Stopping Addiction to Sugar: Willpower or Genetics?

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WE ARE ALL PROGRAMMED TO LIKE SUGAR. New research shows some are genetically much more prone to sugar and food addiction than others. I have observed this in my patients, but now it is becoming clear why some have more trouble kicking the sugar habit than others.

As I reviewed in my previous article on food addiction, the science demonstrating that people can be biologically addicted to sugar in the same way we can be addicted to heroin, cocaine or nicotine is clear. Bingeing and addictive behaviors are eerily similar in alcoholics and sugar addicts. In fact, most recovering alcoholics often switch to another easily available drug: Sugar.

It seems that we all vary a bit in our capacity for pleasure. Some us need a lot more stimulation to feel pleasure driving us to a range of addictive pleasures that stimulate our reward center in the brain – drug and alcohol addictions, compulsive gambling, sex addiction and, of course, sugar, food addiction, and compulsive eating.

We often see these as moral failures or results of character defects. In fact, it may be that addicts of all stripes are simply unlucky and born with unfortunate genetic variations in our reward and pleasure mechanisms.

Despite being stuck with the sugar addiction low pleasure gene, you may be able to modify its activity by modulating your brain chemistry and receptor function with the use of specific nutrients …

The Genetics of Pleasure

In our brain, a little receptor, the dopamine receptor D2 (or DRD2 for short), must be activated or switched on for us to feel pleasure. The amino acid dopamine triggers this response. Sugar and other stimulating addictions increase dopamine in the short term.

The only problem is it appears that those with sugar addictions, compulsive eating, and obesity have DRD2 systems that need much more stimulation to feel pleasure. Those who have sugar addiction, it seems have fewer D2 dopamine receptors and they need extra stimulation to make them “turn on”.(i)

Functional MRI studies of teenagers, both lean and obese, found that the obese teenagers whose brains didn’t light up as much in the dopamine reward centers were more likely to be obese and gain weight later.(ii) They also were more likely to have the DRD2 gene that coded for fewer receptors.

Some studies have pointed to drugs or nutrients that can modulate this defective dopamine reward response. In one study, naltrexone, an opioid blocker (blocks the effects of heroin and morphine on the brain) was used in sugar addicts. When they took this drug, which prevented them from getting the temporary high from sugar, they craved less and ate less.

We also know that amphetamines are natural appetite suppressants and reduce cravings. That is why children who take stimulant ADHD drugs (which are actually just fancy amphetamines that stimulate dopamine receptors) have trouble gaining enough weight as they grow.

There are also some promising studies of nutraceuticals(iii) that can modulate dopamine receptor function and appetite regulation.(iv) Bruce Ames, PhD found that high levels nutrients can reduce disease in people with 50 different gene variants, nutrients may modulate the function of our genes, improve their function, or affect the activity of enzymes that genes produce.(v)

In fact, one third of our entire DNA has one simple job: To code for and produce enzymes controlled by nutrient co-factors. This means that nutrients have a powerful ability to modify the expression of your genes. This is the important field of nutrigenomics.

Overcoming Your Addiction to Sugar

Despite being stuck with the sugar addiction low pleasure gene, you may be able to modify its activity by modulating your brain chemistry and receptor function with the use of specific nutrients that either improve gene expression, or modify the activity, the enzymes, or the receptors, even if they are somewhat impaired.

I have used some of these in my practice, such as glutamine and other amino acids, with success. Regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters that affect appetite and cravings is complex and involves many factors including how quickly food spikes our blood sugar, stress, getting enough sleep, nutritional deficiencies, chemicals such as artificial sweeteners, food sensitivities which drive inflammation, and more.

For those with personal struggles with food addiction, remember it is not a moral failing or lack of willpower. Here are a five suggestions I offer my patients to help them break their food addictions.

1. Balance your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable:

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
  • Also, have smaller meals throughout the day. Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, beans).
  • Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime.

2. Eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners and your cravings will go away: Go cold turkey. If you are addicted to narcotics or alcohol you can’t simply just cut down. You have to stop for you brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.

3. Determine if hidden food allergies are triggering your cravings. We often crave the very foods that we have a hidden allergy to. For a simple allergy elimination program, consider trying The UltraSimple Diet, or The UltraSimple Diet Challenge Home Study Coaching Program.

4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.

5. Optimize your nutrient status with craving cutting supplements

  • Optimize your vitamin D level: According to one study, when Vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that helps turn off your appetite doesn’t work and people feel hungry all the time, no matter how much they eat.
  • Optimize omega-3s: Low levels of omega three fatty acids are involved in normal brain cell function, insulin control and inflammation.
  • Consider taking natural supplements for cravings control. Glutamine, tyrosine, 5-HTP are amino acids that help reduce cravings. Stress reducing herbs such as Rhodiola can help. Chromium balances blood sugar and can help take the edge off cravings. Glucomannan fiber is very helpful to reduce the spikes in sugar and insulin that drive cravings and hunger.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Have you ever been addicted top sugar? What was it like?

Do you think the food industry is feeding us products we become addicted to so they can increase profits?

Have you tried overcoming food addiction using any of these steps? How did they work for you?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

References

(i) Stice, E., Yokum, S., Zald, D., and A. Dagher. 2011. Dopamine-based reward circuitry responsivity, genetics, and overeating. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 6: 81–93.

(ii) Stice, E., Yokum, S., Bohon, C., et al. 2010. Reward circuitry responsivity to food predicts future increases in body mass: moderating effects of DRD2 and DRD4. Neuroimage. 50(4): 1618–25.

(iii) Blum, K., Chen, A.L., Chen, T.J., et al. 2008. Activation instead of blocking mesolimbic dopaminergic reward circuitry is a preferred modality in the long term treatment of reward deficiency syndrome (RDS): a commentary. Theor Biol Med Model. 5:24. Review.

(iv) Blum, K., Chen, A.L., Chen, T.J. et al. 2008. LG839: Anti-obesity effects and polymorphic gene correlates of reward deficiency syndrome. Adv Ther. 25(9): 894–913.

(v) Ames, B.N., Elson-Schwab, I., and E.A. Silver. 2002. High-dose vitamin therapy stimulates variant enzymes with decreased coenzyme binding affinity (increased K(m)): relevance to genetic disease and polymorphisms. Am J Clin Nutr. 75(4): 616–58. Review.

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122 Responses to Stopping Addiction to Sugar: Willpower or Genetics?

  1. Tracy Edwards February 5, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    I consider myself a sugar addict. My family is addictive in nature to various things. And about a year ago I quit sugar altogether, and I did it for ten months. Pretty proud of myself, and yeah after a few weeks of doing it, I really stopped having the cravings as much, and when I did once in a while, I just didn’t even consider the option.

