This page is based on Dr. Bruce Semon’s book An Extraordinary Power to Heal (2003). This page gives general explanations about how yeast causes food addiction and the related problems of overeating and obesity. For detailed explanations about all of these problems and a day-by-day, week-by-week and step-by-step plan to solving them, we recommend that you read An Extraordinary Power to Heal.
Many patients suffer from feelings that they are not in control of their eating. This problem may be termed food addiction. To understand how to break the food addiction cycle, you need to understand why you get addicted to food.
Let’s start with definitions. Food cravings are extremely strong desires for certain foods. These cravings are so strong that you focus on the craving above everything else. And you focus on food when you no longer need it to sustain you. Addiction results when you lose control and give in to these intense desires regardless of consequences.
I see many patients in my medical practice who are addicted to food, and I help them regain control.
My patients, and people with whom I talk, are most commonly addicted to three types of foods: sugary foods, chocolate, and snack foods that are high in fat and salt, like potato chips. I have heard a lot from “chocoholics,” but have never heard anyone describe themselves as a “grapefruitholic”. Patients never describe addiction to foods like lettuce, grapefruit, blueberries, or even meat. What does this tell us? Food addiction is not about the need for sustenance. Many calorie sources would provide sustenance, but the average food addict would never touch them to satisfy the addiction. So something is unique to the addictive foods that goes well beyond the body’s need for survival.
When we think of chocoholics or food addicts, we think of the bingers–people who can eat huge quantities of food in one sitting. But addiction is not just about eating a gallon of ice cream. Addiction is also about not being able to finish the day without an extra sweet dessert. It is about thinking about chocolate all the time, and searching for that old candy bar at the bottom of a purse. Medical science does not seem to understand these intense urges and addictions.
Why do I call people who crave food “food addicts”? The definition of addiction includes physiological dependency on a substance even when there are significant negative consequences to using or taking in that substance. Despite knowing the consequences, the addict must ingest the substance.
The main obvious consequences of food addiction are weight gain and loss of self control. Hidden consequences include depression, medical problems, loss of energy, and other major problems. Food addiction is legal but its cost is not trivial. Millions of Americans are on weight loss diets at any given time. The weight loss industry is a multimillion dollar industry, but diets and pills do not solve the underlying problem of irresistible cravings. That’s because food addiction has a physiological basis and cannot be stopped by sheer will power. What¹s behind the cravings? What is the physiological basis of food addiction? Food addiction is based in biology, not psychology. No amount of will power will eliminate cravings and addictions. To understand why, you need to understand a little about food chemistry.
Many chemicals in our food affect our brains and can trigger addictive behavior. Unfortunately, the established medical research community basically has never studied how the chemicals in food affect our eating behavior. This lack of medical research truly is tragic. Despite this research gap, my own research, clinical experience with numerous patients, and the data that does exist show that what we eat has a profound affect on every aspect of our lives.
In An Extraordinary Power to Heal (2003), I list with references many of the toxic chemicals found in food. Many of these chemicals sedate or slow down the brain. For example, malt contains twenty chemicals which put the brain to sleep. Malt is a sugar substitute and is baked into almost everything, including children’s breakfast cereals.
Medical studies have shown that chemicals which put the brain to sleep cause release of endorphins. Endorphin release is thought to be pleasurable. Endorphin release is thought to be part of the addictive power of alcohol. Alcohol causes endorphin release, but there are also chemicals in food which may cause endorphin release. Malt contains such chemicals, called alkyl pyrazines. Such chemicals are found in other foods, such as chocolate and potato chips.
If you exclude foods such as malt from your diet, you will no longer be stimulating endorphin release. Then you can regain control over your eating.
In case you are wondering, endorphin release in this context is not helpful. Endorphins slow down your brain. Such chemicals as alkyl pyrazines also put the brain to sleep directly. Your brain would rather be awake. It functions much better awake.
Let me present a case from An Extraordinary Power to Heal (2003). This is the case of a woman who followed the diet in Feast Without Yeast, which excludes foods such as malt. She regained control of her eating.
At 48 years old, Melissa had such bad food cravings she could eat a “red dog running.” She felt–and was–obese, “to the point where I’m dying,”she told me, her doctor. Melissa was an insulin dependent diabetic. She had panic attacks, trouble sleeping, and was up and down all night. Melissa was very depressed, so depressed she felt like she was going to die. She also had many physical problems, including a bad back, and muscle spasms at night. Melissa suffered from alternating diarrhea and constipation, as well as vaginal yeast infections. Her energy was low. Her nerves in her legs were painful, and her legs were swollen. In short, when Melissa came to me she felt terrible.
Melissa desperately wanted to get better. She had tried everything-psychotherapy, dieting, “12 step” programs. Nothing had helped.
Melissa told me that only sheer force of will kept her alive. I determined that Melissa’s real problem was that she was addicted to food. She felt miserable because she was eating the wrong foods, and not eating the right foods. The very foods she craved were failing to satisfy her. They made Melissa crave more and more. They also made Melissa gain weight to the point of obesity; she became depressed, and they contributed to her serious medical problems.
I prescribed the 4 Stages diet, not based on calories and willpower, but based on eliminating food addiction. This diet is fully explained in An Extraordinary Power to Heal, and recipes and menus to implement it can be found in Extraordinary Foods for the Everyday Kitchen and Feast Without Yeast: 4 Stages to Better Health. I also prescribed a very safe, nontoxic medication, nystatin, that killed the yeast inside Melissa. Complete prescription information is in An Extraordinary Power to Heal.
The results were amazing. After only two months, Melissa’s emotional state had improved dramatically. She had lost weight and had much more energy. Her appetite was way down. Gone were her yeast infections and muscle cramping in her legs. She had been able to reduce her insulin dose. Melissa¹s food cravings were way down, too. When she had cravings, they did not last as long. The panic attacks were less frequent and not as severe.
For more help in implementing yeast free diets, please see our books. An Extraordinary Power to Heal (2003) gives you detailed instructions, day by day and week by week, about how to eliminate toxic foods from your diets. We give you the recipes and menus to do this in Extraordinary Foods for the Everyday Kitchen (2003) and Feast Without Yeast(1999).