There are many causes for substance abuse. It can come from biology, genetics, peer pressure, one’s environment, and mental sickness. Another cause for substance abuse that is only now being explored is one’s diet. A diet can indicate if a person will be likely to develop a substance abuse problem and can also prevent it. How does a diet predict this? Why is nutrition and diet linked to substance abuse?
I had a chance to interview Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading
nutritionist, author, and founder and CEO of Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating & Drinking (NAMED), a nutritional program that
works with addiction withdrawal.
What role does diet play in substance abuse?
person with substance abuse is more likely to relapse when they are
malnourished. This is why regular meals are important. Some research
suggest drug and alcohol addiction causes a person to forget what it is
like to be hungry and they may crave their addictive substance instead
of proper food.
What kinds of foods can contribute to substance abuse and addiction?
Foods that could exacerbate an addiction include:
Consuming coffee has been shown to cause opiate receptor binding. This
further explains why most people who drink coffee drink it daily and if
they consume more than 24 ounces daily, they would have withdrawal
symptoms if they stopped. Excessive consumption of coffee and caffeine
can cause anxiety, autoimmune pain disorders, inflammation, and sleep
disturbances. Eliminating coffee and other caffeinated substances from
the diet will help reduce the opiate response.
Sugars- Research on mice has shown that their body reacts to sugar
through opiate receptor binding. The opiate receptors react to sugar
just like it does to addicting substances, which also increase the
opiate receptor binding activity. Those who are regularly exposed to
sugar tend to consume 30% more calories daily then those who eat a
balanced diet, that is not particularly high in sugar, this is measured
specifically through opiate receptor binding. Aim for more complex
carbohydrate sources like quinoa, steel cut oats, sweet potatoes, flax
seed, to name a few.
Sweeteners- Also, avoid chemically based non-calorie sugar substitutes
(except pure stevia), these include, saccharin, aspartame, and
sucralose. Non-calories sugar substitutes are typically found in drinks,
and diet marketed foods like yogurts, nutrition bars, frozen meals and
desserts. Although these sweeteners are not full of calories, our brain
still recognizes that there is something sweet inside of our body and it
instinctively sends a signal to the pancreas to secrete insulin.
has become a common intolerance both mild and more severe with those
who suffer from Celiac Disease. Experts believe that the low nutrient
over processed broken down wheat in our mainstream cooking flour has
caused us to become intolerant to gluten, resulting from compromised gut
function. The gut and gastrointestinal system is the body’s dashboard
for good health, containing healthy bacteria that help keep unhealthy
bacteria levels at bay. In reference to addiction, research has also
revealed that gluten like sugar has a similar increased opiate receptor
activity. The brain tissue in mice revealed an increase in opiate
response, specifically when gluten was consumed.
Essential Foods for Addiction Recovery Include:
dark leafy green vegetables and dark fruits like berries- They are
loaded with vitamins, minerals, (including Iron) fiber and water. All
of these nutrients help maintain a metabolic balance resulting in
decreased cravings and suppressed opiate receptors. The fiber and water
help reduce hunger, resulting in better portion control and increase
the ability to maintain optimal weight.
and other cold-water fish, extra virgin olive oil, and cold pressed
coconut oil- Healthy fats reduce inflammation, nourish brain cells, and
help improve satiety. A diet low in fat for a prolonged period of time
can decrease the ability to focus while increasing inflammation
resulting in stimulation of opiate receptors.
Hydroxide water- consuming hydroxide water that lowers acidity within
the body(by combining with the hydrogen protons that cause acidity,
forming water) will also decrease inflammation, promote optimal
metabolism, while increasing oxygen and energy levels thus increasing
the ability to focus.
If someone is concerned about a loved one's substance abuse problem, where can they find help adjusting diet?
is the only program that specifically targets the opiate receptors
which cause the cravings of addiction. It also targets inflammation,
created by acidosis (low PH) which causes large insulin fluctuations,
resulting in sugar cravings and stimulating the opiate receptors.
Specifically designed menus and pure hydroxide alkaline water are used
to drastically reduce these symptoms. Basically all of these patients
are in addiction or rehabilitation facilities or working with medical
professionals, where strong controls are very important. If you go to
the web site www.namedprogram.com, you can download a free one week
menu with recipes that can help with substance abuse.