Sugar Cravings Wont Go Away! Help! :-(

I have read Dave's book, bought all the stuff, followed the first 2 weeks instructions and have been totally overwhelmed by sugar and carbohydrate cravings towards the end of the second week. I have constant feelings of hunger and sugar cravings!!! Gutting. I feel totally lost now. The cravings overwhelmed me and I blew it basically. GGGrrr!


Did anyone else have this experience? What did you do? Dave promises a hunger free/craving free utopia in his book! I just cant seem to get there.


Any tips gratefully received. I refuse to believe I am a totally hopeless case. 


Lou x



  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭

    What do you eat? How much do you eat?


    Depending on how much sugar you ate, and how much your body is actually addicted, it might take more than two weeks.

  • For cravings and hunger I find L-glutamine works amazingly. I fill a 750ml bottle of water with it and a couple of sips takes away my hunger and cravings, it may not be a universal result, however i know others find the same. 

  • edited May 2015

    Maybe your body is telling you something. Perhaps it needs glucose. How active are you?

  • Don't worry. Think of it as a mountain climbing expedition, where you climb up to a higher camp, acclimatize for a while, go back down, and then make for the next.  Say 2 up one down.  There's no such thing as failure.  The cravings are in part coming from parasitic bacteria in the gut microbiome that have high jacked the communication pathways to the brain (vagus, enteric, cns) and are demanding sugars which is what they live on.  It might help to think about that when a sugar craving comes, and instead fill up with an organic purple carrot, even a beetroot (that counts as sweet) celery, fennel and other raw veg.  If you must must have sugar, try avoiding sweet tastes with a fruit like non ripe kiwi.  we have receptors in our tastebuds that communicate sweet tastes to the gut and microbiome, and if the parasites sense that, they are strengthened.  The cravings are the addiction part. Some food molecules (grains, sugars) fit into the opiod receptors in the brain, making it harder to go without). We need to get to know how the craving operate. Get to know how long they last, how they feel, and not resist them. Just relax when a craving comes, look at the sensation itself, explore it, describe it.  Its not going to kill us.  Ask, as you describe the sensation, why its so powerful? its not like breathing, and yet something about the minor discomfort it causes is so apparently potent that we give in.  But just knowing the craving will only last a few minutes (the parasites don't have the energy to keep the signal on for very long), means at times that all we need to do is distract ourselves and it soon passes.  

  • Wow. Thanks very much everyone. Help greatly appreciated. x

  • I think it is important to note that sugar/carbs are not evil. It is the misappropriation, misuse and overuse that gets people in trouble.


    Eliminating a macronutrient entirely is a little dangerous, unhealthy and is ultimately unbalanced.


    We must be careful that this approach to food doesn't lead to disordered eating.

  • 'Eliminating a macronutrient entirely is a little dangerous, unhealthy and is ultimately unbalanced.


    We must be careful that this approach to food doesn't lead to disordered eating.'


    Absolutely. Couldn't agree more.  My reply was regarding sugars not carbs.  Refined sugar and all sweeteners are in my opinion generally toxic and to be completely avoided.  Carbohydrates are essential.  There appears to be a widespread conflation of the concepts of carbohydrates, starches, and processed carbs.  From my perspective, all processed foods are to be avoided, all fine ground flours, and if processing must be done, it should be done in one's own kitchen as far as is realistically possible.  For instance make your own kale crisps because the ones in the package have to be processed to survive the sales process.  Organic, real food, whole plant based carbohydrates (ie vegetables) should be an important proportion of everyone's diet (50-90%).  Resistant starches such as tubers are also important.  But many people will benefit from removing wheat from their diet, and many of those from removing all grains.  Not least because they are processed and modified in all sorts of ways.  (all US wheat products contain added folic acid -vitamin B9- which blocks vital methylfolate receptors in cells).  A standard intestinal permeability exclusion diet, or a similar one including low FODMAPs but again with no processed foods (except stone ground organic olive oil) is a good place to start.  It will take a perhaps a month  or two for the body to stabilize and begin to respond and reset back to its natural metabolism. Once it does, then we can begin to explore which natural foods suit our own unique metabolism.

  • My concern here is to emphasize that just because sugars (and I basically mean here refined sugar additives) are carbohydrates should not confuse people into thinking that therefore they are justifiable as a legitimate part of a balanced diet.  


    Yes, sugars are currently classed as carbohydrates, and that may be a reasonable descriptor of aspects of their nature.  To start with there's a huge difference between natural and synthetic sugars, and among natural sugars themselves, not least  because of the kind of nutrients and pesticides they were grown and processed with. But even natural unrefined cane sugars, honey, dates and stevia are all energy sources  that delight parasites in the gut (in a way that broccoli, another carbohydrate, does not)  and all reinforce the primal instinctive bias and craving for 'sweet' energy.  


