Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 Jul

Is Wheat Addictive?

wheat2Within the Primal/paleo community and elsewhere, it’s often stated offhandedly that wheat is addictive. And absolutely, wheat for many people feels like something they could never give up. I hear it all the time: “I couldn’t live without bread.” “What would I do without cereal, dinner rolls, toast, {insert your favorite grain-based food item here}.” And wheat is often the main culprit in the sugar/insulin rollercoaster that drives sugar-burners’ need to eat (more wheat) every few waking hours. But is wheat addictive in a different sense – as an opiate like heroin and other drugs? Today I take a look at the research and attempt to separate fact from fiction. What do we really know about wheat as an opiate? Let’s find out…

Humans and other animals have something called an opioidergic system – an evolutionarily-preserved way for an organism to modulate behavior, addiction, and reward. When you exercise, for example, a lot of the euphoria you feel comes from endogenous (produced in-house) opioids interacting with your opiate receptors. This is the body’s way of dealing with a stressful experience (physical exertion), reducing pain, and it also has the effect of reinforcing a behavior that is positive, healthy, and in the organism’s best interest. The opioidergic system also interacts with the immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems (in other words, this is physiology, so it’s all interrelated), but we won’t get too much into that today. Now, it’s not just endogenous opioids interacting with our receptors; certain substances, like heroin and other opiate drugs, act as exogenous (produced out-of-house) opioids, thereby hijacking and “supercharging” our physiology. Cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco also interact with opioid receptors. The addictiveness of these substances is infamous, so these interactions exist shouldn’t surprise you.

However, there are other exogenous opioid peptides, also known as exorphins (exogenous morphine), found in substances that we don’t normally consider to be repositories of potentially addictive morphine-analogs. Like wheat.

Some of the most extensively studied food-based exorphins – gluten exorphins, from gluten, and gliadorphins, from gliadin – are derived from wheat. In a previous post, I raised the possibility of a wheat addiction. But are these exorphins actually problematic? Do they really interact with your opioid receptors to make you crave another “hit”? Well, an early 1979 paper (PDF) on the topic suggests that in order for them to actually function as in vivo opioid exorphins in our bodies, wheat exorphins must appear in our gastrointestinal tract after ingestion and during digestion, they have to survive degradation by intestinal enzymes into constituent amino acids, they have to be absorbed – intact – into the bloodstream, and they must pass the blood-brain barrier.

Do they satisfy those requirements? Let’s take a look.

When wheat is applied to conditions designed to simulate the human gut (complete with physiological amounts and proportions of stomach acid and digestive enzymes), exorphins are produced. This suggests that applying wheat to actual human stomachs (by eating it) should also produce wheat exorphins. Satisfied.

There’s also evidence that gluten exorphins do show up in the bloodstream after ingestion of wheat, at least in subjects with celiac disease (PDF). But let’s temper our conclusions; remember that celiac disease is usually characterized by a severely-compromised intestinal lining, and that the subjects who had exorphins in their blood tended to have the most intestinal damage. It remains to be seen if wheat has the same effect on people with healthy, intact intestinal linings. Satisfied and satisfied.

I was unable to find hard evidence of wheat opioids crossing the blood-brain barrier. There is this rat study, which found that gluten exorphins stimulate the secretion of prolactin (an excess of which can lead to loss of libido in both sexes) by interacting with opioid receptors located outside of the blood-brain barrier, but not inside it. On the other hand, Dr. Emily Deans says that exorphins “definitely end up in the body and brain of rats fed gluten orally.” She also uses low-dose naltrexone (an opiate blocker) to treat celiac patients who can’t seem to give up wheat, which would suggest that something’s getting through to interact with those receptors. Still, not completely satisfied.

