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More Addictive than Cocaine? YIKES!

By April 22, 2015 Foods No Comments

Are you addicted to sugar? You’re not alone. In 2007 a group of researchers found that sugar surpasses what is called “cocaine reward” in most mammals, including rats and humans. The frightening result of this study is the conclusion that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Although sugar does not contain opiates (like other addictive substances such as heroin) it does stimulate the release of endogenous opiates. Opiates and their receptors have largely been attributed to what is known as “reward.” When the opiate receptor is filled over and over again, we feel a sense of pleasure and reward. No matter how harmful a food or substance may be to the body, this sensation of pleasure keeps us coming back for more, while at the same time altering our brain chemistry.

Can’t kick your sugar habit? You’re not alone. Statistics show that in 1822, the average person consumed 6.3 pounds of sugar per year. However, by 1999, the average person consumed 107.7 pounds of sugar per year! In fact, Stephen Guyenet, a neurobiologist at the University of Washington, predicts that if we continue eating sugar with as much enthusiasm as we have over the last 200 years, by the year 2606 the U.S. diet will be 100% sugar.

The mis-education about the dangers of sugar consumption is widespread. It is in the school systems, the home, and even the medical community. If we take the advice of the USDA and eat a grain-rich, low-fat diet, we are setting ourselves up for disease and obesity.

Like any addiction, change happens when we realize that we are greater than the sum of the chemicals in our body. This can be tough to swallow – especially when it comes to breaking habits and ending addiction.

So how do we beat this deadly addiction? In addition to determination and discipline, here are some helpful tips.


1. Eat sour foods. The sour taste of some foods, like apple cider vinegar, will naturally curb your cravings for sugar.

2. Eat fermented foods and probiotic beverages, and take a daily probiotic supplement!  Fermented foods are sour, easy to make, and affordable. Probiotic beverages also taste sour, and even a small dosage goes a long way. Both are full of beneficial bacteria, which drive out disease-causing bugs that increase our desire for sugar.

3.  Stabilize your blood sugar with protein. One of the fastest ways to calm your sugar cravings is by eating protein. Protein is great for filling you up and keeping you satisfied, but did you know that it can actually decrease your cravings, too? It puts the brakes on our neuronal reward system, the brain chemicals that make us feel good and motivate us to get more food, even when we’re not hungry. When we’re low in protein, cravings take over and crack the whip in search of a quick fix. Smart protein sources include grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, and if you’re not intolerant, barnyard eggs. Vegans and vegetarians should focus on legumes, nuts and seeds, and slow low carbs like quinoa for optimal protein.  Ask Meg about some great protein shake options for you too!

As always, let me know if I can help you on your path to wellness!

Peace & Wellness your way~ Meg

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