    We are no where near a deep understanding of carbohydrates or sugars on a functional or systemic molecular level. That they are carbohydrates has (again in my opinion) very little to do with why they are toxic.  it would take to long to go into why concentrated sweeteners are unhealthy for most westerners today (and certainly in the amounts currently being consumed), but a little research on one aspect, namely their effect on the microbiome, is likely to convince most people that sugars are over the long term catastrophic for the health of over half the western population.  


    Again, in my opinion further research on the microbiome will reveal that many aspects of addiction and the craving mechanism are actually microbiome based, (quorum sensing being one instance) and that as parasitic bacteria take control of the communication channels between the vagus nerve, cns, enteric nervous systems and the brain, it becomes increasingly difficult for the neo cortex to over-ride addictive stimuli that feed the growth of these parasites.  And this will be seen to be the primary mechanism behind obesity, alcoholism, and other health issues.  


    I know people who are perfectly healthy in their fifties, not overweight, and who eat everything including moderate amounts of sugar.  But I don't know many.   In my view most people can't.  Microbiome unbalance creeps up, and we pay the price.  For anyone with a semi addictive metabolism and a slightly off kilter microbiome, it is simpler to retrain ones palate away from the sweet sensation than to be constantly triggering temptation by trying to moderate our intake.  By over-consuming concentrated sugars we are simply feeding parasitic bacteria like Klebseia in our guts.  But of course, to each their own.  

  • edited May 2015
    To reduce the cravings you often need to get ketones in the blood. The brain then has two energy substrates and don't get so desperate due to the low supply of carbs (carbs are long chains of sugar).

    Have you looked at blood glucose or ketone levels?

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  • Thanks for provoking this enjoyable discussion, though I’m having a time warp problem here; is this all taking place in 1982 or 2015 :-? It's years since I’ve come across anyone supporting refined sugars outside of those with a crop out the backyard. 


    We also appear to have differences of outlook; you seem to be comfortable with certainties, imply that bioenergetics are largely understood, and that current cellular energy models are functionally satisfactory descriptors.  If that is the case, I would disagree; in my view, which is widely shared and uncontroversial, we are only at the very beginning  of an understanding of the workings of the cell and its energy conversion pathways.



    To partially (and hurredly) address your observations:


    1.    but they are, how much depends on the type and duration of activity.


    I disagree.  There is no need for refined processed sugars or sweeteners in any diet, regardless of levels of activity. We are consuming them because of taste, not because they provide energy.  Ask yourself if we would consume sugars if they provided energy but were bitter.  We are physiologically and instinctively biased to seek out sweet things, which are a heuristic for high energy foods, wherever and whenever we can. That worked for hunter gatherers, but is a huge problem for industrialized people.


    Even from a simplistic biochemical perspective, it’s worth thinking about the differences between fructose, sucrose and glucose which tell us that sugars are processed differently by the body depending on what type they are.  That’s an important clue. 


    At the same time, it also likely that a) sugars are particularly harmful because of current industrial processes in agriculture – for instance they may easily bind pesticides and non organic phosphates which the body then produces an antibody for b) these currently evolved strains of plants that are used to produce sugar have become partially toxic in themselves: sugar produced in the nineteenth century from cane may well have been fine in the small quantities they consumed.  Sugars from gmo sugar beet or high fructose corn syrup is widely accepted as a toxic form of energy outside of the narrow community that gain from producing and selling them.  


    I reiterate, anyone who suffers from regular sugar cravings should be very careful, and try to reduce their refined sugar intake as far as possible.  Also reduce the amount of simple polysaccharides and fructose (sugar from fruit).



    2.    not just currently, they are carbohydrates period.


    With all respect, it might be worth spending a second or two thinking about why I might have said that.  There is mounting research pointing to a deeper understanding here, showing that classical cell bio-energetic models are grossly simplistic due to crude systems modelling and basic lack of knowledge of many cellular processes. It’s really is important to recognize that most fine grained cellular activity remains to be discovered and understood. Hence a reclassification of cellular energy types will in my view happen in the foreseeable future.


    3.    what synthetic sugars are you referring to, we need to define our terms.  


    Synthetic sugars such as those that are largely produced by manufactured chemical processes; artificial sweeteners (aspartame etc), high fructose corn syrup. Refined sugars are partially synthetic and harmful though not completely toxic.



    4.    this is a strange argument, broccoli provides no energy, the brain likes energy and would suggest to prolong its existence by finding it, finding a carbohydrate is faster and easier than fat, carbohydrates didn't create the parasite.  Being alive also feeds parasites.



    According to current macronutrient energy models, broccoli contain 34 calories per 100gms.

