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Feel Addicted to Refined Sugar?
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Pamela_M_Peeke_ MD_MPH_FACP posted:
For years I have listened to men and women who have experienced what they describe as a real addiction to refined (white) sugar in foods they eat--- pastries, candies, desserts. They have found that ingesting even one serving will lead to a binge. There is emerging evidence that this type of experience may be typical of people who have a personal and/or family history of some kind of addiction (e.g. alcohol, drugs, cigarettes). Many people who carry over 50 pounds of excess weight have this history, and a large group of men and women who undergo bariatric surgery (gastric bypass, banding) and have gained over 100 pounds above ideal weight also share this issue.This means you need to be be much more vigilant about refined sugars than someone without this history. What is your experience with addiction and refined sugar? Dr Pam Peeke
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Teehazel responded:
Chocolate. I buy king sized portions of candy bars (Snickers, Hersheys w/almonds) and snack on them ALL DAY yet complain about how I need to stop and lose weight but dont. Both parents were addics... alcohold, drugs and cigaretts. Sisters and brothers smoke ciggarets, mother is an alcoholic. I feard my whole life of being like them therefore never commited myself to the alcohol, drugs and ciggs and what nots but WOW now that you said addicted to refined sugar. Go figure i try hard not to be like my fam i am addicted to sugar :chagrin: :eyeroll: sugar in my coolaid, candies, cakes all the junk you can think of :frown: i think now since youve posted this addiction of refined sugar im cutting it off cold turkey. I REFUSE TO BINGE AND BE ADDICTED TO ANYTHING!!!!!! Im so much better than that!! Once again....THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Maybe now i can lose and keep off those extra pounds
 
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Pamela_M_Peeke_ MD_MPH_FACP responded:
Hey Tee. Good to hear from you. I thought I might hit a nerve out there with this question. Your genetics speaks loudly that you need to be on red alert and just run the opposite way when confronted with refined sugars. It doesn't matter if a friend can eat the stuff and not binge, you can't. Congrats for learning hards lessons from your parents and not repeating mistakes. Good for you to elinminate the sugars from your diet and stick with whole, natural foods. You'll definitely see progress if you do this. Make sure to watch the portions carefully as well. Eat every 3-4 hours, stay physically active with your wonderful little ones and at work, and you'll make your own magic. Keep it up Tee! Dr. Peeke
 
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Tomato05 responded:
I am addicted to candy, too, to the point where it rules my life - which is most unsatisfactory, as I want to be in charge of my own life! No history of addiction in my family - smoking, drugs, alcohol: nothing. They are all squeaky clean, and not even addicted to sugar like I am. In my case it's just a filthy habit, acquired over many years. Just need to break/change this habit, and I'm not sure whether to do it gradually and slowly, or brutally and instantly. I was in hospital once for 3 weeks - no access to candy, and I survived quite well without it for 3 weeks. That shows it can be done.
 
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Pamela_M_Peeke_ MD_MPH_FACP responded:
Hey Tomato. Good to hear from you. Look, when you were in the hospital and "survived" without candy, it proved two points. First, there are certain foods in everyone's life that i call "bingeables". That means you can't have just one. One leads to a mountain of that item. In other words, it just doesn't work for you, at least this time in your life. Science shows that you actually do change appetite and taste as you age, most markedly after 60 and beyond. Clearly most of you have a way to go before you you that milestone. So, you need to identify the "bingeables" in your life and avoid them at all costs. They are nothing but trouble. Who wants to be a prisoner of a food item? No way! Second, you CAN live without them. Your body will decrease it's drive to eat more of the candy when you don't keep stokin' the taste and appetite fire by constantly eating the stuff. Go cold turkey like Tee and just give it up. Substitute a non-bingeable item for your sweet tooth and one that is hopefully healthier as well. And one note about bingeables and addictive food items. If you've avoided them for a while and are doing well, do not fool yourself into have "just one little bite" and think you'll get away with it. Instead, an addictive bingeable is like a sleeping giant. Watch out. Just one mouthful will awaken it and then you're in big time trouble. Do not tempt fate. Just stay away. You'll be greatly rewarded. Dr. Peeke
 
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Tomato05 responded:
Thank you very much - that cleared matters for me. I will not try the gradual approach then, but be brutal and try to steer away from the dreaded bingeables. Funny enough, I also love V8 veg juice, which could serve as a substitute. I'll try 1/2 cup of veg juice instead of a handful of candy. Apples are another possible replacement, salad items and of course tomatoes!
 
