When people partake of food packed with salt, oil and sugar, it triggers the pleasure trap, which can eventually make one fat or sick. It’s a dangerous path and one that Dr. Alan Goldhamer expressed caution about in the 2020 Truth about Weight Loss summit.
He espouses a whole-food plant-based diet that is salt-, oil- and sugar-free (SOS-free).
“Incidentally, ‘SOS’ is also the international sign for danger,” said Goldhamer. “Salt, oil and sugar are not actually foods; they are food by-products that have been concentrated and added to actual food in order to stimulate dopamine production, eliciting the response we know as pleasure. More dopamine, more pleasure.”
He is aware that escaping the pleasure trap is difficult as our brains have been conditioned to seek out the most concentrated form of food. As a result, we will always be attracted to the richest food available.
“The good thing is that the minute you start eating a health-promoting diet, the negative effects and tendencies that usually come with being overweight decrease, even before you’ve lost all the weight you need to lose,” he said.
Goldhamer stressed that passive salt overconsumption can lead us to eat more fat. “If you’re addicted to salt, it’ll take about a month on a low-sodium diet before you lose your desire for it. Taste adapts. You’ll find conventionally salted food less appealing as time goes by. Fat takes about three months before you can neuro-adapt on a lower fat diet.”
Since sugar and flour are low in fiber, they alter the gut microbiome.
“Right now, you have about 5 pounds of bacteria living, eating and pooing inside you. If you feed your gut bacteria soluble fiber like sweet potatoes and starchy vegetables, you get fertilizer like Vitamin K and other nutritious substances. If you feed them meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy or sugar, you get toxic waste like TMA (trimethylamine) or TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), which causes cancer, heart disease and other problems,” he said.
Goldhamer said the most powerful way of breaking these cycles of overeating is by water fasting in a professional facility. “Intermittent fasting is also beneficial. If you’re sedentary and older, maybe an eight-hour feeding window is enough. If you’re younger and more active, a 10- to 12-hour window is more necessary. The idea is to limit the ‘entertainment eating,’” he said.
To jump-start and sustain weight loss, fill up on salads, steamed vegetables and fresh fruit before reaching for the more concentrated rice meals.
“Eat about a pound of the ‘less desirable’ salad first while you’re hungry so you don’t overindulge in your rice treat,” advised Goldhamer.—CONTRIBUTED INQ