by Tricia Zigrang
[Editor's note: At EndSugarAddiction, we know sugar addiction as a brain disease that is physiological in nature, and not as a "behavioral" problem or defect of character. We recently received this story from a reader with a very remarkable story of recovery that seems to reflect our point. Thanks so much to Tricia for submitting this. -- JE]
On July 12th of 2012, I had a brain aneurysm. I was in the hospital 12 days. 10 of that was in critical care. I ended up in the lucky 20% that lived and did not have permanent neurological damage.
But I did even better then that. I had a positive neurological change. My sugar addiction was gone.
I have been a sugar addict all my life. I couldn’t bake cookies because I would eat the whole batch. I think it was related to the fact that my family is riddled with alcoholics. Alcohol is a sugar. I got a sugar addiction instead of alcoholism. I am a psychologist in private practice and have noticed that the majority of people I see with sugar addictions come from families of alcoholics. I have always thought it was something biochemical. I react to sugar the way an alcoholic reacts to alcohol.
When I got out of the hospital, I walked down the candy aisle and discovered I had a complete lack of interest. I went to a potluck and instead of sampling 2 or 3 deserts like I normally did, I had none.
I had no idea if this was a permanent change or not so decided I wouldn’t eat sugar again. I asked my surgeon about this. He said he had never seen this happen before but that my sub arachnoid bleed was right next to my pituitary which controls hormones so it could be related.
I don’t weigh myself and didn’t change my diet in anyway except I added in more fat. I lathered my bagels with cream cheese and put the peanut butter on really thick. I ate whatever I wanted. Eventually I noticed that I was having to pull my pants up. I went to Nordstroms and discovered I was down two pant sizes. Not conceiving that I could possibly drop any more, I bought two pairs of the expensive stretch jeans I like. It wasn’t too much later that I noticed that these were getting frayed at the bottom and sure enough it was because they were too loose and falling down. This time I wised up and only bought one pair. I have now gone down a total of five pant sizes, while eating everything I want.
While this was all happening, I saw Robert Lustig’s book Fat Chance which makes a compelling case that sugar is behind the obesity pandemic. Before 1980 only 15% of adult Americans were overweight or obese. Now 55% are. Fat and protein consumption has remained the same during this time, while sugar consumption has doubled.
I have now added sugar to the list of substances (tobacco, caffeine, alcohol and drugs) that I ask clients about. I think that sugar is wreaking havoc, causing a huge increase in the metabolic syndrome that is behind type two diabetes, heart disease, etc. Not only are overweight people in trouble, Dr Lustig points out that 40% of thin people are insulin resistant. This is because the food industry is adding all this sugar to our food. In fact the obesity pandemic really took off when they started making all these low fat products. They didn’t taste as good so the food industry added sugar to make them more palatable.
Lustig points out that trying to get the government to do anything about this has been fruitless (the sugar lobby is probably pretty powerful) and that what is going to have to happen is that people will need to be educated so they will demand that sugar be taken out of all their food.
by Jill Escher
I walk about an hour each day, so I have the perfect opportunity to keep up with the latest in the podcast-sphere. If you’re looking for great nutrition science, or stick-to-it inspiration, you have a goldmine to choose from, including classics like Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ la Vida Low Carb Show, Sean Croxton’s Underground Wellness and Angelo Coppola’s Latest in Paleo, and newcomers like Jonathan Bailor’s Smarter Science of Slim and, from Down Under, That Paleo Show.
Here are a few from the recent crop worth highlighting:
• Tom Naughton and his family guest-hosting Livin’ la Vida Low Carb. Listen to 7 and 9 year-old girls thoroughly outsmart 20,000 staffers of the USDA and FDA. While the bureaucrats dither, these two say exactly what it will take to end the diabetes/obesity epidemics. You think I’m kidding? I’m not. Tune in to episode 664.
• Latest in Paleo episode 67. Because everything Angelo Coppola does is sheer genius. Tune in here. “Eye-opening stories cover the intriguing cereal industry, why the dairy industry would like to change the definition of milk, and you’ll hear a major processed food industry organization try to convince you that all food is processed.”
• That Paleo Show episode 5, Why Grains Aren’t Paleo. Some ideas for living a grain-free life. Tune in here.
I’m no Audrey Hepburn but at least I can pull off a little black dress.
by Jill Escher
It’s been several years now since I’ve dropped three dress sizes in a few months and, this is the best part, the part that defies the usual yo-yo diet pattern, I haven’t gained it back. Yes, there’s that I’m-almost-50-years-old-and-have-given-birth-to-three-kids cushiony stuff around the midsection, I’m no Audrey Hepburn, and I’m hardly a six-pack lean mean gym rat machine, but fat and on the edge of obese? Those days are gone. I’m healthy, energetic and strong and can pull off quite a few little black dresses that were totally beyond reach back in the Sugar Days.
The secret? I don’t try to lose weight. I neither count calories or use exercise to “burn calories.” I am, like many people who lose weight and then keep it off, aware of my past sugar addiction and stick to eating a satisfying nutrient-rich Paleo-ish diet that keeps my body chemistry on the level, with only minor white-stuff indulgence along the way. I never go hungry.