    However I am now eating sugar again, and I’m a little more moderate, but I still binge sometimes, but I notice that when I’m excited about life in general and what I’m doing and if I’m not so bored or stressed, I don’t think about sugar nearly as much because I have more important things to think about.

    Oh and one bad thing with the cutting sugar out completely thing, I mostly did it to help my skin because i have acne issues, and it helped, but the not-eating-sugar got to be such an obsession for me that it was making me really stressed out about if I even accidentally ate a bite of something with sugar in it, so yeah, that made me break out from stress, and yeah, that’s part of the reason I stopped “not eating sugar.” Also I noticed when I cut sugar out completely that I was still really focused on food (probably moreso) and ended up eating lots of other foods to try to get the same effect as sugar maybe I don’t know, but it just took me longer to feel full which I think is interesting.

    Mostly I just want to only eat sugar if I’ve already eaten real food and I’m still really craving it for some reason. I don’t want to go to it because I’m stressed or bored or lonely or in place of real food. That mindset has seemed to help, though I don’t always follow it.

    • Helen December 10, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      Veg juice and drink water for three days and your cravings will disappear.
      Fructose not a problem. Mod swings gone energy +++

  2. mrs johns February 6, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    How do diabetics that are told to keep tight control of their blood sugar already not fall victim to the lower blood flow to the brain? I take the supplements mentioned in the article as well as vitamin D, but how is a person to just assume that hormone levels are ok when the body is saying otherwise? I am also hypothyroid but my body is not responding to the thyroid hormone, rather it seems it is thyroid resistant. I have tried the generic (levothyroxine) but that was a nightmare and the switch to non-generic only helped a few symptoms. I sleep better without taking synthroid, supplements/prescription meds are more readily absorbed…..

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD May 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      Thank you, Mrs Johns, for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      If you would like information on becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center please see “How to Become a Patient” at http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com. That site is designed to give prospective patients a comprehensive source of information about The UltraWellness Center. You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637 9991.

      Regardless of becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, it sounds like you need to consult with a doctor. Please seek medical attention for the issues that you outlined in your message.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

  3. laura February 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    I’ve been doing research for the past few years, including online, in bookstores and through talking with health professionals and peers, about chemical addiction to sugars and junk food. I was once a functioning addict, very lean but not very healthy, until a sudden collapse in my early 20’s brought on by stress and mild depression. Following this collapse, I began a 5-year fight that resulted in a steady pattern of relapse-recovery-relapse and a nearly 90-lb weight gain.

    Assuming my dependence on the calm, stable feeling I felt when I overate/consumed large quantities of sugar was the result of an eating disorder, I read books and attempted to join a therapy program for eating disorders in the hopes of finding assistance in recovery. Nothing was working, and yet it seemed so simple- why couldn’t I stop myself? Why couldn’t I just be content with healthy, whole foods and a reasonable 1200-1400 calories per day? Worse yet, why was I obsessed with eating, and depressed when I wasn’t able to eat junkfood?

    45 pounds of weightloss, and I still am fighting every second. I come from a family of addicts- from functioning to non-functioning to recovered and sober, I have a sibling with a history of heavy drug use, another with years of consistent and unrelenting alcoholism, another who used heroin in her youth but is now sober, one who frequently mixes drugs and alcohol, a parent and two grandfathers that drank heavily, a grandmother who was two hundred pounds overweight, and a parent who refused to drink because she felt alcohol controlled her. I have had no struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, and had no trouble when the day came that I decided to quit smoking- yet I spend each healthy, light meal feeling deprived, and actually fantasizing about the next occasion I will have to binge (such as a wedding, party, holiday, etc)

    It is because of all I have read regarding my struggle, as well as lookin at the example of my family’s history with addiction, that I have begun to realize the solution. Ironically enough, my husband has been attempting to help coach and support me through my attempts at consistent recovery, and whenever I fail, I always refer to it as, “Falling off the wagon.”

    Cold turkey, like cigarettes. Recognizing this as a chemical addiction, something I’m personally pre-disposed to have, and attempting to completely cut off the supply in, well, feeding it… are probably my best bets at a real recovery.

  4. Tonya Dalton February 10, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    Interesting that you didn’t mention anything about the candida/yeast problem related to overconsumption of sugar. Do you think sugar causes yeast overgrowth, and how hard can it be to eliminate it?
    Otherwise, very good information. I do have a big problem with sugar. And it shows. Belly fat. Ugh. :(

    • Jenny Cleland May 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

      Yes Tonya the yeast problem. I have it BIG time and it does cause a sugar addiction, as I CRAVE sugar when my candida is out of control. (The candida feed on sugars) I have been on Donna Gates Body Ecology Program and it is helping. One of the things is fermented foods and I find they really help with sugar and carbohydrate cravings. So Dr Mark Hyman, what is your thoughts on the candida link here please?

  5. Mark Woods February 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi,
    This may be a dumb question regarding artificial sweeteners, but do you consider Stevia to be artificial, or are you only considering chemically-produced alternatives when you suggest stopping all sugars and artificial sweeteners? I know I have an issue with sugar, but have been managing it off an on, and for years I have substituted Stevia in my coffee and cereal. I assumed it was okay because it wasn’t saccharine or aspartame…do you think I should eliminate it? It seems impossible…
    Thanks

    • cara July 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      I’m a sugar addict and have done many different things to remove it from my diet. After removing all sugars including fruit, I was still using a little bit of stevia and found that when I used stevia regularly, I craved sugar more. When I stop using stevia, the cravings go away. I didn’t want this to be true but sadly it is, at least for me.

  6. Mandy February 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I was an overweight adolescent/young adult and could easily say I was addicted to sugar. I fought Candida for years. My body craved sugar/yeast in every form. With a lot of reading and trial and error, I learned to balance my sugar and eliminate those cravings. I’m a cold turkey girl! By simply eliminating sugar for a few days, the cravings go away. The longer I go without it, the more I find I don’t like the taste of most sweets. Especially cheap chocolate. I occasionally find myself slipping back into those cravings, and have to do the cold turkey thing all over again. But it always does the trick!

    I especially love your question about the food industry feeding us products that are addictive. I would shout out a big, giant “YES” to that. I’m astounded at what is allowed to go in most foods. I read the ingredient labels of everything before I buy. I have 3 young children and I’m horrified at what is in a lot of the foods that are targeted for them. Which is why I think we’re seeing a lot more obese children. The addiction to sugar is starting so young! It’s very sad.

    The best way for my family to stay away from the sugar and garbage is to simply shop on the outer aisles of the grocery store. Basically where the food is perishable.

    Thank you for the article, it was very helpful information and a great reminder!

