Opioid Overdoses – Higher Than Ever

COVID hit our country hard. Americans everywhere went to great lengths to avoid the virus. We saw many of our neighbors, friends, and family deal with isolation, anxiety, and depression. And for the 20 million Americans struggling with substance use, life is harder than ever. How can we help? More than 80,000 Americans died from an overdose in last year’s report—a new record. As the world recovers from a pandemic, we’re walking into an opioid epidemic that’s worse than ever . . .

  • When clinicians, trained in the nutritional/biochemical approach, DO ask their clients when was the last time they ate protein prior to their craving or slip, the answer is consistently that at least one meal was skipped, of not several. 
  • People with a history of chronic relapse report consistently report that they don’t pay much attention to what they eat, and tend to regularly skip meals. They further report having NEVER been taught that it matters!
  • Conversely, when these same clients start eating 20 grams of protein every 4 hours, they report a significant decrease in cravings and recurrent use, and a much more stable experience in recovery. 
  • Finally, eating simple carbohydrates including sugar, and other substance use disorders work through similar neural pathways, and substance use disorders can cause nutritional problems, therefore nutritional interventions should be further studied and used as a low cost clinical intervention that can support long-term recovery from addiction. Down the road we hope to raise enough money to fund research further supporting the role of nutritional intervention in robust recovery. 

A solution from the kitchen table

Good news! There’s reason to hope. We are creating an opportunity to educate the world about a commonsense solution – nutritious, healthy food eaten regularly. 

One of the simplest, most widely accessible ways to support vibrant recovery is within everyone’s reach. The message is clear that eating protein every 4 hours within a well balanced diet significantly reduces cravings. This has been researched for over 60 years, this incredible research and clinical experience is not well known. 

Hospitals, recovery centers, and state substance use agencies have always struggled to provide successful treatment. Now is the time to tell everyone the good news about a simple idea that really has impact: Healthy, protein-rich foods eaten regularly reduce cravings. Try it for yourself!

There are many recent discoveries about the science of addiction and substance use disorders. Unhealthy eating and addiction mechanisms work through similar neural “reward pathways.” We also know that substance use problems make nutritional problems worse. The same addictive behaviors that underlie heroin use also contribute to harmful eating patterns. This becomes a vicious cycle. 

The good news? A healthy diet with regular amounts of protein helps people stop the cravings that lead to relapse. As the evidence for this simple, effective approach grows, a grassroots movement has emerged to help fight substance use disorders with simple nutrition.