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You Can Retrain Your Brain to Prefer Healthier Foods!

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Join the Conversation: Does this news excite you, too?
If you find it hard to say no to candies, cookies, chips, it may be because your brain is addicted to them, according to a new study.
In short, your brain is actually hooked on junk food, which, of course, leads to weight gain and obesity and other harmful dieases.
But promising news came out recently, which reveals taht you you can literally ‘reprogram’ your brain so that you not only break your food addictions, but you actually develop a preference for healthier non-fattening foods so you lose weight.
For my part, I’m simply thrilled by this exciting news.
You may wonder, though, is this just too good to be true? Not so!
Some definitive proof this is possible came from a September 2014 study by scientists at Tufts University and Harvard Medical School. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show how the brains of volunteers had been altered during a six-month experiment, during which they forsake high caloric foods for low caloric ones.
Thirteen overweight or obese adults between the ages of 21 and 65 were placed in either an intervention group or a control group. The intervention group received 19 hour-long support group sessions during the 24 weeks in which they were taught how to use portion-controlled menus and recipe suggestions designed for high-satiety. The foods consumed in this plan were low-glycemic index carbohydrates along with high fiber and high protein (known as the idiet.) FYI, these are the foods I recommend, too, as you can discover in Beyond Sugar Shock.
These foods” have “a slower digestion profile and reduction fluctuations in blood glucose that could reduce hunger,” according to the study. The control group received no such counseling or support.
What’s intriguing is that before the experiment began and six months later, on its completion, all study participants underwent the fMRI scans as they were shown 40 food and 40 non-food images. The foods were half high caloric and half low caloric.
While being scanned, the volunteers rated the desirability of the images they saw on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being undesirable and 4 being extremely desirable. Those who had gone through the six months of intervention measured significantly less response in the striatum region of their brains (an area governing reward processing) when shown the high caloric foods and more responsivity when shown the low caloric images.
It was as if the brain charges they previously got from these foods had been disconnected. They also achieved significant weight loss, whereas the control group lost little weight and still had no control over how their brains craved certain unhealthy foods.
One of the study co-authors, Sai Krupa Das, Ph.D., who is with the United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center, observed how the weight loss program they used with high-fiber, low glycemic foods worked hand in hand with behavior change education to bring about the remarkable changes in weight and brain activity related to cravings.
“The weight loss program is specifically designed to change how people react to different foods, and our study shows those who participated in it had an increased desire for healthier foods along with a decreased preference for unhealthy foods, the combined effects of which are probably critical for sustainable weight control,” according to Dr. Das. “To the best of our knowledge this is the first demonstration of this important switch.”
Sources: “Training your brain to prefer healthy foods.” Tufts University. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-09-brain-healthy-foods.html.
“Pilot randomized trial demonstrating reversal of obesity-related abnormalities in reward system responsivity to food cues with a behavioral intervention.” Deckersbach T. Et al. Nutrition & Diabetes. September 2014. http://www.nature.com/nutd/journal/v4/n9/full/nutd201426a.html
iDiet program. https://www.theidiet.com/content/food
Join the Conversation: Does this news excite you, too?

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Get Ready to Calm Your Crazy Cravings with Me

