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Old 01-17-2013, 08:50 PM   #1
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Help with extreme nut cravings!

My cravings for nuts and nut butters are making me crazy. The cravings started way back with peanut butter. I stopped that and switched to almond butter and mixed nuts without peanuts. Things are really no better.
I crave nuts all day long - so badly I can hardly stand it.
I'm down to my last 10 pounds and for me to lose weight at all, my calories really need to be under 1700/day. Nuts just don't fit in to that.
The cravings are really as bad as my nicotine cravings were when I quit smoking many years ago. I really want to kick these cravings - because living with them is uncomfortable and distracting. Giving in to them just causes me to gain weight.
Help!
What do I do? Go entirely nut free immediately - cold turkey?
Even when having no nuts or nut butters for several days, the cravings are still taunting me all day long. Will they eventually go away?
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:34 PM   #2
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I've always had portion control issues with nuts and cheese. In fact, whilst I haven't gone off LC since June last year, I actually regained the weight I lost just because I was binging on allowed foods. I also managed to overeat on nuts and seeds so badly I woke up from sleep later on, rushing to the bathroom overcome by nausea and involuntary purging. (I am not bulimic, by the way.)

I'm currently on the Whole30 and though nuts are allowed on it, the lack of dairy is really helping me in that whilst I used to binge on cheese - "legal" snacks... - I'm not even missing cheese. I did have some walnuts but it didn't feel particularly uncontrolled and I don't really crave nuts at the moment either.

Maybe you're like me? It's far easier for me to cut stuff out entirely rather than portion it out properly, sigh.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:54 AM   #3
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I've been through a 'process' with nut butters, so there's hope that you might one day be able to enjoy them again.

With a strong craving for a food with which I know I have no control, I have to abstain totally. I know that if I gave into my old cravings for PB, I'd finish the jar before the end of the day. So I never bought it.

Then, after a few months, I'd crave it and believe I could 'handle' it--only to discover that I couldn't. Since managing my weight is my top priority, and there was clearly a connection between PB or almond butter and weight gain, it helped me abstain--for a while.

Then I needed to decide. If I had no control, I could never have it. I eat no sweets at all, a a teasp. of PB with a cup of coffee was an afternoon 'treat.' But unless I could retain control, I'd have to give that up entirely.

When that was my choice--control or abstinence--guess what? I gained some control. This has been a process of many months, so it's possible that you, too, can gain control. This is all 'mental,' and when you get into the mindset that works for you, you can handle any food. The problem is finding that place. It's not easy, but nothing worthwhile is truly easy.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:40 AM   #4
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I had to stop buying nuts. I could not portion control them. I went cold turkey. easiest for me because I tried all ways to 'eat just a few' and nothing worked.

no more in the house for a long time til maybe I finally cut the draw to them and can portion control them.

I have no good answer for you other than cold turkey is working for me. I can eat a whole bag/can of nuts in a flash. ate whole cans many times. So for me it was best to just stop buying them. Haven't had nuts in about 2 months or so and I lived
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:15 AM   #5
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Based on past experience, I'm also not touching nuts for a long, long time. Cheese has to be limited and only with full meals. I've learned this the hard way! Too bad, since they are both so yummy.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:18 AM   #6
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That kind of craving can be the sign of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, too. Here's some info on almonds (as an example) :

almonds nutritional information
1 ounce (23 whole nuts) of raw almonds contains 6.02 grams protein, 163 calories and 3.5 grams of dietary fiber.

Minerals
Potassium - 200 mg
Phosphorus - 137 mg
Calcium - 75 mg
Magnesium - 76 mg
Iron - 1.05 mg
Selenium - 0.7 mcg
Zinc - 0.87 mg
Manganese - 0.648 mg
Copper - 0.282 mg
Also contains a small amount of other minerals.

Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - 0.06 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - 0.287 mg
Niacin - 0.96 mg
Folate - 14 mcg
Pantothenic Acid - 0.133 mg
Vitamin B6 - 0.041 mg
Vitamin E - 7.43 mg
Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:58 AM   #7
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You are not alone in this. I have had 'issues' with some nuts and read many others have too. If your cravings are not manageable, I would banish all nuts for now. Maybe in the future you could attempt raw, unsalted almonds or mac nuts. I think the carb count is pretty high if one goes over the recommended serving size and that it creating the problem. Salt makes them more addictive.

