Giancarlo Caldesi reveals the sweet treats that you can still enjoy if you are addicted to sugar AND carbohydrates

Do you find it more difficult than you thought to give up carbohydrates and change your diet? Do you think you can't just eat a cookie or a piece of chocolate, but instead reach for the package again?

If you really find yourself looking for sweet or starchy things and have trouble chopping, although you know how harmful it can be, then you may be a sugar or carbohydrate addict.

This is not as erratic as it may sound – in my opinion, sugar is a very addictive substance because, when it is digested, it feels & # 39; feel good & # 39; produces chemicals in the brain.

As a doctor, for years I wondered why my advice on & # 39; moderation & # 39; and & # 39; contract & # 39; to help with weight loss seemed so ineffective even after I pointed out the serious health risks of the patient associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Then one day, I realized that some of my very obese patients exhibit similar behavior to others who have difficulty with moderation; such as drug addicts or alcohol. What if they really couldn't just cut back & # 39; cut back & # 39; then someone with an alcohol problem can stop drinking? It would be much more useful if obesity was not only the result of a food choice or greed, but instead was part of a psychological and physical compulsion to eat certain foods.

Dr. David Unwin and chef Giancarlo Caldesi have made a list of recipes, which means that you can still enjoy sweet treats, even if you are addicted to sugar and carbohydrates

Dr. David Unwin and chef Giancarlo Caldesi have made a list of recipes, which means that you can still enjoy sweet treats, even if you are addicted to sugar and carbohydrates

About seven years ago I started a & # 39; middle age spread & # 39; to notice in myself and realized that this was partly due to a nasty snacking habit I had developed. I kept cookies on my desk and I would eat a few all day, especially while waiting for a stressful patient.

When I could easily get through three, although I wasn't hungry, I decided to quit.

I was surprised to find that giving up cookies completely took me a year. When I walked around, I noticed that patients had similar problems, but not always with sweet food. Nowadays I find a new & # 39; bread addict & # 39; about every two weeks.

People for whom even the thought of giving up causes pain. Of course, if you are a happy person who is addictive, you may find it difficult to understand, but you may see that it would help explain why obesity is not just a lifestyle choice for many people but a little more complex.

A number of renowned scientific studies have found that for some people, eating foods with a high GI (those with a high glycemic index, a measurement of how quickly they release sugar into the bloodstream) can cause changes in brain chemistry. and behavior similar to other addictions.


The following, adapted from the Yale Food Addiction Scale, is a tool developed by Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University in 2009 to identify those who display addictive symptoms with food consumption. Consider the following seven statements to see how well your relationship with sugary or starchy carbohydrate foods describes.

1. I have a desire or a strong desire for food.

2. I have more appetite and other physical symptoms of withdrawal when the food is not available. These symptoms are alleviated by consuming that food.

3. I eat the food in larger quantities, or longer than I intended.

4. I want to reduce or completely stop my consumption, but I find that I cannot do this.

5. I spend a lot of time getting or planning the food.

6. I eat the food consistently, although I acknowledge that it causes persistent physical or psychological problems or other damage that results from it.

7. I need to eat larger amounts of food to get the same desired satisfaction.

If two or more of these statements apply to you, you may receive a food or carbohydrate addiction.

Dr. David Unwin believes that sugar is a highly addictive substance, because when it is digested it produces "feel good" chemicals in the brain

Dr. David Unwin believes that sugar is a highly addictive substance, because when it is digested it produces "feel good" chemicals in the brain

Dr. David Unwin believes that sugar is a highly addictive substance, because when it is digested it produces "feel good" chemicals in the brain


In my own case, it became & # 39; cookie problem & # 39; solved by a dual attack – gradual reduction of snacking, along with transfer to less addictive foods; first, ordinary oat cookies, then non-salted almonds or walnuts.

If you are struggling with a sugar or carbohydrate addiction, chances are that gradually reducing your intake will not work for you. If so, you can try a & # 39; cold turkey & # 39; approach.