We’ve all had people tell us “but I could never give up bread!” In my experience, and from talking to hundreds upon hundreds of newcomers and sharing emails with many more, this is common in folks going Primal. Your pastas, your breads, your pizzas, your pastries, your muffins, your cookies are the foods that people have trouble giving up and the foods that, once expunged from the diet, have the greatest tendency to cause “relapses” if eaten again. Part of it is cultural conditioning, I’m sure – the whole “staff of life” thing, the inundation from birth with the message that whole grains represent the pinnacle of healthy eating, the bread basket at dinner, the pancakes on Saturday morning, the birthday cake that you’re practically excommunicated for refusing – and part of it is the fact that wheat flour goes well with vegetable fat, refined sugar, and low prices, but I wouldn’t be surprised if wheat has addictive properties mediated through its unique exorphins.

We just can’t say that yet, not definitively. It may be addictive, but not to everyone. If your gut is permeable enough to allow passage of opioid peptides into your blood, I could see it causing problems. If your gut is healthy and intact, maybe it’s not such an issue. More research is clearly required. Still, until this all gets sorted out, I’d suggest people continue to avoid wheat and other gluten-containing grains (and heck, all grains for that matter). And if you’re going to mention the opioid stuff to any skeptics or interested parties, don’t sound too authoritative. Admit that while evidence for wheat’s addictiveness exists, it’s far from conclusive.

Besides, wheat’s not the only food whose proteins are degraded into opioid peptides (PDF):

Casein, a dairy protein, can also be cleaved to form exorphins. Human milk even contains a number of dairy exorphins, most notably beta-casomorphin (casein morphine). In fact, beta-casomorphin levels are highest in colostrum, the highly nutritious “first milk” that infants get from their mothers. Perhaps that’s a way to get babies hooked on the sweet, nutritious, essential breastmilk right off the bat? The old “bait and switch,” where you slip the customer the pure stuff, get them hooked on it, and subsequently sell them the stuff that’s been cut with filler? We don’t know for sure, but I would assume that the most nutritious, perfectly “designed” food for human infants contains opioid peptides for a very important reason.

Hemorphins, a class of opioid peptides, come from hemoglobin, a protein found in the red blood cells of vertebrates. If you like your steak bloody rare, you’re likely consuming hemoglobin, and your stomach is probably cleaving the hemoglobin up into hemorphins. Of course, since hemorphins already appear naturally in your cerebrospinal fluid, brain, and plasma, I wouldn’t necessarily worry about becoming addicted to blood sausage.

Other food compounds can act as exorphins, too. Flavonoids, those bioactive plant compounds with antioxidant properties, may interact with opioid receptors. Epicatechin, a flavonoid found in green tea and chocolate, can act like an exorphin, at least in mice. Its cardioprotective effects are even thought to be mediated through its opioid activity.

Interestingly, even spinach contains an exorphin which, along with a gluten exorphin variant, has actually been shown to improve the learning ability of rodents.

That doesn’t mean you should pound spinach and wheat gluten before finals week and hope for a miracle. It also doesn’t mean that you should avoid chocolate and give your baby formula instead of breastmilk because you’re worried about addiction. It simply means that the effects of food exorphins aren’t clear-cut. They aren’t necessarily “bad.”

I’m definitely anti-wheat. I think people eat way too much of it, and it appears to perpetuate its own consumption. I wish I could say definitively whether wheat is addictive as an opiate or not – but I can’t. Not yet.

What say you, folks? Were you addicted to wheat? Are you? What about any of the other foods that break down into opioid exorphins – any spinach addicts out there?

Thanks for reading.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Hahaha – I saw the title and thought – “Is peanut butter addictive?” HAHA.

    Meagan wrote on July 18th, 2012
  2. I really don’t understand all the grain bashing. I grew up on hot and cold cereal for breakfast, along with ham, eggs, hot buttered bisquits and cocoa. That was when everything was organic–at least on the farm where I lived. My boot camp weight in 1944 was 180 lbs. I’m two inches shorter now and my weight is 170. I’ve never deviated from this weight. I’m 85, can bench press my weight and leg press 450 lbs. I don’t remember ever having a headache, and I feel good all the time. Common sense tells me to avoid all products with refined sugar–no matter who offers it. I don’t touch products like pizza. I’ve had the real thing in Italy. U.S. pizza is a poor knock-off. Rice has been the staple diet for Asiaians for thousands of years, and they are some of the healthiest people on earth. How do you figure that?

