Sugar Addiction… There is a solution

August 13, 2015

I committed myself to giving up sugar, wheat, soy and processed foods over 10 years ago. I would like to say that I was successful on my first attempt, considering what I do for a living. On occasion, I would manage to stay abstinent for 30, 60 and even 90 days. Then for reasons I could not explain, I would break. It could have started with something as simple as a bite of gluten free cookie. Once a small amount of sugar entered my body, I was off to the races. It was always difficult to get back on the wagon. It took me years to come to terms with my inability to stay sugar free. How could I be addicted to sugar? In the back of my mind, I always thought that someday I would be able to eat the foods I was addicted to in moderation.

The media is flooded with information about sugar, processed foods, gluten, wheat, and soy. The information out there is endless. We all know that highly addictive foods are probably not the best thing to put into our bodies and we seem to have an inability to moderate the amount, let alone completely eliminate for more than short periods of time. There are countless sugar detox’s out there, but for many,  it is very short lived and the craving come back worse. I have a belief that there is a reason for the inability for many people to give up sugar for long term. And just so I’m clear, I consider any processed food sugar.

When we eat foods that contain sugar, dopamine is released in an area of the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens. When we eat these foods often enough, the dopamine receptors start to down-regulate. Now there are fewer receptors for the dopamine. The next time we eat these foods, their effect are blunted. We need more of these foods to get the same reward. Does this sound familiar? Cocaine & nicotine have very similar affect on the brain.

Giving up sugar, wheat, soy and processed foods is not easy. I have to remind myself that I’m only giving them up for today, tomorrow I can have whatever I want. I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan your food for the day…. Breakfast, lunch and dinner! Eat a small serving of protein or nuts for snack if you have blood sugar handling problems.

Most importantly you should have help. This is difficult to do on your own. Work with a nutritionist who understand this type of addiction and who has experience with it. Another program that I can recommend is FA


Whole body holistic nutritionist practicing in the Bay area and Eugene, OR. Whole food chef for 16 years.

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