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Beat Sugar Addiction Now!

by Jacob Teitelbaum, Chrystle Fiedler
clock15-minute read
headphoneIconAudio available
Beat Sugar Addiction Now!
How to beat the sugar addiction you didn’t know you had. Beat Sugar Addiction Now! (2010) explores the four common types of sugar addictions that have ensnared the American people. Arguing that most people are struggling with at least one of four insidious sugar addictions, physician Jacob Teitelbaum and alternative health specialist Chrystle Fiedler assert their theories for identifying and eliminating these addictions in a few easy steps.
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Beat Sugar Addiction Now!
"Beat Sugar Addiction Now!" Summary
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Summary by Alyssa Burnette. Audiobook narrated by Alex Smith
How often do you think about your blood sugar? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give it very much thought at all. If you’re lucky enough to not be diabetic, it’s likely that you eat what you want when you want, giving very little thought to the effect your decisions have on your blood sugar. So, if you want to have a Coke with every meal and kick off your breakfast with a pile of pancakes drowned in syrup, you probably feel free to do so. In fact, this is true for many people around the world who blissfully consume sugar without considering its impact on their bodies. That’s why the authors argue that many people have a sugar addiction without realizing it. And over the course of this summary, we’ll learn why sugar addiction exists and how you can beat it.
Chapter 1: The Sugar Addiction Epidemic
When you hear the term “addiction,” insidious — and possibly illegal-- substances likely spring to mind. We typically think of people being addicted to drugs or to alcohol. We almost never envision people being addicted to sugar. And yet, the authors observe that sugar is one of the most pervasive — and dangerous — addictions in America today! That’s partly because sugar addiction creeps up on us before we ever even realize it. The authors’ research is supported by studies from the Addiction Center of America which assert that:
“From cupcakes to pies to iced coffee drinks, sugar is found in many foods and is almost impossible to avoid. Emotional or psychological dependence on sugary foods and drinks, also known as a sugar addiction, is a real cause of concern for health officials in America. Processed foods and refined grains create additional sugar in the body once the body metabolizes the food. Sugar in moderation is not harmful; however, many overdo it. A recent study suggests Americans eat far too much sugar. To be specific, approximately 75% of Americans eat excess amounts of sugar, many of whom could be classified as having a sugar addiction.
Sugar consumption can create a short-term high and a spark of energy in the body. Some studies have suggested sugar is as addictive as cocaine. People often enjoy the dopamine release sugar brings. However, due to the addictive nature of sugar, long-term health effects like obesity and diabetes are a risk of sugar overindulgence. Similar to other compulsions or behavioral addictions, sugar addiction is a special risk for people with low moods, anxiety and stress.
Additionally, people who suffer from constant tiredness may reach for carb-rich sugary foods for a boost. Sugar releases endorphins in the body and combines with other chemicals in the body, resulting in a surge of energy. Once someone mentally connects sugar with help providing energy, they may become dependent on it, usually inadvertently. People may begin to crave sugar to balance irritability, emotional lows, and other conditions. Eventually, there is little control over avoiding sugary foods, and a sugar addiction has developed.
Anxiety and sugar craving have a direct relationship. Eating disorders like binge eating or anorexia occur for underlying reasons. Oftentimes, the person suffering such disorders is struggling for psychological and emotional reasons. Stress eating is a common example of the relationship between eating disorders and anxiety, and sugar consumption is commonly associated with stress eating. Anxiety causes the stress hormone cortisol to be released in the body, and for some, that means not being hungry. For others, the stress may encourage people who already like sugar into more cravings. In cases of sugar addiction coupled with eating to soothe anxiety, the end result is typically weight gain. Despite sugar initially boosting serotonin levels in the brain, sugar can worsen anxiety as sugar lows create feelings of fatigue and depression.”
These examples may sound pretty serious and scary — and indeed they are. But the authors affirm that leading studies on sugar addiction are only scratching the surface. Their research indicates that there are four different types of sugar addiction. And the terrifying reality is that most people in America today are experiencing at least one of these addictions. Worst of all,they might not even realize it! So, let’s dive right in and learn about the four common types of sugar addiction.
