by David G. Woolley
Editor's note: This post is part of a weekly summer-long look at food. This week its food cravings.
Are you addicted to food? If there's some sweet, delectable morsel or drink that you just can't live without the answer is likely yes. You may think its a few innocent cravings for your favorite indiscretions, but it may be an entire class of foods that has you hooked on unhealthy eating. The most addictive? Sweets in all their delicious forms. Candy. Desserts. Milkshakes. Sodas. Fruit Drinks. Processed foods. Millions more are hooked on them than caffeine and drugs combined. Not even chocolate compares to the sway held by these food imposters. It works something like this:
Fifteen percent of a healthy intestinal tract is populated by one of 50,000 different strains of the candidas albicans family of bacteria. One of the strains is yeast, the bacteria responsible for raising dough at bakeries across the world. Its also connected to some serious food cravings in every country on the planet. The other 85% of the intestine is populated with acidophilus bacteria. It isn't an even spread. These bacteria grow in colonies throughout the twenty six feet of large and small intestine and as long as you've got the balanced 15 to 85 percent bacteria split you can be assured that you're eating a fairly healthy diet. Get things out of balance and you're on a path to health problems.
In the early 90's the Center's for Diseases Control reported that the average North American intestinal tract had reached the tipping point. Canadian and American bowels, on average, passed the 51% threshold of bad boy candidas albicans bacteria sometime around 1993. Only a pitiful 49% of North American GI tract's are estimated to be populated by acidophilus bacteria today. These unhealthy bacterias feed on simple sugars and processed foods which break down quickly in the intestine. The healthy bacterias get their fuel from low sugar, slow breakdown foods like vegetables, some fruits and grasses.
So where does the addiction come from?
The candidas albicans bacteria produce twenty toxins as part of their waste products. Fifteen of those toxins wreck havoc on the intestinal tract and other body organs. The five we're interested in for this post are absorbed into the blood stream and, sadly, have the ability to cross the blood brain barrier where they play their little tricks. Depression. Hypertensive disorders. PMS. Panic disorders. ADD. ADHD. They're all related to these toxins and they share one common trait: Preservation of their parent bacteria. They instill in their human hosts an addiction for the simple sugars that keep the colonies of intestinal tract bad boy bacterias flourishing. And you just thought you liked sweets because they taste great.
It takes about three months of a no sugar, no processed food diet to repopulate your intestinal tract with healthy bacterias, rid your blood stream of the toxins and overcome the addictions. And once the cravings are gone, you'll be surprised at how many flavors your brain can taste in low-sugar healthy foods you never knew had such good taste. Why couldn't you taste their flavors before? The same reason a heroine addict loses his passion for life. Never trust a brain on drugs. Even if the drug dealer lives in your bowel.
Break the addiction. Eat well. Live well.
Join author David G. Woolley at his Promised Land Website. He is also a weekly contributor to the Latter Day Authors blog and he writes commentary and opinion at the Utah Ranger's Far Post blog