    James V. Lee wrote on July 18th, 2012
    • You don’t understand the grain bashing? Are you familiar with or have you read any of the works that are the core of the primal/paleo/ancestral movement? Pick up the works of Cordain, Wolfe and Sisson and then get back to us.

      Bailey Leonard wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • In 1994, I learned how to cure my prostate cancer without any conventional treatment. I accomplished this by change of diet and targeted food supplements. Since then, health has been my avocation. I’ve read dozens of books, magazines and countless articles. I know there are some people who cannot tolerate certain foods such as wheat. Most grain products on the market are not fit to eat because they have been stripped of their nutrition and include junk. How grains are prepared makes a huge difference. Wheat, barley,rice, flax–I eat all of them in moderation and am the picture of health. To make a blanket condemnation of food that has nurished countries worldwide for thousands of years makes no sense to me.

        James V. Lee wrote on July 18th, 2012
        • I’m with you, Lee.

          Brooke wrote on July 19th, 2012
    • He’s got a pretty clean eating history, and a tendency towards shunning pre-1940’s food. Combined with a hard-working life, that sounds fairly survivable.

      Kelekona wrote on July 15th, 2013
  3. This question isn’t related to the post – but more to the choosing a fasting method post.Has anybody thought of the correlation between Mark’s idea of eating when hunger ensues naturally (WHEN) and total protein intake. It seems that if one actually starts to listen to their body and their hunger cues, they won’t eat as often or as much (especially if you are in tune with your full signal – and eat when satisfied). For someone who is very active and who tries to eat WHEN, is it not possible for them to run the risk of not getting enough protein in the diet? Even Mark says he eats 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight in order to keep his lean body mass. I see this being fairly difficult if you are trying to eat WHEN with a decent amount of lean body mass. Any thoughts or is it something to not really worry about?

    Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-wheat-addictive/#ixzz2109ewfvA

    John wrote on July 18th, 2012
  4. This question isn’t related to the post – but more to the choosing a fasting method post.Has anybody thought of the correlation between Mark’s idea of eating when hunger ensues naturally (WHEN) and total protein intake. It seems that if one actually starts to listen to their body and their hunger cues, they won’t eat as often or as much (especially if you are in tune with your full signal – and eat when satisfied). For someone who is very active and who tries to eat WHEN, is it not possible for them to run the risk of not getting enough protein in the diet? Even Mark says he eats 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight in order to keep his lean body mass. I see this being fairly difficult if you are trying to eat WHEN with a decent amount of lean body mass. Any thoughts or is it something to not really worry about?

    John wrote on July 18th, 2012
  5. I am totally addicted to spinach!!! I get real cravings for it and love the stuff!! And wheat is definitely my nemesis for health and weight loss…!!

    Justine wrote on July 18th, 2012
  6. Having been diagnosed with Celiac Disease in Oct 2006, I went 100% GF at that time. I was SO sick that cutting gluten (including wheat) was never a problem for me. When I first did give up gluten, I still ate a lot of GF pizza, cakes, brownies, pasta, etc. I gained a TON or weight. I am only about 85 – 90% primal now (still have some dairy)and have lost most of the weight. For me, it is refined carbs and junk foods that are addictive. When I “cheat” on my diet – it is with GF pizza or cake. My family and friends all know how sick I was and watch out carefully for me to not have gluten. To other people, I explain that to my system, gluten is like rat poison. You wouldn’t ever suggest to someone to just have a”little taste” of rat poison, so I can’t have a even little gluten.