Chapter 2: Breaking Down the Four Sugar Addictions
Type-1 sugar addicts are people who are addicted to sugary energy drinks. This is one of the most prevalent sugar addictions because these people aren’t even aware that they’re contributing to their own addictions. Unlike people who eat a Snickers bar simply because they’re craving the suhar, Type-1 sugar addicts consume sugary energy drinks because they think they’re making good choices. People in this category might include busy students, people who have demanding jobs that keep up late at night, or gamers who want an extra boost of energy. We’ve all seen the Red Bull commercials that cheerfully sing, “Red Bull gives you wings!” And we’ve all seen Monster energy drinks advertised with the impression that they will help you unlock “beast mode,” a hyperproductive version of yourself that helps you accomplish all your goals.
Given this type of advertising, it’s no surprise that people reach for an energy drink to help them get through the long day or night (or both!) They’re desperate for that little surge of energy and they’ve been led to believe that these drinks will help. They might believe that, at worst, these drinks are no worse for you than a soda. But what they don’t know is that these drinks are loaded with sugar and extra-unhealthy chemicals that are creating an addiction with every sip. Health writer Anna McMurray unpacks the negative side effects of energy drinks by explaining how they wreak havoc on your health. McMurray propounds that:
“Energy drinks almost seem too good to be true. A fizzy, soda-like drink that gives you a boost of energy and productivity? Sign me up. But there has to be a downside, right? In short, yes. The main ingredients in almost any energy drink, regardless of the brand, are caffeine and sugar. These ingredients work in tandem to give you a temporary boost in energy. A standard energy drink has the same amount of caffeine, or sometimes more, as a cup of coffee. The caffeine convinces your brain that you’re alertand awake, stimulating your neurons and blocking the release of adenosine, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy. Caffeine takes care of the brain, while sugar boosts energy in the body. One energy drink has about the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke – about 30 grams, which is the recommended daily allotment for a healthy adult. This sugar provides the substance to power your cells, giving them an intense, but short-lived surge of energy.
Such an extreme and sudden increase in energy must have negative consequences on our bodies, right? Yes. In fact, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that consumption of one 16-ounce energy drink can lead directly to increased blood pressure and higher levels of stress hormones in otherwise perfectly healthy adults. Once the initial burst of productivity wears off, you’re likely to feel sluggish and even more tired than before you drank it. While energy drinks can be good for short term or desperate productivity, the after effects on your mood and body may not be worth it.”
As you can see from this example, energy drinks are both addictive and unhelpful in the long run! So, how can you combat a sugar addiction? The authors advise that you SHINE. SHINE is an acronym for 5 simple steps: Sleep, Hormonal Support, Infections, Nutritional Support, and Exercise. By supporting your body with 8 hours of sleep every night and seeking support for your hormones and immune system, you can rebuild your body’s defenses that have been depleted by energy drinks. This will protect you against infections and hormone deficiencies and exercise — along with a healthy diet-- will keep you holistically healthy. So, if you want to overcome a type-1 sugar addiction, just remember to SHINE!
Chapter 3: The Relationship Between Stress and Sugar
Now that we’ve learned about the toxicity of energy drinks and type-1 sugar addiction, it’s time to take an in-depth look at the three remaining types of sugar addiction. Type-2 sugar addicts are typically people who are under high stress all the time. People in this category might have high-powered jobs or they could be stay-at-home mothers who also have high-powered jobs because they’re in demand every minute of the day! People in this category are likely to reach for a candy bar or a little something sweet throughout the day because it gives them a little burst of energy to keep going. But — perhaps even more concerningly — type-2 sugar addicts’ eating habits are closely tied to their emotions. Whether it’s because they’re stressed or sad, type-2 people crave their little taste of sugar because it makes them happy. And, for one reason or another, they might not feel very happy in their daily lives.