Plan ahead and choose a day to give up everything that is your problem feed, and prepare for some difficult days where you can feel tired and have a headache. Make sure you drink a lot of water and have a little extra salt during your meals in these early days – you'll see the medical reasons why this tip is so useful in the question and answer on the last page of this supplement.


If the craving is heavy, try a snack instead of whole yogurt with some raspberries, or a handful of almonds or a few squares of 90 percent pure chocolate, which contains very little sugar.

Craving for food is caused by the regions of the brain responsible for memory, pleasure and reward, and can be complex in origin, in the same way as other addictions.

A disturbed balance of hormones such as leptin and serotonin can also cause food shortages. It is also possible that cravings can be caused by the endorphins that are released after someone has eaten – making them want to repeat the pleasant feeling.

Cravings, however, can also be caused by emotional problems, especially if the person eats for comfort or when he is in need.

Physical desires are often time-bound, so if, for example, you can allow yourself to be distracted by taking a walk for 20 to 30 minutes, the urge to eat will of course increase. Be aware of this – and also that the craving will pass on time.

Find other rewards you can focus on: a long, hot bath, your favorite TV series or a chat with a friend.

After a few weeks it is all worth it and you will feel clear and energetic – and perhaps lighter on the scales!

Spiced walnut cake

Depending on the season, you can use the natural sweetness in a carrot or parsnip to make this tasty cake.

The mixture can also be cooked as 20 mini-muffins, which take approximately 12 minutes to cook.

Spiced walnut cake

Spiced walnut cake

Spiced walnut cake


Per serving: Calories, 203; carbohydrates, 10 g; protein, 5.8 g; fat, 15 g; fiber, 3.5g

100 g butter or coconut oil, plus a little more for lubrication

2 medjool dates, chopped

1 medium carrot or parsnip

2 apples

100 g walnuts, minced

4 medium eggs

100 gr ground almonds

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Pinch of crushed cloves

Heat the oven to 180 ° C / gas line 4. Generously generate a medium, loose bottom, shallow 24 cm cake pan.

Using a fork, mash the dates in a bowl with two tablespoons of very warm water to form a paste.

Pour this into a sieve and force it with the back of a spoon into a large mixing bowl.

Discard the remaining skin from the dates.

Grate the carrot (or parsnip) and apples in the bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with a large spoon.

Spoon into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Make sure a toothpick or skewer is clean when inserted – if not, cook for a few minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 20 minutes before you remove it from the tin.

Serve on its own or with a slight spread of cream cheese.

Seed and nut bread

This dense, nutty brown bread has been adapted from Sarah Britton & # 39; s & # 39; Life-Changing Loaf & # 39; recipe, which she developed when she lived in Denmark (see her version on

It is wonderful with butter, cheese or pate. Because it is full of nuts and seeds, it is rich in fat – so don't spot too quickly at once.

Seed and nut bread

Seed and nut bread

Seed and nut bread

MAKES 1 (16 slices)

Per slice: Calories, 162; carbohydrates, 5.1 g; protein, 4.9 g; fat, 12 g; fiber, 6.2g

135g sunflower seeds, plus 1 tablespoon to complete (optional)

90 gr ground linseed

65g hazelnuts or almonds

75g of quinoa flakes or oats

2 tablespoons chia seeds

3 tablespoons psyllium peel powder (from health food stores)

1 teaspoon of fine salt

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, butter, ghee or coconut oil plus extra fat

Put the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir. Add 475 ml of water and your fat choice and stir well with a spoon until a firm dough.

Preheat the oven to 200c / gas mark 6. Grease a bread tin and cover with baking paper with flaps along the sides of the tin to lift the bread out. Spoon the dough into the tin and spread it down, spread over the seed topping (if used).

Let the dough rest for 20 minutes and then bake for 45 minutes.

Slide a knife around the bread, tilt it out of the tin and place it upside down on a rack in the oven so that the heat can flow evenly around it.

Remove the paper. Let it cook for another 30 minutes, until it sounds hollow when touched and feels firm.

Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before you cut it.