    Lori - gf_elle wrote on July 18th, 2012
  7. I also absolutely fell into the “addicted to wheat” catagory. I ate home-baked bread at least twice a day and had terrible withdrawals (incl. physical) when I gave it up. The only reason I was able to do it in the end was that it made such a difference in my life -> no more knee pain (after 20 years of it) and almost no more PMS (used to be debilitating). If the “positives” hadn’t been so strong I would have never made it LOL…

    Nina wrote on July 18th, 2012
  8. I love bread and pasta but have pretty much given it up . Most dairy too. I found that I don’t have the gas like I use to and when I ate cheese it came back. I do occasionally have pizza or pancake but try to limit it. I got soy milk which is not bad if you can get past the thick feel of it . I am just not sure what to really eat other than meat,veggies and fruit ….. The weight is not melting off but then I have not been exercising either. Still tired most of the time which could be lack of sleep too. To crap fat is where I’m at…

    Teri wrote on July 18th, 2012
  9. The cultural element can’t be overlooked. My wife and I decided to try the primal blueprint – she has Celiac disease and I am trying to break the insulin cycle, so it seems like a great plan. We went out to dinner last night and my wife requested the Celiac menu which included a few apps served with sliced veggies instead of bread. Perfect! Except the restaurant offered free bread and roasted garlic at the beginning of the meal. I declined the bread (we kept the garlic) and the waitress thought it was very sweet and supportive of me, but then she brought me pita bread to go with one of the apps. AND THEN she came back with a plate of gluten-free bread and explained that it was a new item so we could use that with out apps! AND THEN she brought back the original bread that I had declined! So we’re sitting there with two small apps, a plate of roasted garlic, and three enormous plates of different kinds of bread before we’ve even ordered our main courses. On top of that, we had to ask for the sliced veggies and had to point to the menu where it said “comes with sliced veggies” when the waitress said that it wasn’t part of the service.

    Mark wrote on July 18th, 2012
  10. I’m addicted to spinach. Did funny things to my arm though…:P

    Nionvox wrote on July 18th, 2012
  11. Dairy is my kryptonite, specifically ice cream.

    I was a die-hard pizza fan all my life. I don’t even miss it one bit. I’m Polish, and we have rye bread in our blood…and I don’t even miss RYE BREAD. I loved that stuff!

    But ice cream. Man, oh man.

    primal pat wrote on July 18th, 2012
  12. My wedding is this Friday, and I sure as hell am going to enjoy made-from-scratch cupcakes that we ordered. DAMN RIGHT!

    primal pat wrote on July 18th, 2012
  13. Both opiates and wheat have one thing in common: sugar. Opiates are just manipulated sugar molecules, and wheat breaks down into sugar, so I’d say yes, wheat can be addicting when it’s viewed as a source of sugar–but that’s just a housewife’s view.

    Wenchypoo wrote on July 18th, 2012
  14. Hey guys! First off, I just wanna say that reading your posts was not only entertaining :) but it motivates me to stick w/ paleo even more. (& I definitely need it). I’ve been doing paleo for a couple weeks now. I’ve had a couple “mishaps” but now I just think how horrible (physically & mentally) it makes me feel afterwards. Im not bloated anymore, hardly no cravings for sweets, & I don’t get hungry as often. It’s great, but what’s your take on “cheating” or having that “one lil piece of cake” & not binging afterwards! :)

    Nikki wrote on July 18th, 2012
  15. I don’t buy that exorphin has to cross the blood-brain barrier at all to be addictive. Sperm is high in endorphin and the vas deferens has more endorphin receptors than anywhere else; it needn’t cross the blood-brain barrier to create a sex addict.
    If exorphin crossed the BBB you would get central opioid effects; drowsiness, depressed breathing, etc. (and be at risk of autoimmune brain damage). But even if it’s just your gut, taste receptors, appetite, getting addicted, it’s still an addiction.

    george henderson wrote on July 18th, 2012
    • Sperm has nothing to do with sex addiction. Sex addiction is based on a chemical reaction in the brain similar to a high from cocaine. The sex is just the coping mechanism used by the addict to self-soothe.