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Join the Crazy Cravings Conversation™. What foods do you most crave and when? Post your comment now.
Cravings-can-stock-photo_csp5445145
Do you find that whenever stress strikes, deadline hits, your kids misbehave or grief wallops you, you’re seized by absolutely urgent, overpowering Crazy Cravings™ for easily accessible, fiber-stripped carbohydrates or other sugary, salty, fatty foods?
Then, the next thing you know, fueled by your frantic cravings, you hunt out your favorite trigger foods, which, of course, are quite easy to find.
After all, unless we live in the boonies or the outbacks, we’re in the midst of a junk-food jungle, which is full of convenience stores, bakeries, and carts that sell a plethora of tempting donuts, candies, cookies, crackers, chips, and junk foods.
What’s a wanna-be healthy eater to do?
And what can you do if you want to lose weight and your cravings keep derailing you?
Well, you need to learn to Calm Your Crazy Cravings™, as I put it.
Lately, I’ve been wracking my brain and exhaustively researchng how to help you do just that.
In fact, that’s why, as you may have noticed. I haven’t been posting as much lately on this Sugar Shock Blog or on my Huffington Post or Heal Your Life blogs.
You see, I’ve been deep into writing and researching my third book, Calm Your Crazy Cravings (that’s the wokring title).
My next book will help you finally let go of your urgent urges for unhealthy sugary, salty, fatty junk foods, or what I call nonfoods or unreal foods.
My next book, which I’ve been working on intensely for two years, while healing after the death of my mother, is the the follow up to my books, Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock.
Although — as I mentioned in My Carb Confession here and then later here, when I thanked Sean Croxton for inspring me to come clean — the initial inspiration for this book grew out of my own challenging, traumatic experiences and Crazy Cravings, my next book can help millions, I believe, to rise about those incessant desires for unreal foods, which can lead you to disease and even an early death.
Anyhow, I ask you to please be patient with me a while longer, because I’m sooooooo close to finishing my book, Calm Your Crazy Cravings, and then I’ll be posting lots of great tips for you.
For now, I invite you to get excited! At last, you’ll get help to rise above your Crazy Cravings.
Alex-JamiesonIn the meantime, I encourage you to get valuable perspective, awesome insights and wonderful help to understand and manage your cravings from my astute colleague, Alex Jamieson.
Alex offers a different, wortehile, brilliant perspective on the subject of cravings. (Yes, our books will complement each other well.)
The empowering, personable Alex Jamieson — who I had the pleasure of meeting years ago while living in New York City and who I saw recently at an awesome event for health experts presented by cutting-edge health guru JJ Virgin — is now gearing up for the publication of her next book, Women, Food and Desire, which comes out in January.
In fact, you may have been one of millions, who had the pleasure of seeing her on such shows as “Oprah” or “The National Health Test with Bryant Gumbel” or in the award-winning documentary, Super Size Me.
You also can hear her inspring TedX talk here.
In fact, I’m honored to be able to present Alex as one of more than 20 experts, who will participate in my upcoming Sugar World Summit. Stay tuned for details.
In the meantime, talk to us.
Join the Crazy Cravings Conversation™. What foods do you most crave and when? Post your comment now.
Photo Credit: Please note that since I’m on book deadline, I haven’t resarched if it’s okay to use this artwork above. If not, please let me know and I’ll take it down. In the meantime, I want to profusely thank Clipart Vector for this awesome cartoon. Check them out.

Beyond Sugar Shock

Are You a “Heavy User” of Salty, Sugary, Fatty Foods? Let Michael Moss Open Your Eyes

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Join the Conversation: Are you a “heavy user” of salty, sugary or fatty foods?
Salt, Sugar, FatAre you hooked on salty, sugary or fatty processed foods?
If you wonder why certain packaged food products call out to you often, you must read the brilliant, eye-opening book, Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us from Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Moss, an investigatve reporter for The New York Times.
Lately, while researching and writing my next book, I haven’t been able to put down the fascinating Salt Sugar Fat.. (Mostly, I’ve been listening to the book via CDs while en route to the gym, Whole Foods or bvusiness meetings. This book was so compelling that I’m now listening to all 12 CDs again.)
Frankly, I’m in awe of Moss and his investigative prowess. Over a period of three-and-a-half years, he interviewed hundreds of industry insiders, who revealed jaw-dropping, inside information about what our favorite food companies do to land space on grocery store shelves, crush the competition, boost the bottom line, please Wall Street, and influence our buying habits so we can’t pass up on foods with salt, sugar and fat.
For those of you, who find yourself frequently buying and eating certain processed chips, cookies or cereals, Moss sheds light on why this may be happening.
The captivating processed food substances you find on supermarket shelves “are knowingly designed—engineered is the better word—to maximize their allure,” Moss writes.
Michael-Moss_credit-Tony-Ce._V374823686_ (2)“Their packaging is tailored to excite our kids,” he continues.
“Their advertising uses every psychological trick to overcome any logical arguments we might have for passing the product by.”
Plus, their “taste is so powerful,” he writes, “we remember it from the last time we walked down the aisle and succumbed, snatching them up. And above all else, their formulas are calculated and perfected by scientists who know very well what they are doing.”
Indeed, those of you, who struggle to peel off pounds and hate that you can’t quit over-consuming your favorite sweet soft drinks, salty chips, or fatty cookies, you need to know that food scientists are actually using cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” and enhance the “mouthfeel” of your preferred foods so they’ll sell more, Moss explains.
Oh Goodness! Food Companies Call Big Buyers of Processed Foods “Heavy Users”
Perhaps one of the more scary revelations Moss makes in Salt, Sugar Fat is how the food industry regards its ardent customers.
In their board rooms and science labs, food industry insiders call you, their loyal buyers, “heavy users.”
No, I’m not talking about drugs, but, in light of recent food addiction research, that shows how the brain lights up on sugar as it does on cocaine, the term “user” is certainly apt.
And you wonder why your most intense, all-consuming, wild cravings for unnatural, packaged, sugary, salty, fatty foodstuffs swoop in on you often as if they were ravenous vultures waiting for their next dead prey to disembowel?
Sorry for the gross imagery, but as a former sugar-addicted journalist, my goal is not only to educate you, but to help you become strong, alert, and determined to lift your choose-healthy-food muscles when you’re at your favorite supermarket, as well as at drug stores, movie theaters and even hospitals..
By the way, just as I was about to put this post up on this Sugar Shock Blog, I discovered — while catching up on Dr. Oz Show episodes — that yesterday, Moss was featured in an awesome episode, Supermarket Secrets: How They Fool You Into Buying Foods That Make You Fat.
Watch The Dr. Oz Show episode with Moss now.
And bear in mind, as Moss told Dr. Oz, that “when you walk into the store, there are traps.”
With that in mind, it’s best to be prepared with “that shopping list, commit yourself to stick with it, shop when you’re full, shop with a clear mind,” Moss urges.
Let Michael Moss open your eyes now by buying his intriguing book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.
Join the Conversation: Are you a “heavy user” of salty, sugary or fatty foods?