  7. Hannu Anttila February 12, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Diabetes and heart problems have been the only death reason in my family. When understood this some 4 years ago I immedeately dieted 17kgs in half an year. Also started to follow about all what is in ylist, except the mentioned amino acid supplements and even now I have the optimum weight: 68kgs/182cm and no sign of a/m problems. Thou cancer was found in me 1,5ys ago – this I cured with D-vitamine 10mcgr every second hour, organic seleen, kale juice, natrium bicarbonite – no radiation nor toxins. Three weeks ago they told that I`m clean – MiracleHealing / rubbish in my opinion. The official medicalisation ingore also here in Finland nutrions.
    Now I`m the oldest ( 62 ys ) healthy person ( never even flu ) in my family. I work 12/7 – throwing snow from roofs ( to make cash + kind of challange ) and learning Mobile&Internet-marketing ( for future business ) and selling healthy products for retailers all over Finland ( this is not very succesful ). I live full 24hs and I like it.
    Hannu A

  8. Veronica February 12, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Yesterday, I ate a few cinnamon hearts, available during the Valentine’s Day window. I found that I was hungrier while I ate them. Is the Carnauba Wax a factor in stimulating hunger, not just in the candy, but in any food or phude?
    Thank you

  9. Cordy Mack February 12, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Hello,

    I don’t know if I’m addicted to sugar, but I DO love it as I love all things like cakes, bread and butter, ice cream and hard candies. I was drinking 1 or 2 12oz cokes/day.
    I’ve just turned 61 and am female. I’m a 21 year recovering alcoholic and just gave up smoking 4 months ago.
    My worst diagnosis is probably the scleroderma and the worst issue is my esophagus. I am treated with 2 Nexium/day to keep the reflux at bay. It is worse at night, but I have an adjustable bed to help with that. The Raynaud’s is just an aggravation…always have it, but no ulcers…thank God.
    I am trying your diet, again! Okay…not diet…lifestyle. I have not given up my 2 cups of coffee or my 1 tbs of raw agave in it. That’s a cut back from 2 tbls/ cup. I am missing eggs and cheese, mostly. The sugar cravings I have had I soothe with 1 square of dark chocolate eaten very slowly. In spite of it all I am losing weight. I need to do that! I am 164 at 5’3″…not good.
    I love the cocoa bean soup, but 1 cup never seems to fill me up. I guess that will change with time. Thank you for the book. It has loads of valuable material in it and I reread it a lot.

    • Jean L'Esperance June 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      Cordy,

      It is good to hear about the efforts you are putting into your health. Have you started any kind of exercise program? That helped me a lot. I lost about ten pounds, jog 35 miles a week and ran my first marathon at 52 years of age. Good luck.

  10. jeannie lochrie February 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi Dr. Mark; I recently gave up sugar. It took me most of my life really. But in a few weeks I gave it up for good. I came to realize i was gaining weight from eating more and more sugar! I got my hormones re-balanced, i’d gone off my bio-identicals, and that helped my sleep.

    I do believe that the practice of Meditation is vital in giving up sugar. Connecting with one’s spiritual nature is hugely important to one’s overall health. I am writing to you to ask that you INclude a section about the benefits of regular mediation as a support to the mind in quitting the white stuff.

    I didn’t realize that sugar was making me feel so hungry. I was in a white fog most of my life I now realize. Since quitting sugar I look forward to my meals and don’t over eat. It’s only been three weeks but I know I have turned a corner on this long path to having control over my life and, most importantly, my nutrition.

    I so appreciate this article as it’s timing for me is, well, divine!

    cheers,

    jeannie

  11. Debbie Cook February 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    I was a sugar addict for years and years…..struggling with anxiety I started taking 5htp 50 mgs. 3 times a day and drinking decaf. herbal tea 3 to 4 times a day…..it brought my anxiety to a much calmer state but it brought my cravings to a screaching halt….I was never a tea drinker but I liked the comfort of a warm drink……I lost 22 lbs. in just a couple months and eat healthy because my addicitions are gone.! I am thankful to be rid of this addiction~!

  12. Diane February 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    You have nailed it. I use to be the Anhedonia Queen. I still eat too much sugar and crave it-but I am infinately better than I was two years ago. I now qualify for the senior citizen discount. I have spent the last 37 years getting progressively-though hultingly better. At twenty years old I was quickly drinking my self to death. I got sent to AA and made that switch to sugar… binge eating, binge exercising…every anti-depressant in the world. Wellbutrin works best-for me-of any of the other drugs. Fortunately LOL, I also have ADHD. I was a psychiatric nurse for 16 years and have studied every thing I could get my hands on. I haave been reading psych and medical journals since the late 1980’s. To make a very long story short. I now take 50-55 mg of Selegline HCL Q day. I finally get to live in a much more comfortable world, where pleasure is possible on a fairly “normal” basis. 1.I can feel self love (I use to just wonder what people were talking about). 2.) I can REALY enjoy sex. (Had always been fairly disinterested). 3.) i can slow down (inside my head) and enjoy 100.000.000 other things! It’s like going from Hell to Heaven and I have none of the food sensitivities that made me quit the only thing that worked well-25 years ago (maoi-a’s). I ended up in the hospital twice with severe hypertensive reactions. Now I can eat aged cheese, saurkraut

  13. Alma Haller February 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,
    This is a very interesting article on sugar, and eating addictions. Regarding your question about any sugar addiction, personally I have not been addicted to sugar, although I’ve had my share of sodas and fast-foods in the past years. I do, however, have a good appetite. I enjoy eating different kinds of foods. I have one good thing in my favor, I learned many years ago, to eat veggies and fruits as part of my diet, and I have been taking vitamins and supplements for a long time. I do agree, however, that the food we buy in the supermarkets are full of chemicals, artificial colorings, pesticides, and other very unhealthy things that make everyone doomed to suffer illnesses of all sorts. This is not the problem in other countries. There people simply eat what we call organic foods. Why can’t American people see what is happening to our society, and demand that we get only organic foods, without the higher prices they charge for them? It’s difficult to stay healthy when the products we buy are already infected with sprays, hormones, and other unhealthy chemicals! Thank you.

  14. Eva van Loon February 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    I’m about halfway onto the wagon you describe; now I’ll try to get all the way onto it by adding the supplements you mention. I sense that, had I not dumped milk, breads, most red meat and processed foods while switching to good breakfast, more but smaller meals, and protein with each meal, I’d weigh 300 pounds now, like my daughter, instead of 190.