      Les wrote on July 18th, 2012
  16. I actually did have a strong craving for spinach last night, which made no sense to me until I read your post today. Thanks–I guess it’s not so strange after all. But I do crave pasta, and French bread, even more sometimes.

    TruthCkr wrote on July 18th, 2012
    • Imagine the difficulty of living in a small French village with three amazing boulangeries within mere meters..I seriously make a concerted effort to cross the street to avoid the enticing aromas emitted from the croissants,baguette and brioche being baked in the morning. Sigh.

      Donna wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • Doesn’t knowing that you “can’t” have bread make the cravings worse?

        I make an effort to limit grains, but do not ban them entirely. I’ve just changed my eating habits, and find I rarely crave bread. I can go several days without even thinking of it. If I banned bread completely though, I would think about it constantly.

        Brooke wrote on July 19th, 2012
  17. Bread – I did have a craving for toast after about six months of grain-free eating. After three days I thought this is crazy and made myself two pieces (I have non-primal eaters in the house), thoroughly enjoyed them and suffered no more cravings since.
    However after eight months of no pasta, I gave in at a spaghetti feed fundraiser. My cravings for all things sugar lasted for about three days after! It will be a frosty day somewhere hot when I eat pasta again!

    Marilyn wrote on July 18th, 2012
  18. dont miss bread at all….cookies i do miss:) sugar was my drug. but i am celiac so maybe thats why i dont miss bread. makes me miserable! i do miss the convienence of a sandwich though. esp. at left-over thanksgiving turkey time! funny i weigh more now than i ever did when i ate breads and sugar…thyroid also died though….if i didnt eat this way now i would probably be obese. wheat has to be addictive, most people would rather die than give it up.

    annabelle wrote on July 18th, 2012
  19. I am very grateful to my daughter. Her response when I said I might try wheat again to see if the bad reaction I had was actually caused by the wheat–“Why would you want to do that to yourself?” For our grand-daughter’s birthday–where pizza and cake were the standard fare– she changed the routine to go to a restaurant where I had reasonable choices and warned the other grandparents that I wouldn’t be eating their cake. Ah, support from family–it’s a treasure.

    I am Type 2 diabetic and feel the effects of even the wheat in a little teriyaki sauce on stirfry. So I’m really careful about wheat (avoid it like the plague) and limit all starches. I’m not tempted by wheat at all–simple negative reinforcement. But I do miss the convenience of a sandwich.

    Gail wrote on July 18th, 2012
  20. I am definitely addicted to gluten – even years after I’ve given it up. There’s nothing better than a piece of fresh bread right out of the oven at a local bakery.

    Cravings for it are unbelievable, in some ways worse that sugar. I can avoid it for the most part without having a break down, but its still on my mind when I go out.

    Carla wrote on July 18th, 2012
  21. What an interesting topic.2 years ago I was told about paleo and eating grain free diet over my breakfast cerial by a good friend.I almost freaked and said there is no way I could even consider eating without my cerial,cakes and oh the smell of fresh bread.18 months ago my wife sort the advice of my friends practitioner who put her on a grain free diet for a,6 week trial,so I said 1 in all in.I have not had a slice of bread since that day and do not even desire any grain products.By adding more fat to our diet including coconut oil and good old lard feeling hungry or getting the sugar shakes ( gave up most fruit and sugar too) it has been amazing.Oh and losing 28 lbs back to my leaving school weight has been a by product.So I just wonder how much our body eats carbohydrate and says that is not food give me food,so the chain goes on.When we eat some fats it says argh finally Famine is over I now have food so I will not be hungry anymore.On birthday cakes my wife has learnt to cook amazing deserts with coconut and almond meal,even the grain lovers freak.