Announcements

Embrace Cravings as Your Allies, Not Enemies

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Are you hit by cravings in the morning, afternoon, and night, as well as in between?
How-to-fight-sugar-cravingsAnd do you detest when your cravings for sugar, carbs or something rich get the best of you? Especially when the number on the scale keeps getting higher?
What if you changed your attitude about your cravings?
What if instead of dreading them, you welcomed them and even invited them in?
Just think how much easier your relationship with food would be if you embraced your cravings as your allies!
You want to welcome your cravings, because they’re giving you valuable messages. And once you decode your cravings, you’ll be able to give yourself what you really want.
Confused? Discover 20 messages your cravings may be telling you.
Just read my new article on Heal Your Life, “Craving Sugar and Carbs? Make them your allies instead!”

Announcements

Sugar Addiction: Get Help to Break Free, Beginning Jan. 5 at the New York Open Center

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With the new year coming soon, people often decide that it’s high time to break free of their sugar habit.
And I’m here to help you conquer your habit in early 2010.
Join me on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 6 pm, when you can get inspired and educated during a fun, often-interactive, life-changing free introductory class at the New York Open Center. which is the largest urban holistic center in the United States.
But that isn’t all. You also can sign up for the four-week course at the New York Open Center from Jan. 12 to Feb. 2.
Please note that you get a free gift if you sign up for the Jan. 5 or the 4-week program because of reading about it on this blog.
But first join us for a complimentary introduction on Jan. 5.
In case you’re wondering why you may want to consider kicking sugar, if you do so, you can:
* Lose weight
* Finally feel in control of their habit of consuming sugar and refined carbs
* Feel free!
* Get more energy on a consistent basis
* Become more productive
* Walk your talk by consuming only healthy foods and drinks
* Tap into your spirtuality
* Be unfazed when desserts and sweet snacks abound
* Feel exhilarated and excited about your many projects
* Relish moving your body in a way you’ve never done
* Enjoy more enriching, satisfying relationships
* Boost your libido
* Learn to calmly watch your sugar desires slide away
* And much more
New York Open Center – 04 – Meditation
Here’s the description of the four-week course at the New York Open Center:
Do you “need” a candy bar or soda just to get through the day? Are you yearning to lose weight for good? Would you like to improve your moods, banish brain fog, triple your energy and boost your libido? You can peel off pounds, gain energy and improve your relationships just by kicking sugar and refined carbohydrates. But removing culprit carbs can be challenging.
Join “Smart Habits Girl” Connie Bennett, author of the best-selling book SUGAR SHOCK!, who will show you that breaking free of your sugar habit can be fun, exhilarating and life-changing. In this four-week course, you’ll participate in empowering exercises, eye-opening discussions and coaching scenarios to discover how to identify your tempting triggers and well-meaning saboteurs; how to soothe and nurture yourself in healthy ways; how to use the “5 Ds” to squash your cravings; how to save money on food; what to eat; how to “say no with sass”; if you should quit cold turkey or phase out sweets; how to find hidden sugars; how to release your bingeing-self-loathing cycle; if sugar substitutes are safe; and how to find sweetness naturally.
Hope to see you there! Remember, if you sign up for the course because of learning about it on this blog, you get a free gift from me.