Dottie makes a very good point and I would be sure to be taking a good multi vitamin.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:03 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. I appreciate the responses. I ate some nuts last night to relieve the cravings and felt wonderful after. Sigh. Now I start back the clock on convincing my body to live without them.
I do take a multivitamin, extra vitamin C, and magnesium.
Does anyone think it could be a craving for fiber?
I seriously limit what I eat to try to control calories. Some days it is just meat and black coffee. Yesterday I had leftover meat all day and a simple mixed green salad with italian dressing. For a while I was having 2 squares of 90% chocolate. I enjoy that but do not struggle with any cravings for it. However the calories are high, so I really think to lose weight I need to skip all nuts, nut butters, and chocolate. To give myself *something* after dinner, I've recently tried a cup of coffee with some cream and Truvia. I'm pretty sure other artificial sweeteners I've tried stimulate hunger and many have reported Truvia is better. Maybe that's not the case? And I just cant have any artificial sweeteners? Another thought is that the nuts themselves stimulate hunger. I made some almond flour crepes a few times (several weeks ago) and found myself ravenous at the end of the day.
I really want to get my hunger under control, get this weight off, and get into maintenance mode where maybe I won't have to live hungry all the time. I really enjoy eating LC, I just hate living with hunger all the time. At this point, I can't even begin to express how frustrating it is to eat very low carb, feel hungry all the time, and still not lose weight because I can't get my calories low enough.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:08 AM   #9
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It is a possibility that you are consuming too much protein. I think sometimes, people get into a 'corner' when they give too much credit to calories. As an alternative, you could check out the nutritional ketosis thread.

Nutritional Ketosis / High Fat, Low Carb - Low Carb Friends

You have done so well and are so close to your goal! Congrats on your success to date.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:12 AM   #10
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Since I have been doing extreme low carb I have noticed an increase in sensitivity to the carbs in nuts, cream cheese, sour cream and vegetables. I had a salad for dinner the other night and told my husband I felt like jumping in the bowl and rolling around in it, it tasted so good. One thing that helps me, is when I get a craving a eat something that contains mostly fat, it kills my craving. A beverage with heavy cream in it, usually works well.

Having said that though, I'm not sure cutting them completely out of your diet is the answer. You could try a LC peanut sauce over LC veggies or chicken to help with the cravings, that is one of my favourites.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DressageLover View Post
My cravings for nuts and nut butters are making me crazy. The cravings started way back with peanut butter. I stopped that and switched to almond butter and mixed nuts without peanuts. Things are really no better.
I crave nuts all day long - so badly I can hardly stand it.
I'm down to my last 10 pounds and for me to lose weight at all, my calories really need to be under 1700/day. Nuts just don't fit in to that.
The cravings are really as bad as my nicotine cravings were when I quit smoking many years ago. I really want to kick these cravings - because living with them is uncomfortable and distracting. Giving in to them just causes me to gain weight.
Help!
What do I do? Go entirely nut free immediately - cold turkey?
Even when having no nuts or nut butters for several days, the cravings are still taunting me all day long. Will they eventually go away?


Im right with ya on this one, I love p-butter, almonds, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds..... mixed nuts I will go overboard on for sure... p-butter is a great snack, I'll take like two big spoon fulls and some water when I hungry between meals...as for the control factor, I just watch my portion sizes, but I will not give them up
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:32 AM   #12
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With such intense cravings you could actually have a food intolerance or a slight allergy to them. My doctor told me that often we crave the foods that we are allergic to because the immune system response to those foods gives us a little high. I am not supposed to eat a lot of onions and occasionally I can't stop myself from eating a ton of them because sometimes I get a kind of numb feeling after eating them.

I would suggest cutting out all nuts., If you avoid the food for a while the cravings should go away.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
When that was my choice--control or abstinence--guess what? I gained some control. This has been a process of many months, so it's possible that you, too, can gain control. This is all 'mental,' and when you get into the mindset that works for you, you can handle any food. The problem is finding that place. It's not easy, but nothing worthwhile is truly easy.


I know someone already said this, but please check out the NK thread. That could be the answer that you are looking for. Nobody can sustain a way of eating if they are hungry and miserable all of the time. Upping your fat and lower your protein is a good way to get rid of the hunger.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:15 PM   #14
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With such intense cravings you could actually have a food intolerance or a slight allergy to them. My doctor told me that often we crave the foods that we are allergic to because the immune system response to those foods gives us a little high. I am not supposed to eat a lot of onions and occasionally I can't stop myself from eating a ton of them because sometimes I get a kind of numb feeling after eating them.

I would suggest cutting out all nuts., If you avoid the food for a while the cravings should go away.
This also occurred to me. I developed a food intolerance to dairy a few years ago, and the first sign of that was that I craved it like crazy. I gave it up for 3 weeks, tried a serving, and the food intolerance symptoms--so exhausted that I could only stagger off to sleep for hours--showed up immediately. After giving up dairy for 9 months--not even a taste!--I could eat dairy again without negative symptoms. Give the abstinence for 3-4 weeks followed by 1 serving test a try and see what happens.

