Posted on December 12, 2012
OK, let’s explore a really creepy reason you may crave carbs. And, for you pasta lovers out there, don’t worry, it’s fixable! Many of us are the beneficiaries of what I’ll call the antibiotic nation. Can you remember having antibiotics regularly as a child, whether for strep throat, an ear infection or bronchitis?. If you grew up in the United States, you’ve probably lost count of the number of times that you’ve taken antibiotics.
Don’t get me wrong, antibiotics save lives. However, they’re also overused. While these medicines play valuable roles in managing infections, they also wreak havoc on our guts. This is because antibiotics don’t just kill the nasty bacteria; they also kill the good bacteria in our bodies. These bacteria help us with a broad range of functions, including digestion of food, immune function and production of serotonin.
Killing off the “good guys” can potentially lead to an overgrowth of other bacteria and fungi that normally live in the intestines, but in lesser amounts. When antibiotics are taken and kill off the beneficial gut bacteria, yeast has an opportunity to grow. If this happens enough, we can end up with an overgrowth of yeast (fungi or fun guys) in the intestines which can lead to an amazing range of symptoms including bloating, gas, constipation, foggy thinking, acne and weight gain.
Now here is where it gets really weird. In order to live, yeast organisms feed on sugar, which somehow can throw off your balance enough that you will crave even more sugar and carbs. The more sugar you ingest, the more the yeast grows and the more sugar you then crave, creating an endless cycle.
This one’s a little more difficult to fix, but it can be done. It requires an office visit where we can discuss your diet, how we can discourage yeast growth, and eventually decreasing their population. Then we have to rebuild the various beneficial bacterias, and keep them all in check.
I’ll leave you with this. If you have a craving, assume it’s because you’re actually hungry (rather than a reaction to stress). Eat something with real nutritional value that is minimally processed and still resembles the food it started as. If, after eating, you’re still craving carbs or sugar, it’s possible that there is another issue at play. But don’t give up. It’s definitely something fixable. But you want “fun guys” to sit at the table next to you, not wreak havoc in your gut during dinner.