    Grahame wrote on July 18th, 2012
  22. I’ve found that the easiest way to say “no thank you” without hurting feelings is to say “not right now…maybe later, thank you.” Even the most difficult relatives are able to accept “maybe later” verses a definitive “no thanks” with minimal angst. :)

    Lori Angelica wrote on July 18th, 2012
  23. Oh, hey – has anyone here tried DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice)? My wife has found herself very gluten-sensitive, and chewing on a DGL tablet about a half-hour before partaking in any glutenous products seems to abate the worst of the gastrointestinal symptoms. I’m not nearly as sensitive as she is, but I do notice a relief from the gas and bloating levels when I take it. Just wanted to pass that on.

    Erok wrote on July 18th, 2012
  24. I am probably adddicted to spinach. I MUST have it in my breakfast fry up. It is so good!

    Miss Kimbers wrote on July 18th, 2012
  25. The word “addictive” implies that the food itself is causing the addiction, when in reality, ASAM has defined addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. This means that something cannot cause addition, but is instead a symptom of addiction. While I agree that wheat and grain can be a symptom of addiction, it does not cause addiction and is thus not “addictive.”

    Dan wrote on July 18th, 2012
  26. I like the book Wheat Belly. It offers interesting information on this topic. I’m no scientist so I can’t know if it’s all true. But the book speaks of research that showed that schizophrenics do better when they’re not eating wheat.
    My experiences seem to confirm it. I would say that wheat is addictive to me and changing my emotions. I notice some sort of strange ‘fake hunger’ after eating wheat. My stomach is full but my body/ brain (?) is urging me to eat, maybe hoping to get those exorphines.

    Ferze wrote on July 18th, 2012
  27. Awesome read–comments included! I do whole grains about 3-4 times a week.. and I don’t know-I like that. any suggestions on ensuring that what I AM eating isn’t overly inside to my in and/or out sides?

    thanks a bunch!

    ~M

    M512 wrote on July 18th, 2012
  28. I would say that wheat is most definitely addicting to me. It took a full 2 weeks of no wheat to finally start feeling good. It caused me to be exhausted (if I didn’t eat it every 2 hours), get headaches (which I didn’t know until I removed it), and eat more of it. I had a very hard time with self-control while I was eating wheat, even for things I didn’t like eating that much. After having been without it for 6+ months, there have been a few times where I eat a little, and I find myself insatiably hungry for the next couple of days. Like I will eat an entire meal, and then feel like I haven’t eaten in hours only a few minutes later. This only happens when I eat wheat.

    Kristi Crosson wrote on July 18th, 2012
  29. I personally didnt have much problem giving up wheat. I would have to agree with what has been echoed hear though is that the hardest part about it is the social pressure. It can be very frustrating at times.

    CMHFFEMT wrote on July 18th, 2012
  30. Heres the link that explains what happens with impaired gut to transform wheat/gluten/acsein into casopmorhins and glutomorphins

    http://gaps.me/preview/?page_id=20

    Dr Campbell McBride has an impressive body of work in this area

    Ian wrote on July 18th, 2012
  31. ugh just reading this makes me want a loaf of bread..NY STRIP is on sale at my grocery store I’m going to buy that for diner tonight in retaliation of the addiction!;)

    lisa wrote on July 18th, 2012
  32. I was addicted to bread. I read Wheat Belly and made conscious decision to stop. Its been 7 months and I have yet to buy bread. I still have bread but its so rare. Wheat Belly opened my eyes and changed my life.

    Hassan wrote on July 18th, 2012
  33. I gave up grains, sugar and processed foods in March and changed nothing else, and continued workouts. With cheat days I am about 70% consistent. I have gained muscle, lost weight and inches! Gained almost 2″ in chest, lost 2″ in waist and lost 24 lbs. I am 62 years old and going to 90% consistency.

