Can't Beat the Fat and Sugar Cravings? Four Steps to Help You Kick Your Addictions

Dr. Oz offers four steps to help detox your liver so you can lose weight.

February 02, 2011, 3:14 PM

Feb. 3, 2011 — -- Do you feel like you can't lose weight because you can't stop eating cakes, cookies and French fries? If you can't beat your cravings, you could be addicted to sugary and fatty foods.

To kick your addiction, you have to detox your liver, said Dr. Mehmet Oz of "The Dr. Oz Show."

Oz appeared on "Good Morning America" today to share the following four steps for detoxing your liver:

Step 1: Replace grains with broccoli or cauliflower for one week, and eat garlic, chives and leeks.

Step 2: For withdrawal, take a Vitamin B complex and 1,000 mg a day of chromium picolinate.

Step 3: Eat meat in a 4:1 ratio, limiting it to a quarter of your protein. Also eat leafy greens and citrus.

Step 4: Address emotional eating: Emotional hunger is sudden, while physical hunger is gradual.

Q: Isn't the word 'addiction' a little over the top when it comes to things like baked goods and burgers?

A: Not at all, Oz said. Sugary and fatty foods affect the pathways to the brain in the same way as heroin or cocaine. Sugar acts directly in the brain to inhibit the effect of leptin and increased appetite so you never feel full. So then you keep eating, and you become leptin-resistant, he said. What you need to do is break the addiction by detoxing the liver, which has stopped metabolizing fat properly. Sugar consumption causes fat to build up in liver cells, which decreases the liver's ability to metabolize fats and sugars and detoxify your body.

Q: So what's the first step to getting back on track?

A: You need to detox the liver so it can start to metabolize fats properly. For one week replace all grains with cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower to clean out your liver, Oz said. Bulk up on foods from the allium family -- garlic, chives, leeks -- because they are full of flavonoids.

Q: And just as people do with cigarettes or drugs, do you actually go through withdrawal?

A: You do, Oz said. He advised that people take some supplements to help with sugar withdrawal and carb cravings. Chromium picolinate -- 1,000 mg daily -- can help with sugar withdrawal, he said. Vitamin B complex, 100 percent daily allowance, helps with carbohydrate cravings, he added.

Q: You also recommend specific foods that combat toxins.

A: There are anti-inflammatory strategies that combat toxins in your liver. Anti-inflammatories wean us from fat and sugar because they not only help the liver detox in a natural way, but also counteract harmful inflammation caused by belly fat, Oz said. He said people should eat meat in a four-to-one ratio (that means four portions of white meat, fish or tofu to one portion of red meat). Also, leafy greens and citrus fruits contain vitamin C that boosts your innate antioxidant system, he said.

Q: People eat for emotional reasons as well, right?

A: You need to address the emotional eating that keeps you from being thin, he said, adding that it helps to recognize that emotional hunger onset is sudden and urgent, while physical hunger is gradual and patient. Emotional hunger can't be satisfied with food, but physical hunger can. Now, research shows that just imagining eating food can actually help you consume less of it, and then makes the food less desirable. The key to stopping is to eat what you want, not what you think you want, and to eat it consciously so that you stop when you're full, Oz said.

Putting down your fork between bites is a simple action step, but it's tough to break the chains of food addiction on our own. Oz mentioned that his show on Monday would include a discussion with hypnotist Paul McKenna about the idea of people imagining their thinner selves.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.

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