I talk to a whole lot of people who are trying to lose weight, and the best advice I can offer is this: Stop trying to lose weight. On a podcast recently I heard someone say, “You don’t lose weight to get healthy, that’s backwards; by getting healthy you can then lose weight.” True, true.
So, you ask, what does it mean to “get healthy’? It means getting your biochemical house in order:
–Reducing blood sugar levels, and therefore insulin levels (no sugar, no grains, and, depending on your metabolism, light on the starchy stuff like sweet potatoes);
–Increasing micronutrients from your food (veggies, fruits such as berries, grassfed beef, organ meats such as liver, fish, bone broth, nuts);
–Increasing healthy dietary fats (butter, coconut oil, avocados, rendered duck fat, olive oil);
–Eliminating irritating or inflammatory ingredients or foods (grains, sugars, processed foods, industrial vegetable oils): and
–Very low-carb, high-fat eating at breakfast; and no late-night eating (12 hours without food is a realistic goal).
Get your biochemical house in order, and your body’s molecular and hormonal signals will finally shout to your fatty tissues, “You’re not needed anymore! Time to take a hike!” You can’t do this directly, you see, you have no direct power over your own weight. Your biochemistry is the boss. And you DO have control over your biochemistry.
While you and I may not end up like Ms. Hepburn, we can certainly reach that healthy place where our bodies are meant to be.
by Jill Escher
Yesterday I received an email from a gentleman telling me about a new free e-book about sugar addiction and recovery he’s published on Kindle. It’s called Sugar Shame. He wants the world to know about it.
Of course he does. Most of us who have gone through the process of (1) recognizing and accepting sugar addiction; (2) figuring out how to conquer it; (3) going through the transformation; and (4) recovering our health, wants to spread the word to all those still suffering. That was my mission, too, in Farewell, Club Perma-Chub.
We don’t publish our books for money — Mr. Halgren is giving his away, and all my proceeds go directly to charity. We do it because the medical and nutritional establishment is consistently and interminably failing us, and people deserve help, right now, and to know the truth.
So please help spread the word about Sugar Shame, it provides simple, straightforward advice about moving from kitchen-cabinet-junk-food-raider to serene and nourished healthy eating.
And it doesn’t cost a dime. http://www.amazon.com/Sugar-
by Jill Escher
Hey! It’s April 2, World Autism Awareness Day!
But wait a minute, isn’t this a blog about SUGAR? What choo doin’ talkin’ bout autism?
Well, if there’s one problem in the world vastly more horrible than the scourge of sugar addiction, it’s the giant and growing autism epidemic afflicting so many hundreds of thousands of our children. We sugar addicts may suffer extra pounds, bad teeth and swampy moods, but autistic kids? They face a lifetime of catastrophic cognitive and behavioral disability, often plunging their families into despair, not to mention debt and exhaustion. The latest numbers from the CDC suggest 1 in 50 US kids now have an autism spectrum diagnosis, an explosion of a disability that barely existed just a few decades ago.
But, could there be a connection between sugar and autism?
Yes, but some of the connections are a bit convoluted, bear with me.
1. There are studies showing a modest increase in autism rates among children of women with obesity and/or diabetes. This may be due to the treatment medications, the hyperinsulinemia, or the excess blood sugars.
2. Sugar is a powerful depressant. A woman who eats sugar, not to mention processed food including flour, additives, colorings, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives is daily pouring powerful depressants into her sensitive body. So, eating low-fat crap processed food (that’s often billed as “healthy”) her neurotransmitters go awry and she becomes … depressed.
Her doctor thereupon prescribes an antidepressant drug, usually an SSRI like Prozac, and she starts taking it. Her doctor never of course informs her that her diet is making her sick and sad, and that an ancestral diet rich in healthy fats, veggies and serotonin-boosting meats will cure her. Then she becomes addicted to the drugs, and, despite having almost no sex drive, gets pregnant. Her doctor sticks to the pharma-funded standard of care, and advises her to stay on the drug during her pregnancy.
Then, blammo! A few years later, her kid gets an autism, ADD, or learning disability diagnosis. Why? Because the kid’s tiny fetal brain was soaked in brain-altering chemicals. Read this excellent post by Dr. Adam Urato to see the acknowledged connections between fetal SSRI exposure and autism, one trigger behind the autism epidemic no one is talking about.
3. Sugar overconsumption leads to hormonal dysfunction, and in a woman this can mean PCOS, and excess of testosterone, and infertility. A standard American diet, replete with sugar, flour and processed food can easily trigger hormonal imbalance and difficulty conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy. So, sugar-addled women often seek help from a fertility clinic, which may use any number of interventions, but most typically IVF. IVF and other assisted fertility treatments have been shown to boost the risk for imprinting disorders and epigenetic abnormalities that lead to autism.
4. Let’s not forget the men! Studies have shown that obese men are more likely to have sperm with epigenetic derangements, and that could mean neurodevelopmental challenges in the offspring.
So, people, on World Autism Awareness Day it actually makes sense to call for the end of sugar addiction in America. For the good of our children, get healthy, eat real food, get really fertile, lose the meds, and let’s make healthy babies!