Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sugar Addiction is real

Sugar Addiction Is Real, and Here’s How It Happens
Alli Neal
Research has shown that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. What happens when you become addicted to sugar? The packaged and prepared food industry has figured it out, and with barely any regulation, they rely on it to keep business up. If you check the labels of just about any packaged food, there’s some form of added sugar in almost everything. Sugar affects your brain in a way that other foods don’t, and it keeps you coming back for more. The culprit is a chemical named dopamine.

Think about the last time you went on a salad-based diet. Eating salad day in and day out gets really dull, especially since most vegetables don’t trigger much of a dopamine response at all. Chances are, what kept you on the salad train was the dressing. They’re usually loaded with sugar, salt, and fat, the ultimate trifecta that triggers a higher dopamine response. They’ll get you to keep eating salads, but they’re not doing much good for your health.

Dopamine is referred to as your brain’s major currency by neuroscientist Nicole Avena in her Ted-Ed video. When you eat, dopamine is “withdrawn” as a response that tells your brain you did something it likes, and it’s proportional: The more exciting a food is, whether that’s a result of it being new or particularly fatty/salty/sugary, more dopamine will be released. We like dopamine; it makes us feel good. Over time, foods will become less rewarding so we go in search of something new for a sustained dopamine release, because we evolved to need varying diets to hit all of our required nutrients. Overly sugary foods, though, hack that evolutionary system, and remain rewarding. Sugar in the form of glucose is the main fuel for our brain, so we want to keep eating it, and our brains make sure of that. No matter how much you eat over any period of time, the dopamine just keeps releasing like 20s out of a broken ATM in a cartoon. This can lead to craving and loss of control. Too much too often can lead to your brain and body going a little haywire. Your pancreas becomes overstimulated and produces insulin around the clock to clear your system of sugar. Your brain still associates the sugar with positivity so you keep eating, but your body can’t keep up. You’re being egged on by dopamine, and your mouth is writing checks your body can’t cash. It’s the same downward spiral into addiction you get with drugs like cocaine and heroin.

A 2013 study done at Connecticut College has shown that Oreo cookies are just as addictive as cocaine for lab rats. Not only do rats behave the same way when receiving Oreos as they do with drugs, but the research actually shows that there’s a significantly greater neural response to Oreos than to cocaine or morphine. Also interesting? Rats eat the filling first, too.

The effect of sugar and drugs like heroin and cocaine are the same in the brain. It’s the same chemical rush, the same consequences of addiction and increasing tolerance. When you’re addicted to something, your brain does something funny: It actually stops releasing dopamine in response to the actual stimulant and instead is released by the anticipation of the stimulant. In the above image, we see the PET scans of brains belonging to addicts and non-addicts. The red is the dopamine response. In the non-addict brains, you see a normal response. It’s a rush of dopamine. In the addicts’ brains, you can see that the dopamine response after eating is dulled. You’ll need more and more to get that spike in dopamine. Sugar, as with harder drugs, basically hijacks the neural pathways of the brain associated with dopamine, making users — in this case, sugar eaters — dependent.

So what happens when you stop eating sugar? You binge to try to fill the gap, you go through withdrawal, you find yourself suffering major craving, and it’s more likely you turn to something else to stimulate dopamine. Another study out of Princeton University studied sugar withdrawal in rats, which showed anxiety, chattering teeth, paw tremors, and head shaking. Researchers also found that, when placed in a forced swim test, rats in sugar withdrawal showed behavioral depression: They didn’t try to swim to safety.

It’s easy to see the cost of sugar’s prevalence in our society with our high obesity rates and epidemic of type II diabetes, a disease that is the outcome of repeatedly overdosing on sugar. According to Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of California, there are 600,000 food items in America, and 80% of them have added sugar. The USDA claims that the average American consumes between 152 and 160 pounds of sugar per year. That’s 60 teaspoons of sugar a day. It’s not hard to see how it racks up, when a can of Coke contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar and a tall nonfat Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte with no whip has 9½ teaspoons. When it comes to food, sugar is everywhere: 2 tablespoons of Kraft salad dressing contains 1 teaspoon (and that’s a full 16% of what makes up those 2 tablespoons), Prego pasta sauce contains just under 3 teaspoons per every ½ cup serving, and even every slice of whole-wheat bread generally contains about ½ teaspoon. If it has a nutrition label on it or comes in a package, there’s probably been sugar added to it.

