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Are You Gaining Unneeded Weight Because You Are Addicted to Sweets, Starches, or Fats?
BY JULIA ROSS

Sodas, chocolates, ice cream, potato chips, bread, fries, pasta are "hard drugs" for many people. If they are for you, please stop berating yourself for having weak willpower and respect the fact that you're actually physically addicted. The next thing to do is breathe a sigh of relief, because help is right around the corner.

The following is an eight-part questionnaire developed for my first book, The Diet Cure. It gives a quick symptom picture of each of the eight imbalances that can cause cravings for sweet or starchy carbohydrates or rich, fatty foods. By your score in each section, as compared to the ideal score, you'll see which imbalances you have. After each section, I've briefly summarized the nutritional, or other, strategies that our clinic has found can stop the cravings caused by that particular imbalance. I recommend that you read The Diet Cure (PENGUIN 2000) for additional guidance.

1) IS DEPLETED BRAIN CHEMISTRY THE SOURCE OF YOUR CRAVINGS?

4 Sensitivity to emotional (or physical) pain; cry easily
4 Eat as a reward or for pleasure, comfort, or numbness
4 Worry, anxiety, phobia, or panic
4 Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
3 Difficulty with focus, attention deficits
2 Low energy, drive, and arousal
4 Obsessive thinking or behavior
4 Inability to relax after tension, stress
3 Depression, negativity
4 Low self-esteem, lack of confidence
4 More mood and eating problems in winter or at the end of the day
3 Irritability, anger
4 Use alcohol or drugs to improve mood

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 10?

If you crave sweets or starches to stop particular bad moods, the following four amino acids will usually stop your cravings just as quickly as they take care of your moods.

• 5-HTP(OR TRYPTOPHAN) if you eat to eliminate negativity, fear, worry, obsessivness, irritability, insomnia: try 50-100 mg. 5-HTP , afternoon and at bedtime.
• TYROSINE if you use food for relief from low energy depression and poor concentration: try 500-1000 mg on arising and in mid-morning.
• GABA if you eat to calm stressed out feelings: try 100-500 mg as needed.
• DLPA to soothe oversensitive feelings and eliminate comfort-food cravings: try 500-1000 mg on arising and in mid-morning.
Also, be sure to read The Mood Cure for more on emotional eating problems. Check in either book for contraindications to taking aminos.

2) ARE YOU CRAVING BECAUSE OFLOWCALORIE DIETING?

4 Increased cravings for and focus on food; overeating
4 Regain weight after dieting, more than was lost
3 Increased moodiness, irritability, anxiety, or depression
3 Less energy and endurance
3 Usually eat less than 2,100 calories a day
3 Skip meals, especially breakfast
3 Eat mostly low-fat carbohydrates (bagels, pasta, frozen yogurt, and others)
2 Constantly think about weight
2 Use aspartame (Nutrasweet) daily
2 Take Prozac or similar serotonin-boosting drugs
2 Have become vegetarian
3 Have decreased self-esteem
4 Have become bulimic, anorectic, or overexercizer

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 12?

You probably have dieter's malnutrition, which, oddly enough, increases cravings, overeating, and unneeded weight gain. Be brave, quit starving yourself; the supplements suggested here will stop your sugar cravings as well as the moods that lead you to overeat.

3) ARE YOUR CRAVINGS DUE TO STRESS OR BLOOD SUGAR INSTABILITY?
4 Crave a lift from sweets or alcohol, but later experience a drop in energy and mood after ingesting them
3 Dizzy, weak, or headachy, especially if meals are delayed
4 Family history of diabetes, hypoglycemia, or alcoholism
3 Nervous, jittery, irritable on and off throughout the day; calmer after meals
3 Crying spells, mood swings
3 Mental confusion, decreased memory
3 Heart palpitations, rapid pulse
4 Frequent thirst
3 Night sweats (not menopausal)
5 Sores on legs that take a long time to heal

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 12?

If blood sugar swings cause your carb cravings, try the following nutrients:

(1) L-glutamine 500-1500 mg on awakening, in mid-morning, and in mid-afternoon.
(2) Chromium 200 mg. with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and at bedtime.

4) DO YOU HAVE UNRECOGNIZED LOW THYROID FUNCTION?

