“Why doesn’t keto fully manage my sugar addiction?”

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Why doesn’t a keto diet fully manage your sugar addiction? How can you avoid triggers when you eat with your family? And why have your cravings disappeared on a carnivore diet?

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

Can’t control addiction despite keto

I’ve been keto since 2016. I’m 5’3” (160 cm), and have lost 130 lbs (59 kg). The problem is that I still can not control my urge around trigger foods. I try to control myself by buying things like nuts and nut butters and limit portions but I keep failing. Then I will throw them in the garbage. I want to be in control after four years of keto! Am I fooling myself?

Pam

Pam,

I’m sorry you had to wait so long for an answer. Yes, you are fooling yourself. We also call this denial. We want to keep a backdoor to our “drug” but we don’t want the consequences. What I hear is that you might have a sugar addiction (sugar/flour processed foods) That means we have a very carb-sensitive body and brain. If that is the case, “controlling” is like trying to lift yourself in your hair. You need so much more knowledge about our addicted brain and sensitive body.

To change what you’re eating (doing keto) is only 10%, but the most important start of recovery, and necessary in order to take the next step. You need to start picking up many more tools. You have been fighting this for four years and it sounds to me that it is time to take the next steps. Start by learning more on my website, then join our support group on Facebook and listen to others how they stay drug free. I advise you to read Dr. Vera Tarmans book, Food Junkies. It has excellent knowledge about the science behind this. We also need to evaluate if we have developed a process addiction as a consequence of our sugar addiction such as dieting, starving, overeating and more. The best way is to contact a professional for help with developing a new recovery plan. You will find a document in the Facebook group of professionals that can help you.

Wish you great recovery,
Bitten


How can I avoid triggers when eating with family?

I’ve been a sugar and carb addict for most of my adult life. Now I have type 2 diabetes on top of it. Strict keto works great for me if I can stick to it, but I constantly find myself getting triggered by things that are difficult to avoid in my own home. My family does not eat keto and they are also plant based only and eat tons of bread, rice, and potatoes. Their dinner plates are huge triggers for me. So much so that I end up eating the same foods in secret later, usually 95% of the time!

I’ve had to stop eating with my family which makes it worse. I can still smell the cooking in the other room, hear them talking about how good it tastes and so on. It’s very isolating and I miss eating with my family and sharing our day events with each other over a meal. I’ve asked my husband many times to please not bring certain foods in the house, but I have so many triggers nearly everything he cooks triggers me. On top of it all, my family doesn’t seem to really understand the truth of this sugar and carb addiction struggle. They don’t understand why I don’t just stop and get over it. I feel like I’m hiding in my own home every day, either to avoid what they are eating or to hide what I’m eating.

Kelli

Kelli,

I feel for you, remembering how that was for me. This is such a common and very painful problem for most of us. I wonder if you have other recovering sugar/carb addicts close by? To have a support group that speaks the same language is absolutely necessary for us.

You have done a couple of things I usually suggest, asking your family not to bring drug foods home, and avoiding to eat with them which is sad and only a temporary solution until you are stable on food and recovery plan.

We of course want our loved ones to understand but that might be aim high. Many times our illness is very hard to understand for ourselves. What we can strive for is that others respect us and our journey. Your family needs knowledge. Is there a way you could ask them to watch my videos here with you? Have you read Food Junkies, latest edition, by Dr. Vera Tarman, if not I advice you to start there and ask you family to read certain parts.

Join our support group on Facebook.

One of the best ways to learn is to tell the group about your challenge and ask others how they handle it. The way I teach how to do that is by asking: “If this is/was your problem how do/did you solve it?”

It is not easy.

Then it sounds like you need more knowledge and support for you to not pick up the drug. Recovery from sugar/carb addiction is not about only changing the food. Read my answer to Pam for more on this.

I really hope you keep focusing on you and your health.

One day at a time,
Bitten


Why no cravings on carnivore?

A year and a half ago, I switched from a typical keto diet to carnivore, and I have not had any cravings since then! Why do you think this is?

Mechelle

Mechelle,

If you are a sugar addict, the most possible cause is that you never take even one bite of sugar/carbs/processed foods. They are the psychoactive foods that not only create the addiction but also maintain the addiction. I can once in a while feel a longing for my former “drug food” but it is very mild and I do not act on that signal from my reward center. I rather smile. Maybe you’ve changed your lifestyle in other areas that benefit you too. All I can say is congratulation to being free of cravings.

Keep going,
Bitten

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