If it does not freeze, keep it in a bag or sealed container in the refrigerator or in a cool place for five days.

Scones with strawberry chia jam

These delicious little scones are best cooked in mini muffin forms and served with strawberry chia jam and solidified or whipped cream.

Scones with strawberry chia jam

Scones with strawberry chia jam

Scones with strawberry chia jam


Per scone: Calories, 126; carbohydrates, 1.7 g; protein, 4.1 g; fat, 11 g; fiber, 1.7g

Per serving of jam: Calories, 62; carbohydrates, 6.4 g; protein, 1.2 g; fat, 1.5 g; fiber, 5.1 g

100 gr ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

30 g melted butter

2 tbsp natural yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

For the jam:

300 g strawberries, peeled and roughly sliced

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 180 ° C / gas mark 4. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter, yogurt and vanilla extract and stir, making sure they are well mixed.

Separate the egg and put the white in a large bowl.

Hold the yolk in front of the frosting. Beat the protein to form stiff peaks. Use a spoon to gently fold it into the almond mixture so that as much air as possible remains in it.

Divide the mixture into eight mini-muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.

To make the jam, briefly whisk the fruits, seeds and vanilla in a small food processor to a smooth mass.

Tip in a bowl and cool until ready to serve.

Lemon and blueberry cake

Buttery almond cake meets crisp lemon curd and vanilla whipped cream in this impressive celebration cake.

The smart part is that the proteins make the cake lighter while the remaining egg yolks form the velvety lemon curd.

Lemon and blueberry cake

Lemon and blueberry cake

Lemon and blueberry cake


Per serving: Calories, 470; carbohydrates, 15 g; protein, 8.3 g; fat, 41 g; fiber, 6.1g

For the cake:

2 medjool dates, chopped

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

200 g of ground almonds

35g coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

75 g melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

150 ml whole milk

3 medium proteins

For the lemon curd:

2 medjool dates, chopped

4 tbsp. Water

6 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

Peel of 1 lemon

70 g of butter

4 egg yolks, beaten

To serve:

180 ml whipped cream

150 g blueberries

Heat the oven to 170 ° C / gas mark 3. Grease a baking pan and cover with paper. For the cake, spread the dates in the lemon juice in a microwave for 30 seconds and set aside. Mix the almonds, coconut flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add the melted butter, the vanilla extract and the lemon zest and stir through.

Sift the date puree in the bowl, then add the milk and stir. Beat the proteins together until they form stiff peaks. Mix some of the proteins in the batter to loosen it and then fold in the remaining proteins with a spoon. Spoon the batter into the can and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Place the dates, water and lemon juice in a pan for the lemon curd and bring to the boil, crushing the dates with a fork until they dissolve. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl.

Return the date puree to the pan and stir in the zest and butter.

Rub in the beaten egg yolks while stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. If they are well combined, again gently pan and stir until the curd thickens. Remove it immediately from the heat and let it cool before use.

Use a spatula to spread the cake with a generous layer of lemon curd, plus the whipped cream and blueberries.

Magic muffins

This recipe comes from Katy Threlfall of the low-carb patient group of Dr. ir. Unwin. As a busy mother she makes one for a late breakfast every day or to continue.

The muffins can be eaten as they are or be crowned with crème fraiche and strawberries.

Magic muffins

Magic muffins

Magic muffins


Per serving: Calories, 536; carbohydrates, 15 g; protein, 21 g; fat, 42 g; fiber, 7.5 g

1 egg

1 knob of butter or 2 teaspoons. Extra virgin olive oil

50 g ground almonds

½ teaspoon of baking powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ apple or pear, grated

Mix the egg and fat together in a bowl, then add other ingredients and stir well. Spoon in a cup and microwave at full power for three minutes.


Savory: use the standard recipe, but instead of the apple half a grated zucchini, a pinch of dried oregano, 15 g of grated Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of chopped coriander. After cooking the muffin, cut into slices and top with cream cheese, cherry tomatoes and torn basil leaves.

Chocolate: use the standard recipe and add a teaspoon of cocoa powder, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and pieces of 90% dark chocolate.

