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As a recovering alcoholic with almost 16 years of sobriety I never believed that anything could be as harmful to my health as alcohol when I fully understood the disease of alcoholism and its fatal affects if not treated. Over the years despite eating reasonably healthy I have found my consumption of sugar become alarmingly like my alcohol addiction. I started to experience ill health and major issues with autoimmune related diseases such as my psoriatic arthritis. I started to pay more attention to the times I felt worse and almost without exception connected those times to a sugar binge. A sugar binge for me represented not just an extra cookie, but an entire apple pie followed by a large bar of chocolate. I would eat 6 Krispy Kreme’s at a time. I slowly started to recognize an old enemy the effects of acting on an addiction. The guilt, the depression and major negative physical consequences such as joint pain, skin rash, headaches and tiredness became normal.

I could eat 6 donuts at a time

I could eat 6 donuts at a time

At first I was in denial, how could I have a debilitating hangover when I had not drunk alcohol for 15 years? I knew hangover’s only too well having been an active alcoholic for 20 years. I could not believe I had to deal with another addiction not just a compulsion like many alcoholics have to deal with but a true addiction. For me sugar addiction is real I don’t care if the scientists do not agree with me I know what addiction feels like and I got there with sugar. On the 1st of January I decided to stop eating sugar and it has been extremely difficult the cravings have been as bad as the early cravings for alcohol. There is no moderation if I touch it just like booze the vicious cycle of craving and bingeing begins. I am now 6 weeks free of refined or natural sugar and physically I feel much better my joints are in less pain and I am able exercise more. I am still struggling with cravings which I deal with by eating fresh fruit or vegetables and I try to eat lots of lean protein to help me stay full which seems to reduce the cravings. I believe just like alcohol that I will not be able to eat sugar again even in small amounts which is hard to accept but just like my recovery from alcohol addiction let’s go one day at a time.

Here are some useful resources which I would like to share with you.
This article discusses the connection between sugar and alcohol and I completely agree with what it says from own personal experience.
http://www.drrobertamorgan.com/rfm-notes-090410-addiction-to-sugar-and-alcohol.htm
This slideshow from WebMd covers giving up sugar backed with some useful information which again I can relate to.
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-sugar-addiction
This Video clip from Sweet Suicide is simply fascinating:

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6 Comments

AmyFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I’m still a little skeptical of sugar addiction, really, but knowing a little bit about the biological basis of addiction I suppose, just like anything else, it’s possible. It just seems odd to me that something as natural and simple as sugar can really create the same effects in the brain as other substances of abuse. More research really needs to be done on this. Does sugar really effect the dopamine levels in the brain (which is what is thought to be the main source of reinforcement that turns a habit into a compulsion, and on into addiction) to the same degree as chemicals that directly flood the dopamine receptors such as meth and cocaine? You’re definitely not the first person to claim that they have a sugar addiction, and I’m not actively disbelieving you, but I am saying that science really has to catch up and pay some attention to this so that we all know what’s going on here.

 

AmyFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I’ve known people with issues like this. My brother most recently… he’s always had issues with overeating, and is a very emotional eater. Even as a child, after a fight at school or some issue with my parents, he would eat piles of wretched junk food. I never understood it, as I’m exactly the opposite, and even if I’m the slightest bit of upset I can’t eat a bite of anything. My brother got his eating under control when he left home, and lost quite a bit of weight. Then, after returning home from traveling to South America, he started binging uncontrollably again, and actually had headaches so bad that he checked himself into the hospital.

Scary but true… he had actually picked up a brain fluke in South America that was changing his metabolism, and forcing him to crave sugar constantly. It shocked me completely, but that would teach anyone not to ignore their symptoms! Autoimmune disease might have some overlapping symptoms and metabolism change. I’d definitely see a doctor asap.

 

AmyFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I had no idea that sugar had that effect on arthritis, but that’s really interesting news. I have terrible arthritis, along with the rash that indicates it might be psoriasis. Doctors have tried treating me for psoriasis, but they’ve ignored the arthritis (they keep telling me that I’m too young to have arthritis, but we all know that’s a load of bull). I don’t really eat a lot of sugar, I’ve never really wanted it though I do enjoy a good desert hera and there. Now, I’m going to start watching my arthritis symptoms and see if they are in any way connected to my sugar consumption. Thanks for that insight, hope you feel better yourself.

 

AmyFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

My wife says she has a sugar addiction, and at this point I feel like addiction is more of a general attitude than anything related to the substance of abuse. I’ve stuck with her through drugs, drinking, smoking, and gambling addictions, and even though I’ve had no problems with moderation in all these areas I’ve cut them out of my life so that I could support her. Now, she says she has a problem with sugar. She obviously does! When I buy a box of cookies, I’m lucky to get one or two before she eats the rest of the box. If I buy myself a bottle of soda, I might get a glass before the whole two liters is gone. Anything I bring into the house and don’t eat myself immediately is emptied by her on some crazy binge. My kids have it worst of all, as she just devoured all of their Valentine’s day candy because I encourage them to only eat one or two pieces a day after dinner. It’s driving me crazy, and it makes no sense. How can this woman be addicted to everything? Will I ever be able to have a normal life if I stay with her?

 

AmyFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Thanks for posting this. People may or may not believe in sugar addiction, but no one is ever going to take this seriously without people like you speaking out. Sugar may be a natural substance that is biologically supposed to feel good, but the same could be said for many addictive substances so I don’t see why it can’t be addictive.

 

AmyFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Tony, too young? I had arthritis at 15 and my youngest daughter at 16 months old. I am now over two months off sugar and my joints are in th best shape they have been in for years. I am in the
Gym 4 times a week and doing exercises that I thought I would never do again like kick boxing. And the really good news I am off all arthritis meds everything I only take a vitamin now.

 

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