Conventional thinking is that obesity is simply caused be eating too much. In fact, obesity may be caused by a difficulty in regulating insulin—it’s telling our fat cells to store fat and use carbohydrates as fuel. In other words, carbohydrates (especially sugary and refined carbs) have the unique ability to throw everything out of whack.
This means that just a bite of a brownie or taste of cookie, for example, when you’re on a vacation or during the holidays, could make your body flip back to burning carbs for fuel. “Just one” cookie or brownie or ice cream cone suddenly turns into “just one more”, while your hunger never seems to be satisfied. Soon you’re stuck in the spiral of uncontrollable carb cravings. Once you start eating these sugary carbs, it’s hard to stop. Gary Taubes, who has been limiting his carbs for 20 years, wrote an excellent article, “Are You A Carboholic? Why Cutting Carbs Is So Tough”, in the New York Times, which describes his own experience in terms of how his carb cravings and hunger return once he indulges a little during family vacations or holidays.
The solution? Gary has discovered that going cold turkey on the carbs you are craving may be the way to go, while focusing on meals and snacks filled with protein, healthy fats and fiber-rich carbohydrates such as vegetables. You may have also experienced this during your journey with Atkins. And science continues to show this may be true. In fact, I am one of the authors of a recent study published in the FASEB Journal that suggests a low-carb diet may help reduce hunger and food cravings, which would explain the sustained increase in adherence and reduced energy intake often seen with this way of eating. If you think about it, it’s pretty hard to overdue it on chicken breasts or salmon filets, or binge on broccoli. Usually your hunger is naturally satisfied far before that point.