Flax seeds and Parmesan crackers

These bite-sized crackers are versatile. They are ideal for packed lunches (we recommend one serving is three crackers), to serve with cheese or pâté, or to use as a low-carb, gluten-free basis for canapés.

Made from seeds and nuts, they fill and are packed with nutrients.

Add dried herbs, spices or seeds for extra taste.

Flax seeds and Parmesan crackers

Flax seeds and Parmesan crackers

Flax seeds and Parmesan crackers


Per serving: Calories, 92; carbohydrates, 0.7 g; protein, 2.1 g; fat, 8.7g; fiber, 1.3 g

50 g sunflower seeds

50g linseed

2 tsp chia seeds

100 gr ground almonds

25g Parmesan cheese

100 g of butter

1 teaspoon of salt

2 tbsp water

1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

1 tablespoon black onion seeds

Heat the oven to 170 ° C / gas mark 3. Cut three pieces of baking paper, the size of a large baking sheet. Put the three types of seeds in a food processor and grind to obtain a flour. Tip in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to form a well-mixed dough and divide into two balls.

Place a ball of dough on one of the pieces of baking paper on a work surface. Place another piece of paper over it and use a rolling pin to flatten to about ½ cm. Use a palette knife to ignore the edges to make a rectangle. Roll again with the top paper in place.

Transfer the base paper with the crackers to a baking sheet. Cut the dough into approximately 24 squares. You don't have to separate them for cooking, because they will separate after they are cooked.

Do the same with the other ball of dough. Bake the crackers for 20-25 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Let cool.

Break the crackers apart (there must be a total of 48, 16 portions) and store them in an airtight container for up to three days.

If they become soft, they can be placed in a hot oven for a few minutes.

Coconut and raspberry squares

Coconut gives a dish a natural sweetness, which means that you can limit any added sugar.

Coconut and raspberry squares

Coconut and raspberry squares

Coconut and raspberry squares


Per serving: Calories, 202; carbohydrates, 4.7 g; protein, 5.4 g; fat, 17 g; fiber, 3.6 g

2 medjool dates, chopped

100 ml of milk, either cows or nuts

100 g of butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

100 g of dried coconut

50 g coconut flour

6 medium eggs

125g raspberries

Put the dates and milk in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute to soften them. Mix and strain the mixture over a bowl; it should form a thick paste.

Add the other ingredients to the bowl and mix. Pour into a baking tin. Bake for 25 minutes on 170c / gas mark 3 or until golden brown.

Allow to cool before you cut into 12 squares.

Brown & # 39; bread & # 39; cups

Use these low-carb rolls to make bacon for breakfast. We love them with garlic butter.

Brown & # 39; bread & # 39; cups

Brown & # 39; bread & # 39; cups

Brown & # 39; bread & # 39; cups


Per serving: Calories, 314; carbohydrates, 1.8 g; protein, 26 g; fat, 26 g; fiber, 6.8 g

½ teaspoon of baking powder

50 g ground linseed

125 g ground almonds

125 gr mozzarella, coarsely grated

3 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon of salt

Mix the ingredients into a dough, divide it into four balls and place them on a baking sheet. Beat them a little bit to a bap shape of about 1.5 cm deep.

Bake for 20 minutes on 180c / gas display 4 or until they feel brown and firm.

Allow to cool before cutting and filling.

Will it be low in carbohydrate to make me feel dizzy? Dr. Unwin answers your most important dietary questions

Q: I have just started my carbohydrate reduction plan and I have dizziness / cramps and feel bad – what do you recommend?

A: The first few days of cutting down on carbohydrates can be difficult. Your system may have been running on sugar for years, so this can be a form of metabolic shock; it takes time to exchange the system instead for burning fat as fuel.

Make sure you drink enough water. Many people feel that they need extra salt for a low-carbohydrate diet. This is because insulin, the hormone made by your body to regulate blood sugar levels, causes you to retain salt – so cutting sugar can result in the secretion of salt in your urine. This salt loss can in turn lower your blood pressure.