    Jim wrote on July 18th, 2012
  34. I am convinced that I was a wheat addict. When I gave up wheat over a year ago, I had bad cravings for black licorice. Prior to this, I hated black licorice, but I really wanted it, so I bought some from the health food store, ate half of it, and then realized it was made out of wheat. It also turns out that wheat was the cause of my allergies, acne, and asthma. Before I went primal, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff, and rice could not take care of the craving, so it wasn’t about carbs.

    rabbit_trail wrote on July 18th, 2012
  35. Re the birthday cake thing (and off the Paleo thing a bit) my husband doesn’t eat sweets. When offered dessert, he simply says “Nah — thanks, though. I’m not much of a sweet-eater.” Simple as that. No one suspects he’s up to anything “healthy at their expense” — and ridiculous reasoning that is, indeed!

    Jen McGahan wrote on July 18th, 2012
  36. What I do not understand are the seemingly lack of problems with
    (1) wheat in the Northern Chinese (in which wheat and millet replace rice as well as wheat used in wrappers and noodles in dim sun in Shanghai and Hong Kong) and
    (2) the use of seitan, wheat gluten, in particularly the Asian Buddhist cultures and
    (3) the various and ubiquitous breads in the Indo-Iranian cultures.

    Have you any insight?

    asdf wrote on July 18th, 2012
  37. I don’t know if my experience would hold up in a study… but I was certainly carb/sugar addicted. I also have a son on the autism spectrum (very mild) who was carb/sugar addicted.

    We went gluten free a few years ago. For awhile I felt better. I always knew sugar/carbs were a problem for me, but wasn’t ready to give them up.

    This past April I gave up all refined sugar (use honey only for sweetener) and all grains… we just started adding small amounts of rice back in. It took several weeks (probably between 4-6 weeks), but now in July I can honestly say I do not crave sugar any more. I do sometimes crave a bit of sweetness, but a piece of fruit or even a baked good made with almond flour and honey satisfy me plenty. I feel SO much better!

    My son had a rough go of giving up sweets/carbs. He struggled for many weeks, but as of now he rarely has melt downs and he never asks for sweets anymore. He used to literally act like sugar/carbs were crack… he HAD to have them many times a day. He has smiled and is happier more since May than he has been his entire 8.5 years of life. It’s an amazing transformation. (Too bad our psychiatrist and psychologist don’t want to admit diet is a HUGE part of the solution!)

    I’m pretty sure we have unhealthy guts and we’re trying to remedy that. So, I don’t think we’re a good “normal” case study, but that’s our experience. This has been an entire family endeavor, but my 8 y/o and I are the ones who have benefited the most.

    Robyn wrote on July 18th, 2012
  38. I am 2 months primal and loving it. I read MDA wistfully for two years and my major hold out before starting was my love of bread. I’d given up sugar a couple of times without much trouble, but couldn’t fathom life without bread. Something I read one day pushed me to commit and try this (thank you, Mark!). I have been about 95% primal compliant and had not eaten a piece of bread at all or really wanted any until last week. We were on vacation with limited food choices and I was very hungry and having a weak moment. I inhaled a sandwich. An amazing thing happened about 10 minutes later. No stomach pains or issues with the bread… But out of nowhere, all I could think about was a big, warm, chewy chocolate chip cookie. Actually, two or three toddler’s-head size cookies would have sufficed. I haven’t had sugar cravings since I went primal!! This taught me something. Fortunately, there were no cookies nearby.

    MJ wrote on July 18th, 2012
  39. I am one who tried 100% whole wheat because the white stuff really impacted my blood sugar. WW had much they same effect on me. I don’t eat grains of any kind and I don’t miss them.

    Susan wrote on July 18th, 2012
  40. Haven’t you read Wheat Belly, by William Davis MD???? The Wheat we use today is not the wheat of our grandmothers. The new wheat is Highly addictive, thats why it is put into processed food ect.. Get with the Program Caveman!

    MILISSA wrote on July 18th, 2012

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