salt on fat on sugar (potatoes convert to sugar easily)

Some candy companies are very good at creating these combinations.  They also add textures that are enjoyable, like caramel that coats the tongue or the crunch of a cookie.  The companies intentionally create food that is addictive.

Back to those Snickers Peanut Butter Squares:

No wonder I couldn't stop eating the Snickers Peanut Butter Squares!

So what to do?

1.  Don't start. Once I start, I have a difficult time stopping.  Remember, this is the same part of the brain affected when drug addicts use drugs! 
2.  Figure out what part of the candy you are craving.  If you want something creamy and sweet, have a glass of almond milk.  If you want something crunchy and salty, have some celery sticks.  Be creative and find an alternative that isn't addictive!
3.  If you do start and can't stop, get rid of the candy.  Give it away or throw it away.  You can't eat it if it isn't there!
4.  Fill up on your favorite fruit or veggies.  The fiber and water content of them will help you feel full and satisfied.
5.  Warm beverages also can help a person feel full.  I drink a lot of decaf coffee, but herbal teas are also helpful.
6. Remember that you can always have the candy later.  This piece (or bag!) isn't the last piece in the world.  You don't need to eat it now.  Today, you are going to make your body feel good instead of feeling guilty or getting in the sugar-fat-salt addiction cycle.

For more information on the sugar-fat-salt in foods and how to stop compulsive eating, read my review of The End of Overeating by Dr. David Kessler.  You can order the book here or at The Way Store.

What food do you find addictive?  What combination of sugar-fat-salt is it?Pin It Best Blogger Tips

1 comment:

  1. A few years back, I made the mistake of putting peanut butter cups in the freezer. Then you have sugar-salt-fat-CRUNCH! This did not keep the treats safe at all.


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