The emotional, stress-eating connection makes their relationship with sugar much harder to break. After all, no one wants to say goodbye to the one little burst of happiness they have! But fortunately, it’s definitely possible to break a type-2 sugar addiction. You can do so by making an active effort to be kind to your blood sugar. Sadly, as great as sugary foods taste, they are devastating for your blood sugar. That’s because consuming sugary foods floods the body with glucose, which causes our insulin levels to spike. Our fat cells then work overtime to absorb excess glucose and fatty acids to remove all that sugar from our blood. But here’s the catch: because these foods give you instant sugar gratification, your body runs out of that energy almost instantly, which prompts your brain to get panicky and convince you you’re hungry so that you’ll eat more. If you don’t start consuming more sugary foods, your body goes into starvation mode as your blood sugar levels fall, triggering your metabolism to slow down and hang on to the calories you do have. And as you might imagine, this only makes you gain more weight.
You can break the cycle by replacing your sugary meal options with foods that are high in protein — think nuts, cheeses, meats, and fish that are loaded with healthy fat, like salmon! All of these foods can help restore balance to your blood sugar and empower you to kick those unhealthy cravings. The recipe for success is similar for people who struggle with type-3 and type-4 sugar addictions. People with type-3 sugar addictions may have a buildup of yeast in their gut and this can be a tricky health problem if it isn’t quickly overcome. This problem can develop if your diet is all about sugar. If you start your day eating sugary foods — think pop tarts, cinnamon rolls, or pancakes from McDonald’s — those foods instantly convert tounhealthy levels of sugar in your body. Those sugar levels then become yeast that can live in your gut. And once it’s there, it motivates you to continue feeding it by eating more and more sugar.
But because yeast needs sugar to grow, there’s a simple answer that will help you break this addiction. It may be difficult to do, but you can kill the yeast in your gut by starving it from sugar. If you instantly go cold turkey with sugar and replace it with a healthy diet, the yeast in your gut will begin to go away. If you’re used to eating sugary foods all the time, this type of intervention is no fun. But your gut — and your overall health — will thank you for it in the long run!
And lastly, we arrive at our fourth and final type of sugar addiction. Type-4 sugar addicts are typically women because they’re driven by hormonal sugar cravings. Almost every woman knows that you start craving chocolate and other sugary things right before your period hits; it’s a pretty universal — and emotional! — experience. And most of us indulge that craving because… well, why not? Periods are the worst and we deserve every little bit of comfort we can get, right? The truth is that you definitely deserve that comfort but relying on sugar may create more problems in your future. Because of the hormone fluctuations that occur during this time, you run the risk of consuming more and more sugar to a very unhealthy degree.
Even if a single brownie would satisfy you at a different time of the month, during your period, you may feel the need to eat a dozen brownies in one sitting. Sometimes, you might do that and still feel like you haven’t gotten your sugar “fix!” If this is how you feel, you should know that it’s purely a trick of your hormones and it’s guaranteed to leave you feeling even more bloated and depressed than you were before. So, if you’re battling these sugar cravings, remember to starve them by eating healthy foods. And you might also want to speak to a doctor who can help you with vitamins and hormonal supplements that will get your body back on track.
Chapter 4: Final Summary
The average American person has a million sugary food options to choose from every day. From our sodas to our sauces to our iced coffees, sugar is absolutely everywhere and it can feel impossible to say no. The authors assert that this overabundance has caused many people to develop sugar addictions without intending to do so. But fortunately, there is hope. The authors’ research has identified four common types of sugar addictions and four evidence-based action plans that can help you break the habit.
People with type-1 sugar addictions should remember to follow the acronym SHINE, while people with type-2 addictions can be kind to their blood sugar by replacing sugary foods with high-protein alternatives. People with type-3 and type-4 addictions can follow the same advice but with a few added steps. If you fall into either of these latter categories, go cold turkey with sugar right away and seek help from a doctor who can aid your recovery by supplying your body with the vitamins and hormonal supplements it needs.

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