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North Adams Chiropractor | North Adams chiropractic care | MA | Sugar Addiction

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Sugar Addiction
 

Increasingly, scientific studies suggest that eating sugar activates the same brain areas that are the  primary targets of drugs of abuse. Foods high in sugar, fat and certain carbohydrates are especially likely to stimulate our brain in ways that can become addictive. It is not for nothing that the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is higher in sugar than any diet in history, has taken the world by storm. Across the long years of human evolution sweet things were hard to find so we have all evolved a keen appreciation for these items that tends to betray us in the modern world.

There is no doubt that eating disorders can arise from an emotional component. In addition to stimulating brain reward centers, sweet food markedly affects stress hormones in ways likely to provide a sense of temporary reprieve from anxiety. Of course, in addition to all the health problems linked to emotional eating, the eater is likely to end up in a worse spot. Emotional eating can contribute psychologically to the development of depression.


Sugars, which are found in all sorts of processed foods we don't typically think of as sweet, promote obesity, and obesity is a very powerful risk factor for the later development of depression. While processed sugars may produce a brief emotional high, several lines of evidence indicate that they affect our biology in ways that promote depression. For example, rates of depression in a country rise in lockstep with per capita sugar consumption.

Actually we all know what to do about it: eat less sugary foods. The question is how to find the willpower to do this when sugar is everywhere and the emotional strains of life push us so consistently into its orbit.

I want to suggest that changing your dietary pattern is the solution to your sugar consumption. I say this for two reasons. First, if you are going to give up sugar you are going to have to replace it with something very active and positive. And second, it is increasingly clear that even people who don't binge on sweet food’s suffer significant health problems just from eating the standard American diet that most of us consume every day.

 



artificial_sweeteners.jpgI want to suggest that you attempt to rid as many processed and packaged foods from your diet as possible, and replace them with a diet replete with natural foods. By natural foods, I mean food that humans evolved to benefit from: vegetables, fruits, some whole grains and meat from animals that are fed grass (not grains and antibiotics). To eat this way requires making a commitment to shop smart and to cook smart. These are both challenging and exciting activities that might help you organize an emotionally satisfying life beyond the grasp of your sugar addiction.

 Recommend books Michael Pollan. "Omnivore's Dilemma" is an eye-opening expose of how we came, as a society, to eat so much sugar in everything, and "In Defense of Food" spells out how to go about extricating ourselves from the unhealthy SAD diet to which most of us adhere.

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North Adams Chiropractor | Sugar Addiction. Dr. Francine Lajoie is a North Adams Chiropractor.