Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of numerous books including Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, talks about the underlying causes of food addiction in a recent interview.
One can be vegan or vegetarian one can incorporate small amounts of animal protein on occasion in the diet. But the emphasis is on the nutrient dense foods. Such a person is, in a term he coined, a nutritarian. It is the cornerstone of the Eat to Live diet plan. You must focus on nutritional quality of food to succeed in weight loss as well as to enhance your health and well being.
If someone cuts calories when eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) of processed foods, refined carbohydrates and animal products what will result is a feeling of hunger and deprivation which makes it difficult to stay on the weight loss diet.
It is the consumption of an excess of processed foods and meats that can lead to the addictive patterns of eating, difficult to overcome especially if someone tries to simply cut down on portions. It has to do with the two phases of body processes, the anabolic and catabolic. The body is in an anabolic state when consuming foods, whether nutritious or not; it is the building and storing phase as the body is incorporating the nutrients from the food into the system.
On the other hand there is the catabolic stage, in which the body is in a heightened stage of detox and repair and it lives on what it has consumed. But the trouble is, if the food consists of refined carbohydrates and other substances devoid of vital nutrients including polyphenols, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals and other micronutrients the person becomes hungry soon after and craves more food to return to the anabolic state.
The person is not comfortable in the catabolic state due to the feeling of weakness and discomfort which is perceived as hunger (and which Dr. Fuhrman calls toxic hunger). What’s happening is that free radicals are accumulating in the body, as well as AGEs (advanced glycation end products) build up. Thus the person keeps eating to get back into the anabolic stage.
To overcome this and regain natural hunger, a person must eat a diet of healthy foods to lose weight or manage weight — these are the plant-based, nutrient dense, foods. In the catabolic state you live off of glycogen stored in the liver and when it is fully utilized you feel true hunger.
It’s a fascinating interview, giving much insight as to just how destructive the Standard American Diet is to weight loss efforts, let alone the hope of getting healthy.