What Foods Do I Have To Take Out Of My Diet?
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What Foods Do I Have To Take Out Of My Diet?

Issue No. 35 | Brought to you by the Addiction Reset Community – ARC
Unlocking the secrets of processed food addiction and guiding you to find freedom from food and weight obsession.

So what really has to be removed from your food plan if you want to be safe from processed food addiction? Let’s begin by first unpacking the word “safe”.


Safety in recovery means freedom from cravings and food obsession. Feeling safe means that you can go to bed at night without any regrets about the food choices you made throughout the day. Safe also means having a plan when you wake up every morning and following through on it throughout the day.


Are there specific foods that make us unsafe?

Yes, there are foods that drive cravings and loss of control, which are not merely “unhealthy”, but are bad for us and damaging to our health. Foods we should not be eating at all, not even in moderation. 


What follows is an opinion on harmful foods, based on the understanding of the research by Dr Joan Ifland (PhD), lead author and editor of the textbook Processed Food Addiction:  Foundations, Assessment and Recovery. Many of these foods are eliminated from food plans suggested by food addiction recovery programs like the Addiction Reset Community.


  • Sugar and Sweeteners: All kinds of sweeteners, whether natural or artificial, are linked to a range of health problems. Research shows an impact on dopamine function which may be associated with mood swings. The dopamine highs and crashes lead to further cravings and overeating. Brain MRIs reveal that Sugar alters the brain similarly to cocaine. High fructose corn syrup has been compared to corn alcohol in terms of its impact on people.
  • Wheat & Flours: Modern wheat has a gluteomorphin which may be associated with irritable bowels and mood disorders.  We also exclude close relatives of wheat including kamut, rye, and spelt. Once a plant has been ground into a powder such as flour, it is absorbed into our system quickly creating imbalances which our body works hard to overcome. Gluten can activate the opiate pathway in the brain causing a ‘high’ and subsequent crash. Research also reveals an association between gluten and mood disorders as well as with Type 1 diabetes.
  • Excessive Salt: Excessive salt is associated with several health problems including high blood pressure, swelling, and asthma.  The moderate use of mineral salt is supported by research.
  • Processed fats: Transfats are associated with heart disease. Processed fats are also highly palatable and cause overeating.
  • Dairy: Dairy products are composed of lactose (sugar), fat, and casomorphin.  Dairy is designed to make a baby calf grow from 100 to 600 pounds in a year. 
  • Caffeine: Caffeine is associated with fatigue and mood swings including irritability and sleep problems. Caffeine appears to have a 2-3 week withdrawal syndrome.
  • Soy: Soy has been associated with hormone imbalances.
  • Genetically modified corn: Insecticides have been genetically inserted into corn. 
  • White Potato: White potatoes are the first ingredients in French fries and loaded baked potatoes.  They are a high-glycaemic food. 
  • Nuts: Nuts are commonly paired with salt which can make it easy to overeat them.  They are high in fat and can contain psychoactive chemicals. 
  • Puffed Grains:  Puffed grains include rice cakes and popcorn.  The structure of the grain is altered which makes it difficult to digest. 
  • High-sugar fruits and dried fruits:  These include cherries, grapes, bananas, mango, papaya, etc. In carbohydrate-sensitive individuals, it is believed that high-sugar fruits and dried fruits are associated with sweet cravings.


It may not be possible for everyone to abstain from all these food substances at once. It’s okay to work a recovery plan that removes these substances one, or a few, at a time. An effective recovery support group will help you to achieve control at a pace that is best for you while managing symptoms of withdrawal and building recovery skills that will ensure long-term abstinence from these harmful foods. 


Within the Addiction Reset Community (ARC) our members and their journeys are important to us. We find their stories inspiring and hopeful for everybody in health recovery.

“Thank you for creating the ARC. I haven’t felt the support and positivity that I now have in the ARC for a very long time! The people who host the meetings always know just what to say to help after a lapse or struggling through a difficult situation. My Advocate told me the ARC could help me reduce the stress in my life, and she was right!! Talking things out and listening to others’ shares has brought a calmness and clarity to me that I haven’t felt in a long time."


Many people reach out to Joan asking for advice and assistance on how they can begin their recovery journey.

Dear Joan,

I have managed to get rid of processed foods but why am I still overeating clean food?


Joan responds: 

Firstly, I must congratulate you on getting rid of the harmful processed foods from your diet. This is a huge accomplishment and is highly beneficial to your health. One of the reasons people may overeat clean food is revealed in the research, which shows that when the stomach is stretched it releases serotonin. Serotonin travels to the brain and attaches to serotonin receptors resulting in a serotonin ‘high’. Abstaining from processed food is 20% of the recovery process but typically, people recovering from a severe food addiction also need support to manage the triggers and cues that drive overeating. For example, finding an alternative way to manage stress without turning to food.


Dr Joan Ifland (PhD) is a global expert on the subject of processed food addiction and is not a medical doctor. Information and response shared in this Newsletter are not intended for, and should not be construed as medical advice.

Do you have a question? Reach out to us with your questions about food addiction and recovery at  gethelp@foodaddictionreset.com

 Are you showing signs of Processed Food Addiction? Take this self-quiz to find out now!

Recent copies of Dr Joan Ifland's Blog:

Issue 01 | Issue 02 Issue 03 | Issue 04 | Issue 05 | Issue 06 | Issue 07 | Issue 08 | Issue 09 | Issue 10 | Issue 11 | Issue 12 | Issue 13 | Issue 14 | Issue 15 | Issue 16 | Issue 17 | Issue 18 | Issue 19 | Issue 20 | Issue 21 | Issue 22 | Issue 23 | Issue 24 | Issue 25 | Issue 26 | Issue 27 | Issue 28 | Issue 29 | Issue 30 | Issue 31 | Issue 32 | Issue 33 | Issue 34 


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