Why is it so hard to kick sugar addiction?
Did you know that sugar has over 60 names on food labels? It's hiding everywhere.
It’s estimated that 75% of Americans consume too much sugar. And for many it's hard to quit...
So what can you do? Hear from Dr. Frank Sabatino, one of our guest experts in Feel Fabulous, who shares a surprising answer to fighting your sugar demon.
I find with addicts in general, sugar addicts, they never want to address the problem right on, they're looking for like a solution that involves not being abstinent.
So in other words, they're always asking for the latest and greatest new sugar substitute. Well, how about stevia? How about erythritol? How about xylitol? How about lohan? How about monk fruit? You know what I'm trying to say? Like they never really just, abstinence is not something that people want to consider. And the unfortunate thing is, is for addiction, it works beautifully, but I realize not everybody could do it.
So just as we're getting people to log on, maybe you could just do your take on sugar because I've been very inspired this week interviewing all these raw foodists. And I'm realizing, even though I don't eat that diet, I eat cooked starches, there's nothing in their diet that's addictive. You know what I'm saying? They're just eating fruit. And how can we get people to understand that sugar is sugar and that the best amount is none… if you want to have a life free of the cravings and the addictions?
Dr. Frank Sabatino:
Well, you know, the problem is sugar is such a fundamental necessity and the brain and nervous system because it's the foundation of energy production in the body. So when it becomes pornographic, meaning when you start using these adulterated forms of sugar and not the ones that are in plant-based foods, you do have issues if you're not really loading up on those foods. Because the fact is we need substantial amount of plant-based carbohydrate in the diet. That needs to be 80 to 90% of what, or at least 70 to 85% of what we eat. So the bottom line is a lot of these people that have these addictions are eating diets unfortunately that are loaded with animal protein and lacking the carbohydrates that would actually stabilize their brain. So why they think that they need animal protein and animal foods to heal sugar addiction is beyond me.
The truth of the matter is there are five major forms of addiction that we know of: food, drugs and alcohol, sex, risk-taking, and then process addictions like workshopping and all that. But it's very intriguing that regardless of what addiction you have, fundamental to all those addictions is usually sugar craving and sugar addiction. So whether you're a food addict, a gambling addict, a sex addict, or an alcoholic, you've got sugar problems. And unfortunately that whole pleasure reward system in the brain relies on stabilizing chemistry in a way where you're getting huge amounts of naturally good quality carbohydrates.
And if you don't get those, it's very difficult. You will never solve the problem of sugar addiction. You may solve. You may feel temporarily that you lose that craving, but the truth of the fact is the body requires an extensive consumption of carbohydrates to stabilize the brain.
The brain is only 2% of the body weight, but requires 20% of our energy. And that energy is provided by carbohydrate. So when you have reward deficiency, which typically happens in addiction, if you're not eating adequate carbs and complex carbs, meaning grains and potatoes and legumes and things and greens, you are never going to solve the sugar problem.
And so when you see these people talking about the fact that you can't solve it, I would make the point that you can resolve it. If you're eating animal protein foods, you will never resolve sugar addiction. The body will always have a natural inclination to crave sugar. And if we don't give it the sugars that it needs, it will seek any sugar that it can find. And those sugars that it needs are the foods that we're recommending.
I've treated a lot of addicts, including heroin and opiate addicts. You've got to maintain a stabilizing influence of high fiber, complex carbs to an extreme degree, to help them recover from those cravings and addictions. And most people that treat addiction… think about the food that's being served in most rehab centers. It's the poorest quality diet that you can imagine. So they're giving people, you know, drugs to stabilize them, or there are people are still smoking, drinking, lots of coffee. They’re going through all of these things when in fact, they need high quality carbs to really stabilize blood sugar and brain needs.
And if you do that, you can start to really make a dent on food addiction. And food addiction goes way beyond just the food choice itself because it's linked with so many psycho-emotional factors too that are linked with food need and food craving and what we associate with food. And unfortunately, a lot of those things that we associate emotionally with food were reward foods that were desserts and things of that nature when we were younger and actually using those foods as a way to deal with the emotional fabric of our lives. And that includes things like ice cream — we still have this model of people dealing with stress and addiction by, you know, loading up on coffee, ice creams and all of these things.
They need to get into high carb, high fiber plant-based carbs to stabilize brain chemistry and body chemistry. And then you have a shot at stabilizing food addiction.
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