Taming the Carb-Craving Monster with Nora Gedgaudas

by lydia on November 24, 2010

In continuing on with posting my notes from the Wise Traditions conference, here are my notes from Nora Gedgaudas’ second session, ‘Taming the Carb-Craving Monster.’ Be sure to check out the notes from her first session, ‘Nutrition and Mental Health.

Glucose- primary form of carbohydrate used for energy in the body. This is what mainstream nutrition tells us – but it’s not true!! The only tissue in the body that has to have glucose are our red blood cells and our body can manufacture it. The human body and brains’ primary source of fuel is designed to be fat in the form of ketones – not glucose!!

Ketones are a perfectly normal constituent of human metabolism. They are used safely and effectively for energy in all tissues in the body, including the brain. In fact, ketones are the preferred fuel for every organ, tissue, and current research shows that they are a far less damaging source of energy than glucose, far more stabilizing, less excitatory and may, in fact, even help extend life span! The human heart prefers ketones, to any other fuel. (hmm, this is quite the opposite of what we have been taught – avoid fats ‘eh, the science just does not back that theory up people!!)

Carbohydrates comprise no more than 2% of our body structure. (hmm, and it’s the biggest block on the dang food pyramid, don’t get me started!)

-High triglycerides  are not from consuming fat, but from consuming carbohydrates.

-Nearly all unwanted body fat is made out of sugar. Carbohydrates, not dietary fat, make you fat.

-There is no actual human dietary requirement for carbohydrates. (GASP!)

-Excess carbs increase risk of heart attack and strokes.

-How gracefully you go through menopause is gonna depend on the state of your adrenals. Adrenal health is dependent on good fats, not carbs or sugar. Your adrenals are often the first obvious casualty of blood sugar dysregulation. Stymied adrenal function can lead to chronic feelings of stress, fatigue, being overwhelmed, weight gain, insomnia, mood disoders or instability, headaches or migraines and eventually thyroid problems. (Down the road, sex hormone problems can develop, too, via and endocrine metabolic phenomenon known as the ‘pregnenelone steal’). You will never correct a problem with your thyroid or sex hormones without first correcting adrenal imbalance. And in order to correct that, of course, you must determine and address your main adrenal stressors and address issues around insulin and leptin. ( I hope to post more on adrenal health in the near future!)

-If you are dependent on sugar, you will have to eat constantly to stay sane and not get blood sugar surges. Is this really how it’s meant to be? It would be like sitting down to build a fire and all you have is paper or kindling, you would have to sit there and constantly feed the fire for it to keep burning. But when you use fat as your fuel, or should we say logs, you have a nice long steady burn that you do not have to constantly feed and fuel.

Candida Yeast Solutions

-Sugar/starch free diet (note: if you are extremely insulin resistant or diabetic, it may be a more gradual process of converting metabolically to the use of fat as a primary source of fuel and may best be facilitated and accomplished in tandem with additional supportive supplements) Check out the SCD diet for more information and ideas –

-Supplement with oil of oregano

-Repopulate the gut flora, try a variety of high quality probiotics (Innate Response – is a probiotic designed to repopulate your gut flora in 7 days!)

(Photo Credit)

Sleep Problem/Serotonin Depletion/Depression Solutions

– Recommended supplements would be 5-HTP and B6 to help restore healthy serotonin levels. As well as L-Tryptophan) For those who are depressed, worried and anxious, have negative thinking, SAD symptoms, anger or aggressiveness, poor sleep, shy or fearful, loss of pleasure in the things you used to enjoy, or for those who crave carbs. (Note: Iron is needed for the conversion of L-tryptophan to serotonin. Anemia may make this conversion very difficult in some. It is important to rule this out.

-If you are over 40 you may need to supplement with HCL. A lack of adequate HCL means several things; poor digestion and absorption of amino acids, protein, key minerals, also impairs proper B12 digestion essential for neurological health and more. HCL is produced only in the presence of proteins and is inhibited by sugars and starches. (*note* another way to get the benefits from HCL prior to taking it, especially in those who may have ulcers, gastritis, or any kind of acute reflux problem – is to drink fresh raw cabbage juice, or better yet fermented cabbage juice, which Natasha Campbell McBride also discussed, doing this may be desirable prior to HCL to help allow any inflammation of the gastric and esophageal tissue before taking HCL.)