    I would add to your protocol sketch the element of exercise. I wear a pedometer now, 24/7, in an effort to take those magic 10,000 steps per day, and it is a shocking revelation to me that a sedentary “working” day for a professional like me contains only 2,500-3,000 steps. Good thing I have a teenaged dog! I feel immeasureably better when we’ve had a couple of good walks in a day and my pedometer shows 9,000+ steps.

    Now if I can stop my evening glass of wine long enough to re-set my system, maybe I’ll get another leg onto this health wagon. I’d better–had colon cancer this year and it was a real wake-up call! Pump up the butyrates and water and Vitamin D; get moving and stop stressing! That was my body’s message to my dopy brain.

    Sleep is crucial, but in our society, a terrible struggle. I try for 8 hours a night but in 2011 alone am already ten hours behind. I fix learning difficulties for a living, but none of the teens I work with gets a good night’s sleep–ever: they’re on their electronic gewgaws half the night. I’m constantly re-training exhausted, frustrated, off-schedule brains. My program still works, but it would work so much better if these kids would just GO TO BED ON TIME!

    Little or none of our food and electronics is manufactured with malice aforethought. One of our culture’s great values, after all, is prosperity, isn’t it? Speading the wealth can’t be bad, can it? That drive for prosperity, translated into the goal of ever-increasing profits, dwarfs any consideration of side-effects.

    Conspiracy theory won’t hold up here, but the effect of the corporate juggernaut in agrobusiness and electronics is the same: the people’s health is sacrificed to the gods of business and, indeed, their dysfunction becomes the fuel for new corporatocracies like the pharmaceutical industry and bureaucracies like “special education” (now so broadly applied it’s not so special anymore). By their very nature these entities, designed to solve health and education problems, flourish only in a climate of worsening health and declining learning.

    Undeniably, the use of television, computers, cellphones, and gaming devices is bad for human beings’ health and should be user-restricted; the younger the human, the more more severely should all these things be curtailed. A human under seven, ideally, should not be using them at all. (Then all we special-education people would be out of a job–wonderful!)

    Similarly, ideally we should all be severely restricting our use of prepared and pre-packaged foods while opting to purchase and prepare only fresh, local, non-GMO, organic foods offered to our children from or at home three times a day–doesn’t that hark back to the Fifties? Of course it does. That was the last time most children were raised in a regulated, home-based way. That has become next to impossible to provide. Have you tried to buy groceries lately in a healthy, ethical manner? Perimeter shopping isnt a sufficient strategy anymore! Just doing a good job of bringing home good groceries is a part-time job!

    What this society needs is home-makers. Human beings naturally grow up in small family groups based around a home–a kitchen–not around offices or entertainment centers. Somebody should be supported to keep that home a healthy, safe place if we want our society to survive. Such support has not been available for half a century by now, since it became impossible to support a family on one salary. Should we wonder that the walls of our culture are falling down?

    • Cindy May 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      Well said! You covered it all.

  15. leanne jenkins February 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    hi
    i have 2 children both addicted to sugar..i suspect my son has low dopamine levels because he will do anything for sugar and now he is starting to seek out caffeine as an extra stimulant..he is struggling on all levels with add and ocd and i feel helpless as i see a future addict when i look at him and his genetics and addictions

  16. Leanna Manuel February 13, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    I have been virtually gluten free for a year now. The only time I get any gluten is when there is a contamination of some sort, never on purpose. I’m very proud of my ability to stick to this even though it means that I can’t have many of my favorite foods. I don’t seem to be able to achieve the same discipline with other substances. I suspect that I am intolerant/allergic to dairy, corn, and soy as well. Frankly, the thought of giving up cheese is so overwhelming I have put off being tested. Any words of wisdom?

  17. yvonne jones February 13, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Yes, I am definately an addict, and I have subsitutted one for another. I’ve been clean of drugs..etc for 23 years, cigarettes for 12 years but sugar still is a daily battle. My weight and lifestyle is so out of control as a result. I understand what I should do (just stop) but not so easy. But it is horrible, I quit smoking to be around for my daughter….but this could shorten my life just as easily.

  18. sherri richards February 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    I have recently used glutamine and niacin based chromimum in conjunction with Dr. Perricone’s recommendations in his latest book. I also take lots of omega 3s, avoid fruit juice and sugars. I do use Stevia which does not seem to have any affect on cravings as does sugar or Equal. I have lost 27 pounds in 90 days and only have cravings if I fall off of the sugar wagon. I am a 69 year old woman.

  19. chirsty atiles February 14, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I’m no expert but I noticed that when I eat foods w high fructose corn syrup I just can’t get enough. For example: when I have entenmanns regular size donuts I take one bite and can’t stop eating til I feel sick which is 3 donuts later. Soda made with HFCS also does this to me to. However, if i eat ice cream or a candy bar made with sugar I only need just a few bites to feed my sweet tooth. So I don’t eat anything with HFCS. I started drinking tea with agave nectar to satisfy my sweet cravings at night.

  20. Shannon Alvis February 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Struggling with sugar addiction and with alcohol in the past really has affected my self esteem. At 37, acne still plagues me. Actually, my skin was better when I was younger!

    I exercise regularly, am not over weight, avoid many nutritional pitfalls, and take a pretty well rounded regimen of supplements, but sugar is my nemesis. Diabetes and cancer are legitimate concerns with my family history, also. It is frustrating to feel so out of control by not being able to resist the constant barrage of sweets sitting around the work break room and at parties.
    My moods and severity of PMS symptoms definitely are linked to what goes in my mouth, I’ve noticed.

    When I have attempted to cut sugar out, the with-drawls made me irritable and tired beyond belief. My goal is to break free of this cycle by doing the Ultra Simple Diet this spring. Spring cleaning on the inside, if you will.

    Thank you for the enlightening information. Its good to know there are deeper reasons for these addictions than lack of will and morals.

  21. Liz Moore, CNC,CNHP February 15, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    I have found that encouraging my clients to eat foods rich in B vitamins, such as whole grains, will nourish the adrenal glands, and stabilize blood sugar throughout the day.
    The most frequent comment I hear is that they no longer crave the refined carbohydrates that they used to eat!

  22. Gillian Riley February 16, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    You asked for comments, and I have two regarding your advice to “eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners and your cravings will go away.”

    1. The problem with abstinence is that it’s unsustainable, and once broken can set up an all-or-nothing relationship with sugar, where you’re either being ‘good’ or very ‘bad’. Then, even when in a ‘good’ phase, you know it will all go crazy sooner or later. A lot of people are stuck with this, and it’s so discouraging. AA wouldn’t want you to know this, but more problem drinkers have pulled off a transformation to occasional, social drinking than have done it the abstinent way. This is even more appropriate with food, where there are infinite shades of gray. For example, plenty of ‘abstinent’ sugar-addicts overeat fruit like it’s going out of style. Not only is abstinence unsustainable, but for most people antisocial and often extremely inconvenient and impractical.

