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SUGAR ADDICTION – The Greatest Dietary Crisis In History

In the past series of articles I have outlined the affects of the thyroid gland and the adrenal gland. Their relation to weight gain and low energy levels were described and explained. In this article I would like to divert from the hormonal system and express my concern to my readers on the over consumption of sugar in your diets and the severe multiple consequences.

Although sugar has been processed from sugar cane since ancient history, it is only until recently that it has been so mass produced. In the early 20th century coca cola and other soft drinks were invented. Companies such as Domino found ways of increasing production of sugar not just from cane but from sugar beets. Then to make matters worse about 20 years ago the ubiquitous use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) became the vogue, mostly here inAmerica. Derived from corn which our government subsidizes, HFCS is cheaper to make than refining sugar. Fructose in HFCS is twice as sweet as glucose (body sugar) and generates equal amounts of triglycerides lasting 12 times longer in the blood and is equal in liver damage to alcohol. HFCS has increased in soda intake by 1355 since 1970. Many other foods now have HFCS as well. In general, the amount of sugar an adult American consumed annually in 1920 was about 25 pounds a year. As of a recent report, that figure has jumped to 140 pounds per year! Is it no wonder that there are almost 2 million new diagnosed cases of diabetes a year in theU.S. ! Dr. Lustig, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist, delineates the metabolic pathway of sugar and especially HFCS in causing liver damage and obesity, particularly in children.

Along with the increased risk of diabetes, which has along with it many side issues such as blindness and neuropathies, other major illnesses such as heart disease and stroke are also related to sugar abuse. Recent worldwide deaths due to tobacco use were calculated at 5.3 million and deaths due to sugar and HCFS consumption at 35 million. Another study revealed that 15 millionU.S.binge eaters and many more overeaters comprise our 60% overweight population. Objects in the study who were provided unlimited sweets 1 hour a day became binge eaters in 2 weeks, consumed 4 times more food than controls.

AUniversityofBordeauxstudy in 2007 found that sugar and sugar substitutes ( splenda) are 4 times more addictive than cocaine. It asserts that sugar is an addictive drug, causing loss of control, continued use despite adverse consequences, withdrawal symptoms and relapse. As in other addictions researchers have focused in the deficiencies of certain neurotransmitters. These are brain chemicals that affect our mood and other brain functions. Deficiencies of serotonin, GABA, catecholamines (norephenephrine and dopamine), and endorphins cause sugar addiction. Serotonin is a good-mood relaxing chemical neurotransmitter. Insulin produced in the pancreas regulates and balances sugar levels in our blood stream. Insulin-mediated serotonin activation contributes to sugar dependency. Other studies correlate endorphin (opiate) pathways to sweet addiction. Hypoglycemia creates cravings for sugar to relieve the danger to the brain caused by sugar crashes. Like cocaine, sugar can “reward” by stimulating dopamine activity.

Symptoms of low serotonin levels include : * PM carb craving, * negativity/depression * worry/anxiety * low self-esteem * obsessive thoughts/behaviors *panic attacks/phobias * hyperactivity * insomnia

In my office I have adopted a treatment plan for those who are addicted to sugar, especially children. It is based on the research and implementation of Julia Ross who authored 2 books – The Diet Cure, and The Mood Cure. By supplementing with low-potency amino-acids sweet and starch cravings are eliminated. Treatment groups had 70% less craving and binge-eating than controls.