My Sugar Drug Addiction

I was one of the people who until recently believed that Corn Sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup was addictive. Then finally, after a long while of research and experimentation, I no longer believe that Corn Syrup and regular syrup aren’t really that much different.

What was bothersome to me was that I was still under the belief that since Corn Syrup was disproved then sugar itself must be addictive.

I had read the studies from Princeton and interviewed their experts. The only problem was that they had only experimented on non-humans.

I viewed PET scans of comparing subjects on miscellaneous narcotics and subjects induced with sugar. Amazingly both scans displayed that the subjects were hitting the same receptors in the brain.

This confused

me even further. It’s not like we can ban sugar or any sugar alternative from our foods. And let’s not forget the thousands of American jobs that would disappear with them. Both our health and economy are fighting for their lives.

So, what gives?

Well it turns out that I once again turned to sugar over the weekend. Not anywhere as terribly as I have in the past, but I found myself there… again.

What was different this time was that I tried to figure out what emotion I was feeling while I went back to my unhealthy habits. It was a form of depression again. I was coping again… I was doing something that millions of Americans suffer and deal with every day. Could sugar be an underground drug to cope with life’s trying times, since it hits the same receptors as other drugs?

Is there something else to turn to?  There seem to be a good number of recovering drug addicts in the world, so why is it so difficult for me to stop going to my “Sugar Drug Addiction?”

I welcome your input…



3 responses to “My Sugar Drug Addiction

  1. It’s very easy to return to things we shouldn’t – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and yes, even sugar. Why?
    1) All of these things give us an immediate reward. Relaxation, warmth, pleasure, a high, an escape.
    2) All of these can have positive memory associations – Good times with friends, happy childhood memories (from food, not drugs I hope!)
    3) The negative impact is not immediate.

    So what to do?
    1) Awareness is key. Awareness of mood, awareness of things that trigger wanting, awareness of potential traps (holiday parties, gatherings with friends and family, anniversaries of emotional events)
    2) Positive action plans. Instead of turning to ______ (food, drink, whatever) when I am sad I am going to_________ (Go for a walk, call a friend, write in my journal, beat up my pillow). Having a plan to fall back on is so critical.
    3) Remove temptations — Get whatever it is out of the house, office, whatever!!! Create a “sugar-free zone.”
    4) Let others be aware of your struggles. Many of us would be embarrassed if we served alcohol to a recovering alcoholic, but think nothing of offering sweets to the obese. Letting our friends know about our issues allows them to become part of the solution.

  2. Check out this video from Gabor Mate on brain development and addictions: It’s not a cure, but it certainly is illuminating.

  3. Barry,

    Let me know if this sounds familiar:
    You’re bummed out, angry, just not happy. You want chocolate, or candy, or whatever. Your thinking goes something like “Who Cares? I’ll do what I want” or ‘What’s the point?” or you negotiate with yourself; “I’ll make up for it with extra walking.” Remember we talked about catching yourself in the moment. You need to think about how you feel AFTER the fact…the disappointment or guilt that you feel afterwards, whether it be hours later or days later. Think about writing these blogs, and being able to write “I was in a bad mood yesterday, and really wanted that candy bar, but I resisted, and I feel great today.” Each time you do it, it will get easier and easier. Just catch yourself in the moment.

    Don’t think of this as an addiction. That gives you another negotiating tool with yourself. I think your incredible normal. It’s rare to find someone who craves broccoli when you’re down. Besides, I don’t think you’d kill me if I stood in the way of you and a cookie. I don’t think you’d pimp yourself out for a slice of pie. I just think you get depressed, and stop caring about your health at that one moment and give in too much. It’s a split second decision to make whether you’re going to cave or not. But the more you talk yourself out of it the easier it will be.

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