Toxic Hunger and Kids

Do you know what toxic hunger is? No, it’s not a comic book villain or a professional wrestler. In Disease-Proof You Child Dr. Fuhrman explains toxic hunger results from feeding children so much calorie-rich food so frequently that children learn to disconnect eating from hunger. Guilty! How many of you, in the past, have gone out for Chinese food at two in the morning?

Dr. Fuhrman believes toxic hunger contributes to obesity and causes people to become bona fide food addicts. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
After enough time goes by continually consuming more calories than they need, children will feel discomfort when they do not have food constantly in their stomach. They must keep their digestive tract going all the time, because the minute it empties, they feel uncomfortable. By the time they become an overweight adult, they are true food addicts.
And the symptoms of food addiction sure smack of drug withdrawals—not that I know what those are like! Here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman’s book:
A few hours after eating, feeling weak, headachy, tired, mentally dull, and stomach cramping or discomfort is not true hunger! These symptoms of stomach cramping and fluttering, headaches and fatigue that begin when digestion is completed I call “toxic hunger” because these symptoms only occur in those who have been eating a toxic diet. These are withdrawal symptoms from an unhealthful diet, and this discomfort is mistakenly interpreted as the need to eat more frequently and take in more calories. Continual eating stops the discomfort, just like frequent coffee drinking stops the headaches from caffeine withdrawal. Your body can’t withdraw from (detoxify and repair) your toxic dietary habits and digest a meal simultaneously. By eating, this detox process is stopped. When we consume a toxic, disease-promoting, our body reacts in an attempt to remove or deal with the damage this unhealthful diet could cause. This concept is called withdrawal. The body attempts to detoxify from a harmful, low-nutrient diet and we feel the symptoms of toxic hunger. We build up more waste products in our cells when we eat unhealthfully, and when the body is not busy digesting, it can attempt to withdraw from or initiate repair mechanisms that result in these uncomfortable symptoms. The disease-building diet most Americans eat drives these symptoms, and these symptoms promote overeating.
So, with all this in mind, get a load of this new report. Researchers found that overweight children are more likely to binge eat than other kids, and, these hefty eaters are hungry again more than an hour sooner than their peers. Reuters has more:
"Children who report binge-eating behaviors appear to have deficits in appetite regulation that put them at risk for the development of obesity," write Margaret C. Mirch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues.
Mirch explains the key to changing this behavior is to teach them to recognize and respond to only true hunger. Not sure what true hunger is? Let’s check back with Disease-Proof Your Child:
True hunger is felt in the neck and throat; where thirst is felt, hunger is a subtle sensation, and when you feel it, almost any food tastes food and satisfies you. True hunger is not felt in the head or belly. When you eat when you are truly hungry, your ability to taste is maximized and food truly tastes better. True hunger marks the time when the digestive juices are ready to be released and the enzyme-secreting glands have had time to refill and are ready for action. Healthy digestion, no indigestion, results. When we eat only when hungry, we also prevent ourselves from becoming overweight and maximize our chances for a long, disease-free life.
Now, if you need help getting your own kids to eat better, check out this podcast: Dr. Fuhrman on Getting Children to Eat Well
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Kathy P - November 7, 2006 8:52 PM

Wow! I have never heard anyone ever say anything like this. My husband is always saying that are kids constantly want to eat! I thought that it was good to feed them smaller meals throughout the day. How would we break our kids from this cycle when they say they are hungry? Can we feed them healthy snacks? We will be lucky enough to see you in Clearwater this Thursday. I hope you can talk more about this topic. We love your website and respect you for all the hard work you are doing!

Linda - November 10, 2006 10:31 AM

Wow, can I relate to binge eating, but as an adult! I found that, while some of it is definitely learned behavior from childhood, and some of it is a stress management tool, the majority of it was improper nutrition. I was surprised by this; I thought it was "me," something wrong with me...a pathetic emotional wreck who couldn't deal with pressures and stress. E.T.L. showed me that a LOT of it was that my poor body was dying for real food. It wasn't being fed. Now that it is, that binge eating and "craving" has gone by the wayside; and I bid it a fond farewell ;D.

Yay! I can post again. I was blocked for so long.

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