    2. All the blood-sugar balancing in the world won’t eliminate the massive impact of Pavlovian conditioned associations. Cues trigger a release of dopamine in the brain, creating an altered state of consciousness, simply because food (especially refined carbs) was consumed in that situation in the past. This can feel like hunger, craving, urge – or not much at all if we are unaware of it and just mindlessly overeating! Cues are the availability of food together with the expectation of eating: shopping, watching TV, feeling bored or angry, to name just a few. It is through understanding and managing this that people can take maintainable control that doesn’t require abstinence.

  23. Betty February 18, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Hello Dr. Hyman, You say in your article “I have used some of these in my practice, such as glutamine and other amino acids, with success. ”
    I have another article from Russell Blaylock, MD, who states “In fact, glutamate, the excitotoxin, is formed in the body from glutamine by a special enzyme. Taking high doses of glutamine increases the production of glutamate in the brain and eye and has been shown to increase neurological damage as well as retinal damage.” These appear to be conflicting opinions regarding the use of glutamine. How are we to discern what supplements are safe?
    Thank you.
    Betty

  24. Laurel Lawson February 18, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I believe I am addicted to sugar. I do all the wrong things. I can’t seem to get enough sugar. When I get just a little bit hungry, I start thinking about chocolate candy mostly. Then I go and get a candy bar. It is so yummy that I have to have another one. Then I start feeling a little sick at my stomach and I wait for an hour or more and when I stop feeling sick to my stomach, I go try to find something else sweet.

    I started on the detox program of ultra metabolism and did very well with it. I did the preparation week, then the detox week and slowly added foods back into my diet as suggested in your book. At the end of 5 weeks, I had lost 19 pounds and could feel it and see it in my loose clothes. I was so excited and didn’t think about sweets much anymore. Then Thanksgiving came and my daughter who was doing the program with me decided she was going to enjoy thanksgiving and eat what we would normally eat for thanksgiving. I decided to join her for the day. It is now the middle of February and I have not convinced myself to get back on the plan. I have completely returned to my old habits and addiction and am very disappointed in myself. Every week I tell myself it is the week I will get back on the plan but I put it off because I don’t have things together enough to start again. I convince myself that I don’t have the money for the food or I don’t have time to clean out the fridge or I don’t have time to prepare the meals, etc. I felt so great on the program and I was finally seeing real weight loss success even though I have struggled with weight ever since I became burdened with hypothyroidism about 18 years ago. It seemed completely impossible to loose any weight even though I had been a very active and dedicated aerobics instructor for 15 years. All of a sudden I started gaining weight and nothing I tried would help me loose weight. It simply would not budge. At that time I was 17 percent body fat and quite fit. Then I had my fourth baby and I gained more weight with him and I could not get the weight off that time like I had with the first 3 babies. I plan to go back on the program of ultra metabolism and hope to stay on it for life if I can make myself cook the wonderful meals. I am not much of a cook. I would rather clean toilets than cook a meal. So that is also a challenge for me. I do believe in your program and know it works for me but it is a challenge with the cooking, especially because my husband and son’s won’t try anything new, therefore I cook 2 meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner since they won’t try the ultra metabolism meals I try to cook.
    I do believe in your program and have seen it work for me. I just need to get back on the program and stay on it.

  25. karen February 18, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Dr. Hyman, I never knew how addicted to sugar I was! I did phase 1 of your book and it was mind blowing. My life has completely changed, after I detoxed, I tried a bite of a donut, It certainly wasn’t as delicious as I had remembered, but I had this amazing urge to jam it in my mouth and just eat the whole box of donuts. It was pretty scary! It was mindless and uncontrollable.

    I would have never realized that without obstaining from sugar for 5 weeks. You are my hero and I am so thankful for the knowledge you are sharing with us.

  26. annie February 19, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Hi,
    I do not eat processed foods, let me rephrase…i have been eating Barbara’s Blue Cheese puffs…not realizing that my addiction was taking over. I can go for 9 months without having any sugar, not even honey or molasses. Then i really go overboard….i’ll have 2 cups of fresh ginger tea with organic cream and honey. I’ll chew a whole jar of the healthy gum…starts with X…bitol. If there is any chocolate in the house, or if my husband buys those Nestle ice cream cones…i’ll eat 2 in a row and wonder what has come over me, i hide it, i am ashamed, it’s like i am not walking my talk.
    i have a glass of lemon water every morning, then 1 tsp of ground flax, then a fruit…followed by an egg, Shelton’s turkey sausage with greens, drizzle some organic olive oil and might fry up some ginger and garlic, tamari gluten free, occasionally…not much into salty, i do use Real Salt to salt my oil and salt free popcorn and drizzle organic Coconut oil on there…it’s really good. I put on weight and i get maigraines, they are no where near as bad as they used to be…i don’t take any drugs for them, i up my vitamin D, seems to help. But it doesn’t get rid of it once it starts, typically lasts 3 days, cluster headache. I meditate and am on a great spiritual how to live path…i would be such a mess if i wasn’t minding my food and on this path…I need help with the sugar addiction….
    thanks
    anniie

  27. Summer Perry February 20, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    Dr. Hyman, I am responding to your article in hopes that you can perhaps suggest a physician in the Los Angeles area that if familiar with your system and practices like you, please, S’il vous plaît, por favor! :)

    Have you ever been addicted top sugar? What was it like?
    Yes. I am currently addicted to sugar and have been all my life. It is hell, I feel so out of control. I am hungry and tired all the time. I didn’t grow as much as I believe I should due to a high sugar diet as a child. I learned that insulin blocks human growth hormone. My parents are 6’1 and 5’8, I am 5’3 and have always been “skinny fat.” I now have Myasthenia Gravis, an auto immune disorder. The sugar cravings control my life. I have tried to quit many times and failed. My father is a chronic sugar addict and alcoholic and my grandmother is also addicted to sugar (high bad cholesterol, low good, probably insulin resistant) I can’t find a doctor that takes me seriously, I really feel that I could benefit from naltrexone, to help me kick this addiction.
    Do you think the food industry is feeding us products we become addicted to so they can increase profits?
    Absolutely. In this corrupt system profit always comes before the health and safety.
    Have you tried overcoming food addiction using any of these steps? How did they work for you?
    I haven’t followed your methods entirely yet, but I am planning on it. Very fearful of the sugar cravings and withdrawal.