It's also possible that you are craving the salt that usually accompanies nuts. I cheated slightly on Atkins induction by eating an ounce of salted almonds/day; I wasn't sure why I wanted them so badly, but in retrospect, I think my body was craving the salt. Try drinking a well-salted cup of broth every day and see if the cravings for nut products goes away.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:23 PM   #15
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Interesting. I can't help you, but I did once have this crazy obsession with eating plain peanut butter all the time, I was on Zyprexa. Zyprexa also caused high blood sugar. I have heard that other people on Zyprexa also had this same weird thing. I don't even like peanut butter that much and I've never been into nuts. I do, however, like to snack on sunflower seeds and almonds, but not regularly.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #16
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I also think the food allergy thing sounds like a stretch, I'd like to see some citations for that! Sounds like a wives' tale to me!
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:43 PM   #17
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I also think the food allergy thing sounds like a stretch, I'd like to see some citations for that! Sounds like a wives' tale to me!
It's not, I actually read research on it as well but now can't find the article. It's just the same way when you are fasting you can feel euphoric or a runner's high that makes people keep running even though they can be beyond the point of safety and actually be damaging their body.

I'm gonna look for it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:49 PM   #18
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I am not sure anymore what we can link to so just search for food allergies histamine endorphins and you will find how it works and why we crave foods we are allergic to because they create a soothing reaction.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:26 PM   #19
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I also think the food allergy thing sounds like a stretch, I'd like to see some citations for that! Sounds like a wives' tale to me!
A physician whom I saw repeatedly, about seven years ago, collected very complete information about his patients and asked what their favorite foods were as part of a very thorough questionnaire. I asked him why he asked that, and he said that people often crave those foods that they have some level of intolerance to. I did a bunch of reading about food intolerance after I was diagnosed with intolerance to cow dairy products (diagnosed by avoiding the food for 3 weeks and then reintroducing it), and the point was made in some of those sources also (perhaps in Jonathan Brostoff's Food Allergies and Food Intolerance book, but I don't recall for sure).
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:47 PM   #20
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yeah but there are a lot of people who don't have food allergies who also have extreme cravings, no? I guess I'm just really cynical about these things without better hard evidence and a mechanism. I am equally cynical about everything, and I think it's a good idea to be cynical about low carb, too... some day, the science might figure something else out.. I just think it's a good idea to question things.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:49 PM   #21
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I am not sure anymore what we can link to so just search for food allergies histamine endorphins and you will find how it works and why we crave foods we are allergic to because they create a soothing reaction.
I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just like to see people making decisions based on science as opposed to hearsay, and I think it's wise to question things. I'm not interested in articles unless they are peer reviewed and widely accepted.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:04 PM   #22
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Is there enough fat in your diet? I upped my fat intake to include an avocado a day and really don't crave anything anymore.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:04 PM   #23
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I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just like to see people making decisions based on science as opposed to hearsay, and I think it's wise to question things. I'm not interested in articles unless they are peer reviewed and widely accepted.
it is science based, the pathway is known- foods that you are allergic to make your body release histamines and endorphins, which then make you feel good and are a reason to keep eating that food. Just like runners keep running even though they should definitely stop because their body is releasing endorphins.

People crave foods for many reasons, this is just one explanation of why someone would keep eating a food they have some intolerance for.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:28 AM   #24
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Personal anecdote: I don't know much about my own food intolerances, but I do know that I have a BIG problem with nut butters, and nuts in general.

I can't buy peanut butter because I think about it all day and crave it. Also, if I eat too much, after a few weeks, I start to develop very itchy skin - sporadically itchy.

So, I can't even buy it anymore. Even though I know excessive amounts make me itchy, I can't stop eating it. I was quite sad to find that it was the peanut butter making me itchy - I was hoping it was the coconut or avocado!

In general, you are very tall and getting quite thin - your body is going to hold onto those last lbs. for life. If I were you, I'd go into maintenance and focus on weight lifting. This would allow you to lose those lbs and re-sculpt your body. I used to constantly try "losing the last 10 lbs" with a calorie deficit - but my body said NO. You will probably need to approach this end phase of your weight loss from a different angle. Just my opinion.

But, if I had a dime for every comment "Help! I just need to lose 10 more lbs", I'd be rich.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:19 AM   #25
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Sunflower seeds, maybe? The carb count for a pack of fritolays regular is 4 grams, 3 grams of fiber for a net total of 1 gram.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:30 PM   #26
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For all of the NK advocates - my menu runs around 65-70% fat as it is.
To control calories at even higher fat is less food. That's a tough idea to follow as hungry as I am.

While I love fatty snacks like cream cheese with macadamias, I can eat that and still want to chew my leg off an hour later. The best, most filling food I've found is a can of white tuna (love the Costco stuff!) with 2 tbs of mayo in it. I can go for hours on that. Any further thoughts?
Many thanks to all of you for your thoughtful replies. A great group of people here!
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:24 AM   #27
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Cold turkey would be my suggestion. Sure its tough, but so is living in a body that we feel crappy about. The cravings will go away; you just have to tough it out. Easier said then done I know, but you've done well so far, so you do have it in you to beat those nuts! Good luck. Personally, the minute I eat something that I absolutely find myself craving even while I'm eating it goes into my NEVER EAT THAT AGAIN! file.
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