Husband and wife scientist team Drs. Rachael and Richard Heller introduced the term “Carbohydrate Addict” in their 1993 book The Carbohydrates Addict’s Diet. The idea is that some people are addicted to carbohydrates just like alcoholics are addicted to alcohol and drug addicts are addicted to drugs. This addiction causes strong cravings, insulin resistance and weight gain.
Dr. Rachael Heller developed the diet to eliminate her own obesity and had maintained her dramatic weight loss for more than twenty years by the time the first book was written. The Heller’s believe that insulin imbalance caused by carbohydrates causes the body to crave more food and interferes with serotonin release that would signal that the body is full. This leads to overeating and weight gain.
The Heller’s recommend that the carb addict should limit his or her carb intake to a “reward meal”, eat three times per day and avoid snacks until the person is out of the weight loss phase of the diet.
In addition to the diet plan, the Hellers also cover psychological triggers that can cause carb addicts to binge on carbs and gain weight. They encourage dieters to identify personal emotional triggers and how to avoid these triggers to help lose weight.
One of the most important theories of this diet is that being overweight is not the fault of the obese person. Why? Because the person’s biology and the addictive power of carbohydrates is working against them.
Like all other low carb plans, the Hellers recommend that processed foods and many types of sugar should be avoided. However, they also state that some starchy carbs should be eaten with reward meals if desired so that the dieter will be more likely to stick with the diet for the long-term.
The Heller’s believe that carb addiction is treated over the long-term with good nutrition and proper diet, but it is never cured and carb addicts must be vigilant to prevent future weight gain and carb binges.