    But hang on a second; you’ve substituted the thing I have a problem with (sugar) with something I don’t; carbohydrates generally. I’m not saying that carbohydrates create parasites, or are bad to eat. They are the main source of energy for our bodies! I’m saying that there are types of carbohydrates (processed sugars) that are basically bad for us, certainly in the quantities consumed by westerners today (ca. 170 pounds of refined sugars annually, not including low calorie sweeteners).


    As an aside, I’ve also got an issue here with the ‘faster and easier’ approach – (not in the context of the specific way you’ve used it, but as a cultural meme). It’s a problem I see with the whole ‘hacking’ attitude, which ends up short changing us. Why not take the time and actually master something, rather than adopt the cheaters mentality as a valid approach to exploring existence? I see the ‘faster and easier’ model as partly responsible for getting us into the western health problem in the first place. It’s an attitude that was useful till about 1850.  By 2000, due to industrialization of agriculture and essentially free mechanical energy, faster and easier produces obesity and the epidemic of chronic health conditions across the industrialized world.


    5.    the body is tuned to recognize fuel sources, this has nothing to do with addiction, "craving" may likely mean you need something that you aren't getting.



    ‘The body is tuned to recognize fuel sources..’.  Can you elaborate; are you referring to a cellular level, or a conscious one?  When I get a gut pang I struggle to figure out if its hunger or a sugar craving, or to remember it might be needing water, or to ask if I may be low in some other nutrient I’m not aware of. Or it might be an ongoing issue to do with my experimental attempts to diversify my microbiome.  So its complicated. But usually we don’t have time to think about it, and reach for the bisquit or fast food item that solves the problem so we can get on with our lives.


    But there’s lots of research showing that we are equally at risk of getting addicted to sugars and wheats as we are to alcohol (which has many sugars in it), nicotine, drugs, or gambling.  So some energy sources are addictive and dangerous (sugars, wheats, processed foods generally), and some are not (organic real unprocessed vegetables, etc).




    6.    says who? entertaining this for a moment, then by your own volition, your statements are not only just notions but are in danger of being outrightly refuted as well.


    I’m far from alone.  My statements may well be notions, or ‘just notions’ or both, but if you mean they have no backing via pubmed published papers, you might want to look at that again.  Yes of course they will be outright refuted.  Scientific debate depends on argument and refutation. The sad thing is that few people change their minds in the face of new evidence.


    So I reiterate, in my opinion we are only at the very beginning of an understanding of the workings of the cell. 


    If you’re open to the idea you might enjoy an evening with google scholar on cellular energy conversion and related searches.   One place to start might be here with a paper on  mitochondrial energy absorption of chlorophyll metabolites coming from vegetables:



    7.    carbohydrates are not toxic


    I’m not suggesting they are. I’m suggesting processed, synthetic and refined sugars (as types of carbohydrate) are.  Carbohydrates are essential. I’m not advocating a low carb approach. Just one that derives the significant majority of carbs from natural, whole, unprocessed, genuinely organic (including organic culturation nutrients) vegetable sources.  I also advocate natural resistant starches, and if we want grains, get out and gather wild grasses in season and process them ourselves.


    8.    no it wouldn't, it is the mis-application and over dose that is the issue, but you could also say that the over eating and lack of physical activity, and low muscle mass are the root issues of obesity.


    While I broadly agree with you here, there is a lot of research coming out showing that the microbiome has a considerable influence on adipose tissue behaviour irrespective of other factors. Hence some people can exercise, cut down on calories and not lose weight. IIRC the founder of this website had that problem.



    9.    trajectory of opinion




    10. trajectory of opinion, you could also say that not many people in their fifties are physically active and pay good attention to all aspects of nutrition and lifestyle, that is equally valid.


    Absolutely, but I’m suggesting that the overconsumption of sugars, wheats, and processed foods are key drivers of chronic health issues.  I’m also suggesting that most people who have chronic health issues will struggle to resolve them through lifestyle and exercise if they disregard nutrition.  Yes, some will end up with good health if they consume ‘reasonable’ quantities of sugars, processed foods, and wheat.  But I’m seeing more and more people in their fifties getting sick, and of more concern, people in their 20s.  This is in my opinion largely due to industrialized, processed nutrition along with other toxins in our society.  There just aren’t the same issues in developing countries.   

  • Hunter gatherers needed (and need) a lot of energy, and didn't get it from processed sugars.  To justify sugars based on some kind of tour-de-france like energy requirement seems somewhat outlandish. I know of vegan non sugar consumers who have completed ultramarathons.  But there you go, to each his own.I can see that we really are not going to get much further with this discussion so forgive me if I don't answer your last. 

  • If you eat sugar (monosackarides, disackariedes) or complex carbohydrates (polysackarides) doesn't matter for the body since they all are enzymatically converted to simple sugars (monosackarides) before absorption (unless it's a fiber which we cannot split into monosackarides and therefore not absorb).