4 Low energy
4 Easily chilled (especially hands and feet)
4 Other family members have thyroid problems
4 Can gain weight without overeating; hard to lose excess weight
3 Have to force yourself to do even moderate exercise
4 Find it hard to get going in the morning
3 High cholesterol
3 Low blood pressure
4 Weight gain began near the start of menses, a pregnancy, or menopause
3 Chronic headaches
3 Use food, caffeine, tobacco, and/or other stimulants to get going

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 15?

First try thyroid foods, tyrosine (500-1000 mg. in early morning and mid-morning) and kelp tablets (one/day) If you get no improvement, see the information on thyroid for how to effectively test for and treat a thyroid problem in The Diet Cure or The Mood Cure.

5) ARE YOU ADDICTED TO FOODS YOU ARE ACTUALLY ALLERGIC TO?

3 Crave milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese, or doughy foods (pasta, bread, cookies, among others) and eat them frequently
3 Experience bloating after meals
4 Gas, frequent belching
3 Digestive discomfort of any kind
3 Chronic constipation and/or diarrhea
4 Respiratory problems, such as asthma, postnasal drip, congestion
3 Low energy or drowsiness, especially after meals
4 Allergic to milk products or other common foods
3 Under eat or often prefer beverages to solid food
3 Avoid food or throw up food because bloating after eating makes you feel fat or tired
4 Can't gain weight
3 Hyperactivity or manic-depression
3 Severe headaches, migraines
4 Food allergies in family

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 12?

If you're addicted to grains wheat, rye, oats and barley, or to dairy products—the two most common allergy addictors—you can do a simple home test to verify, by eliminating these foods for two weeks, then reintroducing them on day 15. Any foods that make you feel sick, tired, bloated, or set up cravings need to be eliminated permanently.

6) ARE YOUR HORMONES UNBALANCED?

4 Premenstrual mood swings
4 Premenstrual or menopausal food cravings
4 Irregular periods
3 Experienced a miscarriage, an abortion, or infertility
4 Use(d) birth control pills or other hormone medication
3 Uncomfortable periods—cramps, lengthy or heavy bleeding, or sore breasts
4 Peri- or postmenopausal discomfort (e.g., hot flashes, sweats, insomnia, or mental dullness)
3 Skin eruptions with period

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 6?

Sex hormone imbalances can set up intense food cravings. If you only have PMS cravings, a good multivitamin/mineral, and a sugar and caffeine-free diet will help. See the sex hormone information in The Diet Cure for how to test for and treat any more serious imbalances that you may have (e.g., perimenopausal or menopausal).

7) DO YOU HAVE YEAST OVERGROWTH TRIGGERED BY ANTI-BIOTICS, CORTISONE, OR BIRTH CONTROL PILLS?

4 Often bloated, abdominal distention
3 Foggy-headed
2 Depressed
4 Yeast infections
4 Used antibiotics extensively (at any time in life)

4 Used cortisone or birth control pills for more than one year
4 Have chronic fungus on nails or skin or athlete's foot
3 Recurring sinus or ear infections as an adult or child
3 Achy muscles and joints
3 Chronically fatigued
4 Rashes
3 Stool unusual in color, shape, or consistency

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 13?

If you have a yeast, fungal, or parasitic overgrowth, you'll need to kill the little monsters. Natural killers like oil of oregano can help with yeast problems. So can medicines like Diflucan. But you'll probably need the help of an experienced eradicator to test and treat, especially if you turn out to have parasites.

8) ARE YOU FATTY ACID DEFICIENT?

4 Crave chips, cheese, and other rich foods more than, or in addition to, sweets and starches
4 Have ancestry that includes Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Scandinavian, or coastal Native American
3 Alcoholism or depression in the family history
4 Feel heavy, uncomfortable, and "clogged up" after eating fatty foods
4 History of hepatitis or other liver or gallbladder problems
4 Light-colored stool
4 Hard or foul-smelling stool
1 Pain on right side under your rib cage
2 Have lost your gall bladder or had gall stones

TOTAL SCORE _________Is your score over 12?

Fish oil supplements (500-700 DHA/EPA; 2-4 per day) should help stop your cravings for fatty foods by satisfying crucial unmet needs for essential fats.

If you crave fats because your liver or gallbladder are not processing them correctly (you checked off more than one starred item), try taking the fatdigesting enzyme lipase with meals, along with the herb milk thistle for your liver (300 mg. at breakfast and 300 mg. at dinner.) Consult an acupuncturist if this strategy does not solve the problem.


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