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD May 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

      Thank you, Summer, for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. To locate a practitioner of functional medicine in your area see the “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine’s website. Here you will find a place to enter your zip code and look for practitioner’s in your area that have completed the institute’s five-day training course in functional medicine. Understand that not all of the doctors listed here will fit your particular needs. Many different medical professionals complete this training, and you will have to do additional research on your own regarding a particular practitioner’s approach and whether or not it fits your specific medical requirements. This may include calling the practioner’s office, visiting his or her website, and/or scheduling a consultation.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

  28. Melody February 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    I am so excited that I have found your site! I am a mother who is addicted to sugar I don’t do drugs and I do not smoke..so sugar is my one and only addiction. My 6 year old has high functioning autism and my oldest who is 10 has adhd. I am skeptical of the concerta that I am giving my son with adhd. He has a mild heart murmur and it scares me. I know sugar is not good for that and he is addicted to it and loves the take out!
    I do believe they add high fructose corn syrup to a lot of things that we crave and want more.
    Detox, diet and repair the body and therapy for my autistic son is helping. We are using a doctor who uses homeopathic supplements Dr. Amy Davis out of St. Louis, and he has made amazing results.

  29. Beth Mason February 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    I first gave up everything that looked like sugar (cakes, cookies, pop, etc.) in Feb. 2002. I gave it up because my mother was told she was dying of cancer and my father had already died of heart disease and I learned that these two illnesses were highly correlated with sugar. It was six months of pure heck. I craved sugar so much I had to spend days in bed just so I didn’t eat any. I would spend hours in the grocery store trying to find any processed food that did not contain sugar – impossible. I was already ill and everything just got 50 times worse. But because I was worse I intuitively knew that it was like giving up any toxic substance, like alcohol, tobacco, heroin or anything else and this is what normally happens. Since I was so much worse I knew I was on the right track. After 4 months my illness started to get just a little bit better and I knew for sure all my suffering was worth it in the long run. I then gave up all forms of processed sugar in Feb. 2004 and have not had any since and never will again. Not one granule. That of course means no processed foods, very little restaurant food, no fast food, no convenience food, pretty much only real food that I cook myself. At the time I didn’t really cook so while all this was going on I also had to learn how to cook! And I wasn’t very good at it. But I persevered and slowly after many years my illness is managed to the point where I am able to live a fairly normal life. For 10 years I was too ill to work full time but I am now in my third year and I walk between 6-12 miles a day at my job. But it is not only giving up toxic foods it is also about what you are replacing them with. Instead of eating sugar, refined carbs and chemicals, I was eating nutrient dense foods. All those nutrients change your tastebuds and your cravings and my old diet is SO unappetizing to me now. It is all worth it to me, every meal, every day. My illness is Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. And I thank the Universe, the Gods and the Angels every day for people like Dr. Hyman and Dr. Mercola who taught me enough to do all of this and I am grateful every day for my normal life.

    • Jeff Flemings April 4, 2014 at 7:56 am #

      Congratulations Beth! You are a shining example for all of us.

  30. Debbie Seavey February 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    About a year ago I did you Ultra simple diet. I lost over 60 lbs. Then little by little I went back to my old eating habits and have gained all the weight back! I get very nervous when I think about going back on the diet. I have a sugar addiction and seem to want to eat sweets all the time. I will take my last dollar to buy a candy bar! I know I can do it because I have done it before (lost weight). I was satisfied on the diet and didn’t feel hungry. Now I have a hard time to reach my shoes to tie them and get out of breath when walking. What can I do to get back on track? Debbie

  31. KathyB February 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Yes, I have been and am addicted to sugar. Several years ago I was diagnosed as having an overabundance of candida or yeast in my intestinal tract. I was told to go on a no-sugar diet ( in any form, including fruit) which I did. My symptoms cleared up in months, I lost 45 pounds, and felt much better. Since I began to feel better, I thought I could eventually eat sweets ( my favorite) in moderation. That has not proven to be a correct assumption. I have gained 20 of those pounds back and continually struggle to lose them. I know I have a real addiction to sugar and want to eliminate it, but I can’t quite give up my guilty pleasures, particularly with chocolate and desserts. Is there a middle ground or do I have to forego sweets forever to be cured of this addiction and the resultant weight gain it causes?

  32. Lisa E. Lopez March 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Hello Dr. Hyman –

    I have read several of your articles and always find them to be informative as well as thought provoking. I have had problems with “just saying no” to sugar all of life and have recently (within the last few years) developed symptoms of insulin resistance. I constantly felt hungry no matter what or how much I ate, I couldn’t lose weight even while training for a sprint distance triathlon and worst of all my waistline kept expanding! I am over 40, work in an extremely stressful profession and have a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure as well as gestational diabetes during one of my pregnancies.

    After doing a little research I decided to try Gymnema Sylvestre. It’s been used by Ayurvedic physicians for centuries to treat diabetes and has had some very good results in studies conducted in the UK and Japan. I have been taking it regularly for several months and have noticed some profound effects. I no longer feel hungry all of the time and don’t feel the need to snack constantly. I have reduced my portion sizes by almost half without consciously making the effort, I just don’t need to eat as much. I am more than satisfied with a “little something sweet” and can happily eat a single cookie instead of the entire sleeve. And best of all excercise now produces actual results!

    I feel like I am back in control of my appetite and my body. I still love sweets and carbs but I no longer feel driven by my appetite. I can focus on other things such as excercising for the enjoyment of it and taking pleasure in eating my meals without feeling like I’m constantly waging a war with my appetite and cravings. So far I have lost 1 1/2″ from my waist.

    This simple little herb has had a profound effect on my life. Hopefully others will read my post and it will benefit them as well.

    Sincerely,
    Lisa L.

  33. Mary Benson March 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Hi, I had an acquired brain injury in 1999. They have not been able to definitely determine the cause and have ruled out everything under the sun from Mad Cow disease, arsenic poisoning to stroke. They are calling it Frontal Lobe Dementia due to the symptoms; balance problems, wide gait, right sided weakness, limb nerve pain, short term memory impairment, at first when it happened I had to learn how to talk, read, walk, and do basic living skills all over through a Rehab Hospital for 2.5 years. One of the many symptoms I have is sugar cravings and especially to chocolate. I gained 80lbs. in the first year after never having a weight problem throughout my life, 38 when this happened. Now it is almost impossible for me to lose weight. The doctors say it is due to the brain injury but cannot seem to help me find a solution. I have tried a variety of diets and I was on the National Paralympic Team in Cross-country skiing working out 16 hours a week at an elite level athlete with only being able to lose 20 lbs and it is very hard keeping it off no matter what I eat. Any suggestions??? Thank you, Mary

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD May 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

      Thank you, Mary, for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      If you would like information on becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center please see “How to Become a Patient” at http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com. That site is designed to give prospective patients a comprehensive source of information about The UltraWellness Center. You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637 9991.