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  • If you eat sugar (monosackarides, disackariedes) or complex carbohydrates (polysackarides) doesn't matter for the body since they all are enzymatically converted to simple sugars (monosackarides) before absorption (unless it's a fiber which we cannot split into monosackarides and therefore not absorb).


    Yes, exactly. You've put your finger on it, (at least from my very limited perspective).  If we assume for the moment that the classical model of bioenergetics is correct here  then there is a potentially very interesting contradiction appearing due to the evidence building up that points to the metabolism in both the murine and human models treating the original foods differently. We now know that  both people and mice get more inflammation and get fatter when fed high fructose corn syrup for instance.  To bridge this gap, we would have to look at what is happening to the foods while they are being broken down (prior to absorption) There are many steps of course. The first is informational, and thus relates to the metabolome;  we know that receptors in the tongue signal to the microbiome when they register the sensation of sweet.  But do they distinguish between different sugars at that point?  Then obviously as the simple carbohydrates proceed down the intestinal tract they are broken down into simpler molecular compounds which contain what will become one or more energy components, other nutrients, other metabolites which will affect epigenetics in the gene cycle, bound toxins and then a whole series of informational components that will interact with the metabolome and the microbiome.  This informational aspect is obviously a key area to look.  At the same time though, there is the whole question of how the polysaccharides, mono and bisaccharides affect the lining of the gut, the mucosa and epithelial barrier.  If they are bound to toxins, they are likely have an irritant affect on the epithelial barrier and therefore contribute to  intestinal hyper permeability.  And, if they are incompletely broken down due to issues with the digestive process, they may pass through the compromised epithelial layer and enter the bloodstream, causing the creation of antibodies and thus inflammation.  But what about post -absorption? Of course, there is the whole question of how they are used in the whole bio-energetic pathway downstream.  Following from that, there is the intriguing question of whether any informational component remains at the  point where the metabolic processes decide whether to use the sugar or store it as fat and down stream of that. Does the adipose tissue distinguish between sugars? Can it tell at this point if the original source of the monosaccharide came from High Fructose Corn Syrup or from a potato (in other words, is there any information left?) All these are fascinating questions to look into.

  • staylorstaylor
    edited May 2015

    Perhaps this will seem like a rant, but it's not. And it might feel like it's directed at a single individual, or maybe a few individuals, but it's not. It's something that I've been meaning to post up for a while and I guess I just found five minutes to type a few things this evening, so here I go...


    I don't post much in the Bulletproofexec forums, but I do lurk frequently enough that I think I've got a decent sense of the general culture here, in regards to typical daily threads and typical daily comments. There are some really solid, knowledgeable contributors to this online community that make lurking valuable but... this entire Bulletproofexec forum could be so much better if there was some form of input from 1) A knowledgeable representative within the Bulletproof team, and 2) Some intelligent moderation (Tasked moderators) in each of the sub-forums. Not sure if either will ever happen, it sure would improve things.


    From an outsiders perspective, the two most glaring forum issues I see on a nearly daily basis are:


    1) New member drops in with a bunch of elementary questions, which is of course perfectly fine. New member gets some answers, and maybe reads a magazine article, and within a couple of weeks that same new member is speaking with authority on a subject they are just barely starting to grasp. Sadly, that uninformed advice is being directed towards someone else they know next to nothing about. Limited academic understanding doesn't stand in for well established experiential understanding - and confidently giving (poorly understood) information to someone you don't know is a dangerously misleading approach, and a disservice to the greater community. 


    2) The amount of white noise surrounding relatively simple subjects is pretty constant. I have lost count of how many times a discussion will revolve (devolve?) around the minutiae of 3gms, 3.5gms, or 4gms of Creatine per day and whether or not to split that into three doses or seven doses, when the most pressing matter is the original poster was trying to lose 130lbs and has little to no understanding of what macronutrients are or how ratios work but somehow they got sucked down a rabbit hole of trying to decide whether to buy a bottle of Tyrosine, Threonine, Cystine or Arginine. Hundreds of recent topics that got mired in white noise within the space of 10 responses, all unnecessarily so.


    But like the old saying goes "I don't want complaints, I want solutions." Which I guess takes me back to my initial comment on the need for knowledgeable representation from the Bulletproof Exec team, and some sub-forum Moderators to generally raise the level of community excellence. I find it ironic that a forum created by an organization that prides itself on optimization has such a poorly run forum. 


    Now for credit where credit is due... the excellence that is woven through this forum over the years has been borne on the shoulders of easily identifiable intelligent and compassionate regular posters, n=1 experimenters, constantly seeking the boundaries explorers, and folks that are wiling to go out on a limb and expose themselves to controversy for the sake of learning or community discussion. Thanks to all of you for 'getting it done'. 

  • Eating more fats and protein helps me. Also try MCT oil.

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