When I started on a carbohydrate-restricted diet, I felt dizzy when I suddenly got up because of changes in my blood pressure.

Some people get muscle cramps and weakness. Again, a little more salt can be the cure, and sometimes magnesium supplements help as well. If the problems persist, consult your doctor.

Q: I've done your quiz about how carbohydrates affect our body and I'm afraid I have type 2 diabetes. What should I do now?

A: Contact your doctor. They may want to do a few simple blood tests.

Q: What can I eat for breakfast when cereal and toast are forbidden?

A: Try whole yogurt with nuts and berries; an omelet with cheese; or an English breakfast with eggs, bacon, mushrooms and tomato.

Q: What about when I travel or work?

A: Buy slices of meat, cheese or raw vegetables. Low-carb bread sandwiches are also good, as is a salad box with meat, eggs or cheese. I always travel with some almonds and a bar of dark chocolate for emergencies – the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sugar.

Q: How do I deal with cravings for carbohydrates or sugar?

A: This can be so hard! I replaced sweet snacks with almonds, raspberries or very dark chocolate. Over time my snacking habit died away.

Q: What can I drink?

A: Water (silent or sparkling); tea or coffee, but avoid lattes, because every 100 ml of milk corresponds to approximately one teaspoon of sugar.

You can drink alcohol in moderation – but stick to strong drinks such as gin, whiskey and vodka, which contain less sugar, or red wine. Beer is full of sugar, so much so that my son Rob had the & # 39; liquid toast & # 39; calls.

The UK guidelines recommend alcohol reduction to 14 units per week, but I would drink less if you want to lose weight. I stay at less than four units a week because alcohol makes me hungry.

Q: Can I reverse type 2 diabetes and other health problems by losing weight from a different diet?

A: Yes. Weight loss, no matter how you achieve it, can help type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that, as well as low-carbohydrate diets, low-calorie diets or even bariatric surgery can be effective. Exercise is another important way to improve your health. Research the advantages and disadvantages of each approach with your doctor and then decide what suits you best.

Q: You say you are careful with eating fruit, but this is definitely good for you?

A: It depends on how much fruit and what type. Choose less sugary fruit such as berries over more sugary tropical fruit, such as bananas or pineapples. Consume whole fruits instead of pressing them, which speeds up the release of sugar from the fruit. Beware of dried fruit – 100 g of raisins can be worse in terms of sugar than a few digestive cookies.

Q: How long does it take to see a noticeable change in my health?

A: On average, my type 2 diabetes patients lose weight after three weeks and are surprised not to be hungry.

Q: I am slim but I eat a lot of carbohydrates and sugar. Do I also have to follow a carbohydrate-restricted diet?

A: You can tolerate a carbohydrate and sugar diet, but it's hard to be sure that you're not saving any problems for the future. Twenty percent of UK adults now have liver fat, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Most have no idea that they have it or that it can affect their health.

Q: Will not eating saturated fat be bad for my cholesterol?

A: Going low-carb can mean eating a diet that is higher in full-fat dairy, eggs, and good fats such as olive oil.

I used to worry about the effects on cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease in my patients.

However, I was surprised that their average cholesterol dropped.

This, along with the improved blood pressure and the weight loss they have experienced, may suggest improved heart health.

The debate on saturated fat remains controversial. But a recent review (involving eight studies and 1,600 participants) concluded: & Large randomized controlled trials of at least six months with carbohydrate restriction seem superior in improving lipid markers. [cholesterol and other blood fats] compared to low-fat diets. & # 39;

For anyone with familial hypercholesterolemia, a high cholesterol genetic form, or readers who are concerned about cholesterol, talk to your doctor before starting this new plan.

NOTE: Always consult your doctor before starting a new diet, especially if you are taking prescription medication.

Recipes from Katie Caldesi. The Diabetes Weight Loss Cookbook from Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi has been published by Kyle Books for £ 20.

To order a copy for £ 16 (offer valid until April 27, 2019; P&P free), go to or call 0844 571 0640.