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Jis4Judy responded:
Hi DrPeeke. I am from a large smoking family I myself never smoked But I do believe I am addicted to sweets in general I now over eat fruits Occasionally .. I know this isn't real hunger when it happens because eating doesn;t help . so far I have been able to stop before I get much over 2000 cals 2200 or 2300 is the highest I have slipped into ..I try to keep my cals in the 1800 range with 45 minutes of fast walking,, I have been also weighing myself and I am gaining 2 pounds then loseing 2 pounds when I get back on plan ...this maintaining is like walking a tightrope.. I am 67 years young 5'5" 153-155 today was 155 it has been going like this for a few years... but the last week or so I have been feeling the "Hungry Horrors" nearly every day. something is triggering this and I am not sure what.. Hugs Judy:)
 
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sarahas5 responded:
Hi! I'm a school teacher and have actually written a "sample" research paper that I use with my students about the fact that sugar is addictive. I use it to go through the paper steps, etc. and culminate with an oral report example, in which I give them baked goods made with sugar alternatives. (They love it and confront me if they see me eating sugar thereafter!) I have been highly convinced that sugar is addictive for me for quite awhile, although I haven't overcome it yet! I usually do fairly well when I'm teaching the research paper section of my curriculum but fall off the wagon at other times during the year! One brother and one sister are addicted to alcohol; one sibling is addicted to cigarettes. I definitely think I'm addicted to sugar. I do go completely off sugar, but it seems that if I have one bite of something sugary, I'm back on the downward path. Though it's that one bite of sugar that pulls me back to the addiction, I find that when I start eating sugary foods, then I lose control over most of what I'm eating. Instead of eating regular meals and snacks, I find I'm just grabbing foods when passing through the kitchen, etc. The good thing about an alcohol addiction is that you can get through life without alcohol, but a food addiction? You have to eat, and it's harder to make yourself avoid those sugary foods when they are OK for most other people. Ugh. Thanks!
 
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gatorspook responded:
I tried to lose weight for years with low fat high carb diets and was totally out of control....changing fats and cutting carbs changed my life. The sugar/binging issue is too important to be ignored by main stream healthcare. My doctor thinks I'm a total looney. There are a few things that can make me lose control...excessive carb intake...and forget the good carb stuff, doesn't work....and lack of sleep. But there needs to be more support for people like me....
 
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jolousie responded:
I can identify with this. I am a recovering alcoholic - 26 months sober - but I am out of control when it comes to sweets. No matter how full I am, if there's sweet stuff to be had I indulge and over-indulge. I wonder if this has any connection to haow sugar is processed in the brain (similar to heroine and alcohol)??
 
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rogercetina responded:
At 46 and after been obese for the last 20, finally I decide to overcome it . under my doctor and my nutritionist guidance I can quit smoking, alcohol, start exercise program , eat healthy . sugar? worse than anything. uufffff. what I did ? focus your mind on the benefits of quit sugar, , image, health, weight loss, etc. any effort you do, every single step , one at a time , worth it !! focus. do not indulge yourself, never surrender, feel the joy.! best of lucks Roger Mexico
 
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mpz35 responded:
I asked a researcher from NIH at a Substance Abuse Conference I was attending 4 years ago if sugar is addictive and he said, "There is not enough evidence to support that." When he answered this way I thought, "Then why is it so hard for me to resist sugar compared to other people? Am I just weak?" There is addiction in my family history and I tested positive for wheat sensitivity (apparently this test indicated that my brain releases more opiates than the average person when I eat wheat.) Are there studies about this, too? I would love to know where I can find the article you are referring to (and any others like it) so I can read up on it for myself. Can you provide references for these studies? Thanks!!
 
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NobleChampion responded:
Oh man, I love candy. Candy does not love me. I sweat buckets in the gym each day making no progress in wieght loss because I can't stop with the sweets. One is not enough. I will eat ALL the candy. I will steal my daughter's candy. I will even eventually eat candy I don't even like. I do have a history of addiction both in my family and personally. NOW WHAT! I don't want to be a slave to this. The addiction idea does explain why I continue to eat until I'm sick.
 
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MSUdogs responded:
:pbpt: My father was an alcoholic and I promised myself I'd never become one. However, I am so addicted to sweetened tea that it is unbelievable!!! Being raised in the south, sweet tea is a staple. Growing up, it was never a problem. I rarely drank it except at meal time. My husband is also addicted to it. I am 40+lbs. overweight and my doctor has said that I am insulin resistant and should stay away from carbs. SOOO, I went on South Beach at her recommendation and gained weight!!! I gave up everything white EXCEPT my tea. I did start doing half and half but to no avail. Going cold turkey is hard and what makes it harder is that my husband still wants sweet tea. I would truly appreciate any tips on weaning off sweet tea! Trish in Alabama
 
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jen2911 responded:
It is interesting that I read this article today. I came to the conclusion that I was addicted to sugar last week and "gave it up" on Thursday. It hit me as I would pray for God to help me lose weight, but I wasn't willing to give up sugar. I know that if one is off sugar awhile, the cravings will cease. That is where I want to be. I don't want to be controlled by my cravings anymore. My father is an alcoholic as well, and that is the reason I never drank alcohol. However, I do see the addictive habits and attitudes in myself. If I crave sugar, I don't deny myself and do whatever it takes to get it. When I have it, "moderation" doesn't exist. I made it almost 4 days, but last night I "fell of the wagon". However, I am not seeing that as a defeat; I am back on the wagon today and I am making a mental note as to the circumstances that led to my cravings. I didn't realize all the places in my life where sugar was available until I attempted to resist it. Now I know how to better prepare myself mentally. I have also learned not to tell people I'm not eating sugar anymore because you'll just get negative comments; people tend to think that is ridiculous. However, I know better and am looking forward to a new me!


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