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Sugar Addiction



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  • Sugar Addiction

    Hello, I am overweight, pre-diabetic, and extremely addicted to sugar. I'm considering eating a square of dark chocolate every time I get a craving, but I'm not sure if that will help or prolong my addiction. I would like to be "primal" in the sense that I know dark chocolate is acceptable, but I'm wondering if I've missed the ability to indulge in that given my pre-diabetes? I do want to be a fat burner, but all my attempts of going cold turkey off sugar have been unsuccessful. Perhaps just shove some berries in my mouth when I have a craving for sugar? Has anyone else been able to remove a horrible sugar addiction? If so, how did you do it? Background info: I'm a recovered drug addict (clean for 15 years) and I've clearly switched addictions.

  • #2
    I was eating 4-5lbs of sweet potatoes a day feeling like shit. Eventually I transitioned to keto, then to zerocarb which is almost like paleo-keto. My energy levels finally became what I was striving for when I consume 70%+ calories from fat with no carbs.

    I have a youtube channel under the name frank tufano if you want to a bit of a perspective on what I eat.


    • #3
      I'm a sugar addict too.
      I have transitioned to sucralose. But tonight will be my last for a while of anything sweet. And fruits and a tiny bit of confections will be finished off and from there on, Potato hack and then fat fast and then fast proper I'm hoping that will kill my sugar addiction.

      One reason I have not been able to kill sugar addiction is due to toothpaste and mouthwash being super super sweet. I am hoping a few weeks of nothing sweet (I have tooth powder that doesn't have a sweetener in it) will kill my cravings. I hope that doesn't mean I cant ever eat anything sweet again. I'll know when I do this and eat a piece of fruit in a few weeks.



      • #4
        Originally posted by LindsayO View Post
        I'm considering eating a square of dark chocolate every time I get a craving
        That sounds like a bad idea. If you can stick to eating one square per day, it might be OK. For someone with control problems, ad libitum chocolate, even dark chocolate, is disaster in the making.

        Blueberries, and fruit in general, are much better. However, I don't like the idea of reacting to a craving by immediately eating something rewarding. Have a set amount of fruit (e.g., a cup of blueberries) at a set time.
        I moved to to escape the spam.


        • #5
          Sugar isn't really addictive, but we are born, like a lot of mammals, with an attraction for it. A lot of your excessive sugar consumption is simply habit. Something sweet after meals, with a cup of coffee, or mid-afternoon is generally just a habit. The way you extinguish a bad habit is to not give into it. Normally, it will only take a few days to suppress the urge. Make a plan to do something else to distract yourself when the urge occurs; make a cup of tea, go for a walk, pick up a craft project to use your hands, whatever it takes to distract yourself until the urge passes. I make herb tea after meals to distract myself and then carry it around with me in a travel mug so that I can substitute tea sipping for snacking. That works for me, you may have to experiment a little to decide what works best for you. Don't be discouraged, if you goof up the first few times you try. If you persist in substituting a healthier behavior, you'll eventually succeed.

          Another important behavior modification is to get all of the attractive foods out of the house. I know that I can't control salted, roasted nuts, so I keep them out of the house. When I want ice cream, I go to the good ice cream store and get a scoop, but I don't keep it in the house.

          I also use calorie counting to control my weight. By keeping track of my intake, I know when I can "afford" a treat like ice cream. I find that my personality works a lot better with counting calories than telling myself that calorie dense foods are "toxic" or that I can "never" have them again. I like quantifying things with numbers and don't mind keeping track of them with an app. On the ther hand, I know that I don't do well with arbitrarily restrictive diets. Other people find that it's easier to stick to a narrower list of foods and that numbers make them feel uncomfortable. Again, you'll probably have to experiment to find out what works best for you.

          The real key to pre-diabetes is losing the weight. The nutrition professor who lost 40 lbs with a Twinkie diet as a stunt saw his blood sugar and cholesterol numbers improve. You don't need to switch to a low carb diet to get your weight under control. I lost weight and have kept it off without any attention at all to macros. I eat regular food and pay attention to what makes me feel comfortable for the longest, not what some diet book guru claims is the key to health. For me that's a substantial breakfast with oats, protein, and vegetables or fruit and a big lunch of legumes and vegetables in a soup or salad, but a relatively light dinner, usually just animal protein and vegetables and a little evening snack of popcorn or cheese and an apple. I couldn't tell you whether that's low carb, moderate carb, or high carb. I just know that it keeps me comfortable, doesn't leave me feeling deprived, and controls my weight.