If sugar is indeed an addictive substance as science is proving and it’s stuffed into everything we buy, then it begs the question of regulation. The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee recently released new recommendations to limit sugar intake to 10% of daily calories. In a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s equivalent to 13 teaspoons of sugar a day. What they don’t have is recommendations for getting the packaged food industry and the sugar-addicted public on board, and if there’s one thing harder than imposing regulations on a large and powerful industry, it’s trying to keep an addict from getting a fix.

Sugar addition like drug abuse

From Telegraph News
Sugar addiction like drug abuse, study reveals
Excess sugar consumption elevates dopamine levels in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine
Nicola Harley
13 APRIL 2016 • 10:20AM
Sugar addiction should be treated like drug abuse, new research has revealed.

Scientists have discovered drugs used to treat nicotine addiction could be used to treat sugar addiction.

In the study carried out by  Australia's Queensland University (QUT), it compared the effects of sugar to those of cocaine and likened the symptoms of coming off it to going 'cold turkey'.

“Like other drugs of abuse, withdrawal from chronic sucrose exposure can result in an imbalance in dopamine levels and be as difficult as going ‘cold turkey’ from them.”
Masroor Shariff
Neuroscientist Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation said the study, which has just been published by international research journal PLOS ONE, shows drugs used to treat nicotine addiction could be used to treat sugar addiction in animals.

“The latest World Health Organisation figures tell us 1.9 billion people worldwide are overweight, with 600 million considered obese,” she said.

“Excess sugar consumption has been proven to contribute directly to weight gain. It has also been shown to repeatedly elevate dopamine levels which control the brain's reward and pleasure centres in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine.

“After long-term consumption, this leads to the opposite, a reduction in dopamine levels. This leads to higher consumption of sugar to get the same level of reward.

“We have also found that as well as an increased risk of weight gain, animals that maintain high sugar consumption and binge eating into adulthood may also face neurological and psychiatric consequences affecting mood and motivation.

“Our study found that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs like varenicline, a prescription medication trading as Champix which treats nicotine addiction, can work the same way when it comes to sugar cravings.”

Her colleague Masroor Shariff said the study also put artificial sweeteners under the spotlight.

“Interestingly, our study also found that artificial sweeteners such as saccharin could produce effects similar to those we  obtained with table sugar, highlighting the importance of reevaluating our relationship with sweetened food per se,” said Mr Shariff.

“Like other drugs of abuse, withdrawal from chronic sucrose exposure can result in an imbalance in dopamine levels and be as difficult as going ‘cold turkey’ from them.

“Further studies are required but our results do suggest that current FDA-approved nAChR drugs may represent a novel new treatment strategy to tackle the obesity epidemic.”

It is in contrast to research published in 2014 in an Edinburgh University study which stated sugar addiction was not a biochemical dependency but a psychological one similar to gambling.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I just went into binge mode and ate an entire box of Russell Stover Caramels and Chews. I feel sick. Physically and with myself. It wasn't even an impulse buy. I knew I was going to the drugstore, I knew I wanted them, I knew I shouldn't, but I did. I knew I'd binge, I cared, but I didn't care.
I had been doing well until Halloween, when the mistake was made to buy mini chocolate bars for the kids. Not many kids came so guess who ate most of the 50 bars. That triggered me and I've been getting worse since.  I hope I can get this back under control.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Arggh, so fat.

In 2009-2010 I behaved myself and was able to drop 50 lbs. I was gluten, dairy,  yeast and sugar free. I met my boyfriend, moved in, ate what he ate, plus went back to my old trick of dealing with stress by eating, and I have now gained it all back 😠 I just let myself go,  cooking sweets, but also making my raw cookie doughs and cake batters and eating them in one sitting etc.
  I also started a pill for my bipolar that also contributed to this large weight gain, as it is well known to do, seroquel.  It made me gain the weight back around my waist and tummy, something that I never did before. Now my cholesterol is 6.5 (used to be 4), my triglycerides are high and my fasting sugar is 5.5 (used to be 4).  I saw it all happening but due to depression, anxiety and addiction couldn't stop the run away train I'd become.
So now I'm back to gluten and dairy free though still fighting with sugar and yeast. Addictions are in check and I'm not with the boyfriend 😁 Too stressful.  Have lost 10 lbs so far in 4 months, slow and easy, and am also decreasing  my seroquel and plan to go off it, so hoping that will help. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Withdrawal part 2

