Finally the world is waking up and realizing dietary fat is not the enemy of a healthy body, but rather refined and processed sugars and carbohydrates are the culprits.

So when you’ve joined the revolution and are ready to cut back on the worthless carbohydrates, you have motivation in your sails. But unfortunately your body and the food industry conspire against your willpower.

Cutting back on empty carbs can be more difficult that quitting smoking! Sugar is hiding in everything, constantly spiking your blood sugar and urging you to eat more.

There are, however, strategies, which I will share, that can reduce your cravings for empty carbohydrates. But first, what do I mean by empty or worthless carbohydrates?

  • Refined or processed sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. Enemy #1. Watch this video to find out why.
  • Starches with little (or even negative) nutritive value, including corn and potatoes.
  • Grains, primarily those containing gluten, including wheat, barley, rye, etc.
  • Fake sugars which mimic sugar’s effect on the body, namely aspartame (Nutrasweet), saccharin, sucralose, etc.
Just to clarify, there are good carbs: veggies and berries. And ok carbs (depending on which dietary philosophy you subscribe to): fruits, beans and legumes, dairy.

Strategies to Reduce Carb Cravings

  1. Eliminate sugar, starches, grains, processed foods, and fake sugar. I know this is a Catch-22: if I’m craving them, how can I quit carbs? See #3 # 4 to deal with the mind. But first, by reducing the number of times a day you eat anything that spikes the blood sugar, you’re reducing the body’s need for more-more-more. Stable blood sugar requires less carbs than the roller coaster of insulin spikes. Have you ever noticed after you had a big meal of pasta you want dessert? Your body starts demanding increasingly sweeter satisfaction when you introduce carbs. Pasta is like the gateway drug to sugar–it makes you crave more. ‘So, what do I eat?’
    • Replace pasta with spaghetti squash
    • Dip fresh veggies (instead of chips) in salsa, hummus, guacamole, spinach-artichoke dip, etc
    • Use lettuce instead of buns on burgers (In-N-Out Protein Style)
    • Throw a stir-fry over salad greens or crunchy lightly-steamed veggies
    • Opt for kale chips or beet chips instead of potato chips
    • Don’t allow the bread basket to be placed on the table (or at least not near you)
    • Order a salad or protein dish at the restaurant
    • Off-set the decrease in carbs with an increase in protein, which offers a higher satiety factor anyway
  2. Encourage normal hormonal regulation and balance. So much of our cravings are tied up in hormones: cortisol (stress hormone that makes you crave carbs), leptin (satiety hormone), TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone which regulates metabolism), etc. If your hormones are out of whack, you’re going to eat more and make worse food choices. And if you eat a lot of processed food, sugar, or GMO food, your hormones will have gone haywire. Straighten all that out and reduce carb cravings with one naturally-derived supplement: Otropin-a blend of amino acids and herbs.
  3. Play mind games with yourself and equate those little white granules to rat poison. They are in fact, a form of poison. Think: Diabetes–did you watch the video I linked to above? Grains release lectins inside the digestive tract which trigger an inflammatory immune response and can lead to a host of auto-immune conditions, not to mention bloating and indigestion. Fake sugar is thought to be carcinogenic. I’m not joking. If long-term health isn’t important enough, then demonize the empty carbs in your mind such that every time you look at them you see the poison symbol. Its about making that association in your mind so that you’re not just afraid of them, but actually repulsed by them. It may sound crazy but it takes the decision-making element out of the battle: when they are that scary to you, there isn’t a decision to be made, you simply run the other way.
  4. Engage in a mindfulness practice. This may be a mind-body practice such as yoga. This may be meditating. This may simply mean becoming aware of yourself of the present moment repeatedly throughout the day. All of these help us find peace, strength, love, and contentment within ourselves, instead of through food. They also help to relieve stress, which reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that makes you crave carbs. Take a simple action such a sitting in child’s pose anytime you crave chocolate, sweets or other carbs–this brings comfort and fulfillment so you don’t seek it in the sugar.

Have you succeeded in curbing carb cravings?  How’d you do it?