          • #6
            Keto is an excellent choice. Cold turkey works for most addictions and I don't see why sugar addiction would be any different. One thing to note is that you may need to find a substitute for that pleasure (i.e. that fix) in the short term. The brain will need its dopamine. So replacing sugar with bacon and exercise is one way to fill that void at least in the short term with healthier choices. Over time you will note a significant change in how things taste.

            Things that seemed to taste "good" will seem sickly sweet and you won't even be tempted by them anymore. This is normal and once you have retrained them taste buds to eat "grown up" foods you won't even want to go back to that sugar garbage.

            Keto doesn't have to be a forever thing either, but there is a bit of genius to the old school methods of the 2 weeks intro diet of Atkins the Maffetone test and others that followed....That 2 weeks (I would go ahead and do 4-6) really resets a whole range of brain and taste parameters.
            Last edited by Neckhammer; 04-27-2017, 01:20 PM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by JBean View Post
              Sugar isn't really addictive
              On an anecdotal basis, there are many, many people with personal experience involving sugar (e.g., cravings, withdrawals, etc.) who would disagree with JBean.

              There are also many scientists who would disagree, too. Here are a few examples.


              This study showed that foods which spike blood sugar are biologically addictive.


              The title of this study is self-evident: “Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake”


              The conclusion from this study says: “The evidence supports the hypothesis that under certain circumstances rats can become sugar dependent. This may translate to some human conditions as suggested by the literature on eating disorders and obesity.”


              • #8
                I've done low-carb and keto before. I am healthier now, eating sugar. I think the hate is unjustified. People are unhealthy on a diet of donuts and soda and they blame the sugar, as if that is the only ingredient.
                My opinions and some justification


                • #9
                  MusicAttorney, your three references are all to the same rat study. The authors attempt to define rat behavior as "addiction". It isn't. "Sugar addiction" is a casual misuse of a word, "I'm addicted to my morning run," "I'm addicted to my favorite TV show," "I'm addicted to my mom's cooking," etc. are metaphors just like "I'm addicted to chocolate." Tasty food of all sorts, not just sugar, produce an effect on the dopamine axis in the brain. That's still not "addiction" even though addictive drugs have a dopaminergic effect as well.

                  Like Eliot said, sugar isn't "toxic" or "addictive". It's just additional calories without any nutritional value. It enhances taste and we tend to seek it out because we find it pleasurable. No "addict", however, sits down with a bowl of pure sugar and spoons it up until the bowl is empty. By itself, sugar has little appeal. We get used to sweet treats at specific times, choose calorie dense sweetened snack food (usually fatty), and become habituated to a certain level of sweetness in what we eat. The good news is that we can break those habits and readjust our taste buds with a pretty reasonable amount of effort.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JBean View Post
                    MusicAttorney, your three references are all to the same rat study.
                    OK . I guess they misprinted the information about the design of the study where it says “With the use of a randomized, blinded, crossover design, 12 overweight or obese men aged 18–35 y consumed high- and low-GI meals controlled for calories, macronutrients, and palatability on 2 occasions.”

                    Originally posted by JBean View Post
                    "Sugar addiction" is a casual misuse of a word"
                    You could be right, but there are certainly plenty of people who disagree.

                    James J. DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and Sean C. Lucan is an assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. They said "Yet people can’t resist. And the reason for that is pretty simple. Sugar is addictive. And we don’t mean addictive in that way that people talk about delicious foods. We mean addictive, literally, in the same way as drugs."

                    Paul van der Velpen was the head of Amsterdam's health service when he had this this to say:

                    1. "Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug.”
                    2. "Sugar is actually a form of addiction. It's just as hard to get rid of the urge for sweet foods as of smoking. Thereby diets only work temporarily. Addiction therapy is better."
                    3. cigarette-style warnings should be displayed on sweets and soft drinks.

                    Based on a study carried out by Australia's Queensland University (QUT), here is what Neuroscientist Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation had to say: “Excess sugar consumption has been proven to contribute directly to weight gain. It has also been shown to repeatedly elevate dopamine levels which control the brain's reward and pleasure centres in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine.