      Regardless of becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, it sounds like you need to consult with a doctor. Please seek medical attention for the issues that you outlined in your message.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

  34. denos March 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    i enjoy your article. great job. keep it simple

  35. Kim Aguilar March 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    I am a sugar addict. I am a 33 year old female. I have eliminated sugar 3 times in my life, successfully, for about a year each time. Each of these experiences were the result of quitting cold turkey. Each time I relapsed as a result of a very small sugar intake; in 2009, I ate 2 pieces of See’s candy for Christmas which resulted in an entire year of sugar bingeing. I am currently trying to quit again. I can go about a week before I cave again. All I can think about is what I will eat next. The drive for sugar overtakes everything else. In the past I found success in the Overeater’s Anonymous program. It works like Alcoholics Anonymous. Very helpful. Unfortunately, the meeting times are not always convenient. Also, without restful sleep, overcoming the addiction is practically impossible. I would like to point out that quitting sugar literally reverses my symptoms which include: fatigue, depression, anxiety, obesity (I’ve lost weight, up to 30 lbs, each time), acne, and eczema. I think the primary reason is that once sugar is eliminated, my intake of healthy food increases, which causes my digestive health to improve. Without sugar, my body regulates everything better. And once sugar is not the all consuming force, I eat more regularly, which therefore keeps my blood sugar at optimal levels, although I’ve never had them checked. I do think Vitamin D also helps, but it’s another side effect. If I’m not getting a sugar fix, I’m more likely to go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

  36. Connie March 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I am a typical sugar addict. I found this out by beginning my journey to lose weight. I ate fast food on occasion but mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts and protein. I have always loved French fries and always looked for some sort of low calorie sweet treat.
    Then after a year of this eating pattern, I was given a Carrot Cake for my Birthday, the really sweet one from Costco. I had a very small piece and not realizing it at that moment; I was soon to be out of control. I went on a binge. Not that I looked for sweets. I HAD TO HAVE THEM, after meals between meals, low calorie, high calorie, it just didn’t matter. I still ate the healthy, but I NEEDED THE SWEETS.
    After a month of this is when I realized my trigger. I was addicted to sugar. Never having any experience or ever hearing from anyone that sugar addiction is a real thing. I only guessed this was one of my problems.
    As time went on I ignored the thought that sugar addiction was real and it was only Carrot Cake that triggered the downward spiral.
    Just recently my “NEW” Endocologist had determined by an ultrasound that I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, not just hypothyroid. He reduced my Armour thyroid by ½ grain and in 5 weeks I returned with tests in hand that show low TSH and Low T4. He decided that maybe I don’t have a thyroid problem and I should begin taking .01mcg of Synthroid for 5 weeks and see what happens in test results.
    I vowed that that moment to take my health in my own hands. Armed with the information from your site and some others on autoimmune I decided to make my own changes while waiting for my next Dr. Appointment.
    I removed all artificial sweeteners and sugar from my daily intake. I feel good, not great yet, but I love that the cravings for sugar are not so intense.

    I am gaining almost 3/4 pounds a day while maintaining a healthy 1600-1800 calorie a day intake, mostly vegetables, fruits and about 50-60 grams protein. I still have the occasional want for something sweet after dinner, so I have a piece of fruit. My favorite is banana. Remarkably, this is satisfying.
    Thanks to your research and newsletter, I now know sugar addiction is a real problem and I can stop convincing myself it is in my head.
    Thank you for what you do.
    Connie

  37. Amelisa Metis March 8, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    So beautiful article. I visit the site. It gives me lots of satisfaction and interest. Please every one visit this site quickly.Keep it up……..

  38. Elaine Vastardis March 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    What luck to find an article describing just the experience I have been having for 2 weeks now. I have recently been on a quest to eliminate most sugars from my diet. The elimination of soft drinks for myself has been over 5 years. That being said, I feel that any sugar is giving me an urge to eat more food and just by cutting out processed sugar I have noticed a radical shift in the amount of food cravings in general. It has certainly helped me with not only weight loss but making it an easier transition because the cravings have virtually stopped. In order to battle my weight problem, I feel the concurring of my sugar addiction to be paramount to my success. If I can curb my appetite for sugar I will definitely be able to concur my weight problem.

  39. elisabet March 12, 2011 at 4:28 am #

    I have fatty liver. I’ve eaten in my life too many sweets. I try to avoid sweets and I have managed to a large extent. The fatty liver corrected and how? Thanks alot my kisses from Greece.
    Elisabet

  40. gila gideon March 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Hi
    I`m reading at the moment your book UltraMetabolism in Hebrew. Must say it makes sense and puts in order so many things I could`nt put my finger on. Another on of yours is waiting in line… :-)
    TKS ! Gila Gideon
    http://il.linkedin.com/in/gilagideon

  41. Florencia Knoepffler March 15, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Since having my first child (out of 2), I have stopped all my bad habits “cold turkey”. I remember my last cigarette smoked was on January 14, 2005 and I have also stopped my drinking and partying lifestyle. I am now a 35 year old mother of 2, about to celebrate 10 years of marriage. I consider myself to be a wild girl turned good. The only vice that I have not given up is COFFEE!!!!!!!!! Reading that the combination of milk and sugar causing acne just blew me away! Now sugar is addicting!!!! I don’t like to put fake sweeteners in my coffee. I do it every once in a while when I feel fat and tell myself that sugar is bad, so I use Splenda. But I know that there is no substitution for the real, organic thing for my body. Especially because I suffer from CIDP. I need to ingest the least amount of chemicals as possible. I drink 1% or Fat Free organic cows milk. I cannot get accustomed to any other milk, rice, almond, you name it, I have tried it. Having CIDP and the fatigue that comes along with it, I find myself needing that caffine kick to even attempt keeping up with my young children. Reading that I need to kick the sugar leaves me thinking; what what is recommended to sweeten a tired mother’s coffee who has a chronic illness and needs to stay away from chemicals???? And please don’t tell me that I need to cut the coffee and switch to green tea! There is no substituting my morning cappuccino! That would be like preaching abstinence to a married couple. As I said, I have given up all my bad habits, this is the only vice I allow myself. Please let it be tasty!!!!!!

  42. heather montecinos March 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Hey Dr Hyman
    I am a member at Saddleback Church and have heard you speak. I love your ideas and your simple detox book. I do have some sugar cravings more so as I have hit my 40’s but I eat well on the whole. I looked at your supplement list and would love to take some but I am taking seizure meds although don’t have seizures. I take Lamactial and Keppra. I have had 3 non cancerous tumors. 3 brain surgeries at Cedar Sanai with great doctors. I have a tumor that is on the more rare side called a epidermoid tumor. It keeps on growing and I am 42 now and have been having surgeries about every 2 or so years. I hate it because it limits what I can take because I do not want to effect my medications. Sooo do you think any of these amino acids or other supplements would do that. Thanks in advance for your help.