-10,000 Lux light box several minutes a day (after all light is decidedly a nutrient!) Where Seasonal Effective Disorder issues are present, these light boxes, may be extremely useful and transformative of mood and circadian rhythms. Use for 15-30 minutes in the morning to shut down undesireable chronic inappropriate melatonin production. This may help lessen fatigue or depression during the day, and significantly enhance serotonin production. If staying asleep at night is a significant problem, using the light box later in the afternoon or early evening (at least two hours before bedtime) can improve sleep quality too. Spending some time outdoors at around noon time daily (an hour or so if possible) is another natural means of getting adequate “light nutrition.” Avoid sunscreens or even sunglasses if possible.

Endocrine balance

-Can never be truly addressed until blood sugar disregulation is dealt with. This includes insulin, adrenals, thyroid, sex hormones.

-L-Glutamine – (great to curb carb cravings), an amino acid, can stop cravings fro sweets starches and alcohol instantly, as the brain is able to use L-Glutamine temporarily for fuel. It is also the #1 food for enterocytes, the cells that line the small intestine, and can greatly help regenerate gastrointestinal mucosa. Usually comes in 500 mg capsules, but can be purchased in solely powder form (which is how I take it) and needs to be take on an empty stomach for best effect. Start with the lowest dose and increase as necessary. Can also be absorbed sublingually under the tongue for immediate effect, (which is how I take the powder.) Up to 2 grams (2,000 mg) or even more may be necessary. (Caution: refrain from using L-Glutamine if you knowingly have cancer, as L-Glutamine can serve to fuel certain types of tumor growth)

-Gymnema sylvestre from Standard Process ( 4,000 mg. 3x per day) also helps knock out carb cravings. In extremely addicted individuals, twice this amount may be needed to successfully eliminate cravings. This is a great tool that can be likened to ‘bicycle training wheels’ while dietary modifications are being made. After a time, this will no longer be needed once healthier eating habits are adopted. It also possesses compounds that may support the restoration of insulin sensitivity.

-adaptogens (for adrenal support); ashwaganda, holy basil, elithro ginseng, all help to normalize the adrenals

-L-tryptophan or 5-HTP for serotonin issues (as noted above)

-B-Complex whole food based (preferably phosphorylated, food complexed or co-enzymated) with meals. B vitamins assist in improved carbohydrate metabolism.

-L-Carnitine (2 – 5,000 mg per day) – this is a quaternary ammonium compound and an amino acid derivative, not an actual amino acid, necessary for transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria where they can be burned for energy. It can reduce the time it takes to convert from “sugar burning” to “fat burning” in resistant individuals.

(Featured Image Photo Credit)

I highly recommend checking out Nora’s book, ‘Primal Body, Primal Mind,’ for further reading on this and to more fully understand our body’s nutritional needs. Additionally, I must disclaim that these notes are not intended as medical advice and that you should be sure to speak with your Dr. before starting any type of supplement protocol.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Meagan November 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Very interesting. I’ve read a bit about this before. This article gives me some facts I must investigate myself now. I am a HUMAN BIO major so this is right up my alley.

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jenna - Food w/ Kid Appeal November 29, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hmm. “The only tissue in the body that has to have glucose are our red blood cells and our body can manufacture it.” Doesn’t the body mfg glucose from carb based food? What research/studies does Nora get her ketones data from? I’m currently writing content for Eat to Learn, a program that will increase consumption of fruits and vegetables in Elementary school by linking fruit/vegetables to brain function. I use the “your brain needs glucose for fuel” bit all the time. Would very much like to read further on fat/ketones for fuel. This is a resource I use often refer to…. http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/pyramid.html

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emily December 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm

question; why arent amino acids safe to take while breastfeeding? most of the supplements suggested here, and in books such as the Mood Cure are aminos.

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Meghan January 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

HI Jenna,
We can actually create glucose from fat and protein, the glucose model is outdated and erroneous. I would suggest Nora’s book or one such as “Life Without Bread”, or “The Vegetarian Myth” to understand why it is absolutely essential for all, especially children to have nutrient-dense FAT, not carbohydrates for brain function and behaviour. My two cents based on my own life experience, so glad to have found this type of nutritional information, how I wish it was sooner, not when I turned 45. We have all been very programmed against the evil of fats in our diet and since the big push for high carb diets, we have horrible rates of diabetes, heart disease, ADD/ADHD, depression, which has all skyrocketed and are related to denying the body healthy fats, from animals, not just a vegetable oil of some sort. I used to be a vegan and had to stop and also worked as an instructor for the one of the largest heart disease treatment programs in the country. The paradigms are shifting and it takes a lot of nerve to get through the status quo and find out the truth. Good luck.

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Marie June 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Very much enjoyed all the information. I have been living this way for a while. So wish I knew this or my mom did when I was growing. Never too late. Thanks so much.

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