                    Experts Agree: Sugar Might Be as Addictive as Cocaine

                    “Research shows that sugar can be even more addicting than cocaine,” says Cassie Bjork, R.D., L.D., founder of Healthy Simple Life.”

                    “The drug analogy is always a tough one because, unlike drugs, food is necessary for survival,” says Andy Bellatti, M.S., R.D., strategic director of Dietitians for Professional Integrity. “That said, there is an increasing body of research demonstrating that sugar can stimulate the brain's reward processing center in a manner that mimics what we see with some recreational drugs. In certain individuals with certain predispositions, this could manifest as an addiction to sugary foods.”

                    Tons more quotes like these in the article (and elsewhere) that address the OP's post and that I thought might contribute to the OP's understanding.



                    • #11
                      I broke the sugar addiction around 7 years ago.

                      Stop eating sugar, eat lots of fat, go thru withdrawal for a couple weeks, then go thru months of wanting sugar and not eating it (eat more fat), then finally don't care about sugar ever again. Pretty basic stuff, just do it.


                      • #12
                        Air is addictive, too. If you make people choose between air and sugar, they'll choose air every time. Apparently it is even more addictive than sugar.

                        If a person has a desire to obtain something, eg sugar, you can call it "addictive," but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Sugar has benefits and our bodies naturally seek those benefits. Human breast milk has more sugar than that of many other species. If it were really so harmful, we would evolve to have sugar-free milk.

                        Carbohydrates promote thyroid hormone production in a way fat does not. Sugar (sucrose) is a carbohydrate that is easy to process, as opposed to starch, which is difficult for diabetics. Most of the problems people associate with sugar can probably be better attributed to unfortunate intestinal microbes and a diet which is otherwise nutritionally poor.
                        My opinions and some justification


                        • #13
                          LindsayO Hi Lindsay, I can relate to "overweight, pre-diabetic & extremely addicted to sugar". I'm only early on in my second return to Primal living, but I'll offer what's helped me recently. Mostly, I removed sugar from my house as much as possible (at first). I added more fat into my diet, butter/heavy cream (if you can stomach it), more avocados/nuts. I have dark chocolate every other night. Probably a square or two more than is optimal, but it keeps me focused.

                          The biggest thing I had to do was focus on breaking the sugar cycle first. I wanted to drop weight (still do), but bringing myself to a healthy mindset and energy level was far more important to start. At first I just had to cut all processed sugar cold turkey. It wasn't pleasant sometimes, but I kept good snacks around to help. And forgave myself if I ate a little something not 100% great :P It's taken about a month, but the cravings have dropped substantially. I notice they only pop up now if I let a little in (caramel popcorn, why so good???). So I grab my own fruit or nuts if I think having a little regular sugar is going to derail my day.

                          I guess it really takes finding out how best you can break your own habit. Maybe you're the type that can wean off slowly, and hit nothing that way. Maybe, like me, you need to cut hard first, and then test your boundaries. Personally I wouldn't have dark chocolate whenever the cravings strike, especially early on (or that would've been 10 times a day!). If you need to eat more fruit/nuts/meat/primal-goodness to get you through the sugar break, I think that's OK. Focus on fat and protein first, that helped me, and it helped me keep down on the fruit I craved. That's what I had to do, now that I'm feeling much better I've been cutting back on excess snacking/fruit to keep the weight coming off.

                          I hope that's helpful to you, good luck!
                          "You must do the things you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

                          Current: 5/12/17: 204.2lbs. Feet getting used to barefoot walking. Eating less without trying or feeling deprived. Inflammation visibly down!

                          Start: 3/31/2017: 211lbs. Creaky hips. Baby squats.

                          - - -


                          • #14
                            So much dissecting of the semantics here.

                            While not ever having been a sugar aficionado since childhood, I fall into the, yes, it's an addiction camp. Most because MRI's have shown it to have the same brain response as opioids and other classic we-all-know-these-are-addictive- substances.

                            I'm no expert in the field, for sure, but I'm aware of only two interventions. One is pharmaceutical, opiod blockers like Subatex (sp?) and Naltrexone. The other is cold turkey. I think any individual that can diminish her addiction bit by bit is rare.


                            • #15
                              My god, get a grip. Have some fucking self control.
                              Or don't. World has enough people. Good on nature for finding ways to filter out weak bitches even in these civilized times.