How do you identify trigger foods?


How do you identify what foods trigger your sugar addiction? And why can’t you stick to a keto diet?

These questions are answered this week by our food-addiction expert, Bitten Jonsson, RN:

Identifying trigger foods

I have been trying to do keto for more than three years, but I’m sometimes falling off the wagon. Recently I realized I have a sugar addiction and have become very strict about eating no sugar, flour, starch, alcohol, or sweeteners.

How do I identify what other foods and drinks may be a trigger for me personally?



This is an excellent question and a problem which is confusing to many people. There is a lot to learn in this area. First about the brain and what addiction really is, then about food itself and what I call your unique “fuel mix” and individual “trigger foods”.

The next important area to understand is eating behavior, or what I call process addictions. Sugar addiction is a very serious illness, and you’ll need a huge toolbox for recovery.

First, I like to congratulate you on taking away addictive foods. That’s the first and most important step. We addicts need to heal our brains first.

Addiction means that we’ve developed a faulty wiring in our reward center. Today’s processed foods are made to be addictive. Once we’ve felt the effect on our reward center, our brain has a “euphoric recall or addiction memory circuit” and we lose control over cravings. That’s why we continue eating fake foods that make us sick.

After starting a keto diet there are many keto-friendly desserts and breads that resemble our drug food that we have to take away.

LCHF and keto groups are not geared towards addiction, so one has to find special groups to join to get the right support. Here’s one on Facebook “Sugarbomb in your brain” that you’re welcome to join. I also advice you to read Dr. Vera Tarmans book Food Junkies, the latest edition has lots of information about the brain and the newest research.

When fighting addiction, we try to control our cravings and our eating, and then we sometimes end up developing patterns of restricting and bingeing that can become addictive behavior.

The best way to get help is to contact one of the professionals you find here (or try finding a doc on our find a doctor map). They’ll give you an individualized food plan. Another (maybe more tedious) way is to keep a daily journal and write down everything you eat and whether it causes cravings. Be aware that being tired, stressed, and other daily imbalances also cause cravings.

Getting the right knowledge is the way to start.

Kind regards,

“Why can’t I stick to a keto diet?”

Everytime I try to go on the keto diet, I find myself wanting cakes, buns, and sweets. It seems like the urge is more intense. I’ve only been able to follow keto for about five days, and even then I’m struggling hugely. Why is that?

I‘m 50 years old and 15 kg (33 lbs) overweight, and not being able to stick to keto is just depressing. Do you have any ideas?


Hi Sonja!

It sounds like you might have a sugar addiction, if that’s the case there is much more to learn about the brain than just changing to keto all by yourself.

It’s not your fault that you have a sensitive reward center and have developed an addiction to processed foods, so do not beat yourself up over that.

See my answer to the question above for more important information that you should be aware of.

Once again, getting the right knowledge is the way to start.

Kind regards,

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