Still fiddling with my psych meds.  I've tried dropping Seroquel to 75 mg from 100 mg a few times now but my anxiety, irritability, panic were too bad.  My dad is ill and quite disabled and I'm trying to help my mom care for him and it's getting very stressful. I've decided I'm going to increase my clonazepam to 0.5mg 3x a day, which is double what I'm on now, but still half of what I was on. I kinda hate to do that because I've been working so dam hard to wean myself off this stuff, but I'm just too stressed.  I will drop it again and eventually go off it entirely when things calm down a bit. 
Then, with the boosted clonazepam, I plan to drop the seroquel to 50 mg, 25 at noon, 25 mg at night, and see if my nerves are ok that way. Then I will try no seroquel, just clonazepam.  If I find I still need a mood stabilizer,  I am going to talk to my Dr. about switching over to topimax. It's an anti-seizure drug that also acts as a mood stabilizer, and unlike Seroquel, most people lose weight while on it, not pack on 35 lbs like most people do on seroquel. I'm eating sugar non stop on this drug, as if I wasn't bad enough to begin with.
So, I'm going to play around a bit and hope I don't totally fuck myself up. Wish me luck and please let me know if you have any experience with topimax. Thanks.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Psychiatric drug withdrawal

As I get older, more things grate on my nerves, I don't know why. I feel like becoming a hermit.

Some of it may have to do with me and my Dr. weaning me off all these stupid psych. drugs I've been on, clonazepam for 5 years, seroquel for 3?  These drugs actually change your brain and how it works, and when you come off them you get rebound symptoms of why they put you on them in the first place but 5x worse.  That's why I can only drop 1/4 tablet (0.25 mg) a month of the clonazepam.  I started at 3 mg, and am now down to 0.75 mg, so that's good but I do get a lot of rebound anxiety. The other drug (quetiapine/seroquel) for mood swings/agitation/racing thoughts, I have reduced from 300 mg at the start of March to 100 mg.  Unfortunately, it's going off the last bits of these drugs that causes the worse withdrawal symptoms.  I don't care, I just want off them.  But it is making me kind of crazy : (

Friday, June 21, 2013


Yesterday was not a good day for me. I woke up depressed, stressed and anxious. It seems that the increased dose of Seroquel (200 mg) is doing absolutely nothing for my depression or borderline or mood swings or anything except helping me to sleep.   Because I felt so horrible all day I turned to my 2 main crutches at the moment, food and over-medicating.
First I started with the ice cream, then more ice cream with smarties on top.  I've already gained so much weight lately, between the Abilify and the Seroquel, so eating like this just makes ME MORE DEPRESSED AS I CONTEMPLATE MY FAT. I'VE GAINED ABOUT 20 LBS OR 25 Maybe.  (sorry, caps on, too lazy to retype).   I then mixed up a quarter batch of brownie batter from the Fry's cocoa jar recipe and ate that raw.  Between the ice cream, smarties and raw brownie dough I racked up 1800 calories, over my limit of 1600 per day (my calorie goal for losing 3 lbs month).  But I didn't just eat that, I ate my regular meals too so I ended up at 3061 calories for the day.
Then I became really depressed so I took a clonazepam, 2 75 mg Lyrica and 100 mg seroquel.  This combo bombs me out, right into outer space, I get stoned off lyrica for some reason and the clonazepam boosts that.  Don't know why I added in the seroquel but I woke up this morning still very stoned.
Now today, I took a clonazepam and 2 lyrica  again but don't feel 'high' enough to escape myself, and my fat, so I'm taking another clonazepam and 25 mg seroquel.  I also just finished whipping up and eating another 1/4 batch of brownie dough and eating it raw.  God, I hate myself.  I better get into day hospital fast before i end up O.D.'d or just fat beyond belief, with diabetes to boost, slow suicide.
Today doesn't suck as bad, I guess because I was still stoned this morning and have kept myself that way, so excuse me if this is rambling a lot.  Got to get  a hold of myself.  My shrink told me if I played with my meds like that she'd dump me, but really I don't give a $%^%&&^ right now, she'll never know anyway, I'm a great liar.  Loathing Myself, Dee.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sugar Roller Coaster

I'm quite heavy here, about 190 lbs, my BMI is 31, so I am officially obese.
About 170 lbs here, BMI 27.5, overweight but not obese.
Recent picture at 162 lbs.  BMI 26.  Still overweight but feel better about myself.  Need to be a min. of 154 to get a healthy BMI, top range, 144 for a mid range healthy BMI, which is where I was a few years ago and would like to be again.