Seduction, Addiction...New Diet Buzz Words?

Again, according to Dr. Barnard: Breaking the Food Seduction reveals the diet and litestyle

changes that can break these stubborn craving cycles. Using everyday examples,

questionnaires, and practical tips, the book delivers:

  • Fascinating new insights into the chemical reasons behind

    your cravings.
  • Seven simple steps to break craving cycles and tame your

    appetite.
  • Important advice for kids' sugar cravings and how to halt

    them.
  • A three-week kickstart plan.
  • One hundred delicious, satisfying recipes that help your

    body break the spell of problem foods and put you on the path to weight loss,

    better health, and greater well-being.
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    This accessible and practical book is essential reading for

    anyone who wants to lose weight, lower cholesterol, feel more energetic, and

    get control of their health once and for all.

    Is cheddar cheese addictive? How about steak? Or Sugar? IS

    there evidence that these foods might actually have brain effects that keep you

    coming back, despite their health risks?

    I think many people have experienced food addictions. Take

    chocolate, for example. To some people, chocolate is an occasional treat. But

    for a true chocolate addict, it is a deep-seated need. You know the ones who can't make it

    past 3:00 with out a Kiss.

    It turns out that chocolate does not merely tickle your

    taste buds; it actually works inside your brain in much the same way opiate

    drugs do. Researchers gave 26 volunteers a drug called naloxone, an

    opiate-blocker used in emergency rooms to stop heroin, morphine, and other

    narcotics from affecting the brain. It turned out that naloxone blocked much of

    chocolate's appeal. When they offered volunteers a tray filled with Snicker's

    bars, M & M's, chocolate chip cookies, and Oreos, chocolate was not much

    more exciting than a crust of dry bread.

    In other words, chocolate's attraction does not come simply

    from its creamy texture or deep brown color. It appears to stimulate the same

    part of the brain that morphine acts on. For all intents and purposes, it is a

    drug—not necessarily a bad one and not a terribly strong one, but powerful

    enough nonetheless to keep us coming back for more. Go figure! Now

    you'll have to enter chocolate rehab.

    Further research showed that when people are taken off meat,

    dairy products, and other unhealthy fare, the desire for cheese, in particular,

    lingers on much more strongly than for other foods.

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    Get this:

    In 1981, Eli Hazum and his colleagues at Wellcome Research

    Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, N.C., reported a remarkable discovery.

    Analyzing samples of cow's milk, they found traces of a chemical that looked

    very much like morphine. They put it to one chemical test after another. And,

    finally, they arrived at the conclusion that, in fact, it is morphine. There is

    not a lot of it, and not every sample had detectable levels. But there is

    indeed some morphine in both cow's milk and human milk.

    Morphine, of course, is an opiate and is highly addictive.

    So how did it get into milk? At first, the researchers theorized that it must

    have come from the cows' diets. After all, morphine used in hospitals comes

    from poppies and is also produced naturally by a few other plants that the cows

    might have been eating. But it turns out that cows actually produce it within

    their bodies, just as poppies do. Traces of morphine, along with codeine and

    other opiates, are apparently produced in cows' livers and can end up in their

    milk.

    Cow's milk—or the milk of any other species, for that

    matter—also contains a protein called casein that breaks apart during digestion

    to release a whole host of opiates called casomorphins. A cup of cow's milk

    contains about six grams of casein. Skim milk contains a bit more, and casein

    is concentrated in the production of cheese.

    When you drink a glass of milk or eat a slice of cheese,

    stomach acid and intestinal bacteria snip the casein molecular chains into

    casomorphins of various lengths. One of them, a short string made up of just

    five amino acids, has about one-tenth the pain-killing potency of morphine.

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    What are these opiates doing there, hidden in milk proteins?

    It appears that the opiates from mother's milk produce a calming effect on the

    infant and, in fact, may be responsible for a good measure of the mother-infant

    bond. No, it's not all lullabies and cooing. Psychological bonds always have a

    physical underpinning. Like it or not, mother's milk has a drug-like effect on

    the baby's brain that ensures that the baby will bond with Mom and continue to

    nurse and get the nutrients all babies need.

    Like heroin or codeine, casomorphins slow intestinal

    movements and have a decided antidiarrheal effect. The opiate effect may be why

    adults often find that cheese can be constipating, just as opiate painkillers

    are.

    If you are hooked on sugar, chocolate, cheese, or meat, what

    do you do about it?

    Dr. Barnard believes foods can actually come to your rescue.

    If you start your day with a good breakfast, hunger is less likely to fuel

    cravings. And if your lunch, dinner, and snacks include foods that keep your

    blood sugar steady throughout the day—beans, green vegetables, unprocessed

    grains, and fruits, for example, instead of sugary foods or white bread—you'll

    be less likely to dip into unhealthy foods later on.

    He also recommends eating enough food, so that your

    appetite-taming hormone leptin is working right. Leptin shuts down whenever you

    go on a starvation diet, leaving your appetite out of control. Exercise, rest,

    and social support all help, too.

    Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine tests positive for opiates from her poppy-seed muffins.

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