  43. Ashley March 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I’ve been doing research for a midterm project about being addicted to sugar and came upon your theory. After looking through other articles and websites, I’ve found that many of them refer to your article. Do you know of any other credible sources who share your view? What are the symptoms of being a sugar addict?

  44. Kim March 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Hello. You asked to hear from a food addict well here I am! I lived most of my life binging and dieting. I thought there was something wrong with me. I just HAD to have chocolate and/or refined carbs and eventually I couldn’t get enough. I was consuming mass amounts and feeling horrible about it. I thought I could eat these things in moderation if only I were strong enough. I finally realized that I couldn’t and that my life was out of control. I was miserable, angry, depressed and just about ready to give up. I sought the help of a 12 step program and I’ve been on my since. First, I cut out sugar. You are right that we simply cannot “cut back” on our sugar intake. I also took out white flour but not wheat. I immediately went through withdrawal. I felt my brain was cloudy and I had a very flat affect for about a month or so. However, I still had to manage volume!
    I am now currently measuring & weighing all of my food. I’ve given up any kind of flour including wheat and I’ve cut out all sugar including Splenda. I was consuming about 20 packets of that per day.
    I feel better but the cravings still come & go and sometimes they are so strong that I can literally taste the foods I used to eat. It’s amazing just how strong a craving can be. I meditate until it passes or I call someone from the12 step program for help. I know that the second I pick up that substance – there wil be NO stopping me and there also IS NOT enough of that subtance to satisfy me.
    Yes, I whole heartedly believe the food industry adds sugar to everything in an effort to make us more addicted so we will buy more. I love how everything now says, “No high fructose corn syrup” but if you look at the ingrediants you will still see sugar, malodextrin, etc. They just use different names. It’s still loaded with additive sugars.
    I used the steps above as I stated by eliminating these foods all together and I do take Vitamin D (5000units day) as well as Omega-3 and glucosamine chondroiton but I never knew it could help with my sugar addiction.

    This addiction is sadly just as bad as alcoholism and/or drug addiction. I wonder if taking a pill to block the effects of sugar would work in the long-run for individuals. I am also a firm believer in behavior though and the 12 step program teaches us that even though the food is gone we must follow a new way of life or else we will likely fall back into food addiction. We must find a new way of coping rather than with the sugar.

    Thank you for your posting. I enjoyed it and it re-assures me that I am not a bad person that lacks will power. This is a disease. Thank you for recognizing that. I am in healthcare and have met many healthcare providers who simply don’t understand the addiction of sugar.

    Thank you.
    Anonymous in NJ

  45. Syndy Box March 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    I have been addicted to sugar for many years. Its extremely frustrating. I’ve tried numerous diets, including no sugar at all. I have limitied success, and always end up ‘falling off the wagon’ when my stress levels go up. I am very nearly at my heaviest (again), have lost much of my hair due to diet stress (never grows back, either), and I have extremely low self-esteem. I have been very near just giving up and giving in. I am 44 years old – what hope do I have at this point of ever being free?
    My father is also a sugar-addict. In the past, he has used smoking cigarettes as a way to fight food and lose weight. He gave the smoking up due to health reasons, but is already starting to gain weight again, and is thinking of going back to the cigarettes.
    I am desperate for both of us.
    If anyone can help, please – help us.

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD May 29, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      Thank you, Syndy, for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      If you would like information on becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center please see “How to Become a Patient” at http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com. That site is designed to give prospective patients a comprehensive source of information about The UltraWellness Center. You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637 9991.

      Regardless of becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, it sounds like you need to consult with a doctor. Please seek medical attention for the issues that you outlined in your message.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

  46. -V- May 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    I’m definitely strongly addicted to sugar and it becomes more pronounced as my training gets more intense. Although I’ve made efforts to limit my sugar intake, it’s become a bit of a cycle and I keep going back to the comfort foods. The ironic part is that I’m a personal trainer and am in great shape. I’ve always joked that I work out as much as I do so I can eat what I like. It’s become a major focal point in my active lifestyle to eat healthy and balanced, yet this Vice is attached to me and continues to hide behind my tongue. = ). Hey! Awareness is half the battle!!! Sugar, Beware!

  47. Carlyn July 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Dear Dr. Hyman,

    I am so happy so see someone paving the way so to speak for food addicts. I was first introduced to the possibility of food addiction back in 2002 and in Jan. of 2003, I went sugar, flour and wheat free and no high fat foods. I was 39 years old and weighed 260. Over the following 18 months, I shed 135 lbs. and I kept it off for several years. It was the only time in my life that I was did not struggle with cravings, weight and I was lean.

    I “fell of the wagon” in 2007 and over the last 4 years, I’ve regained 100+ lbs. I haven’t been able to make my way back. Seems harder than ever to get more than 2 weeks of clean eating under my belt. In my search for more answers, I came across your literature and that of other health professionals which explaim more about dopamine and receptors in addicts. I’ve already incorporated a B complex, glutamine, Omega-3, calcium, vitamin D, chromium and a probiotic in my diet. And I started again on the food plan (day 3) that I found successful. I have ordered and plan to start L-Tyrosine and DL Phenylalamine supplements to boost dopamine.

    Do I think the food industry is feeding us products we become addicted to so they can increase profits? Absolutely … and marketing hard to the young consumers.

    Even more concerning to me are gastric bypass surgeries and other surgical procedures for the sake of weight loss. The problem does not lie with the size of ones stomach. I’m seeing bariatric surgeons making millions at the expense of desperate, obese people. I seldom see a bariatric surgery with long term weight loss … the person more often than not regains a significant amount of weight. A person must make a significant lifestyle change, whether you choose surgery or not. There is no magic in surgery or drastic weight loss shots or pills for that matter.

    I’m thrilled to see physicians like yourself, embracing food addiction and looking for ways to get to the root of the problem. I applaude your efforts and will closely follow your work!!

  48. Rebecca September 10, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Dear Dr. Hyman,
    I have been addicted to sugar for as long as I can remember. Basically, everything I eat or want to eat is sweet. I try to be healthy and I often kid myself by using artificial sweeteners, eating sweetened organic yogurts, and avoiding corn syrup. I grew up at a time when everything was “fat Free” and I exchanged the fat in my diet for sugar.I would say that I crave it all day long. If I eat a healthy salad, I add a sweet dressing. I associate sweet with comfort and find that when I am really stressed or frustrated I have little self control. I try really hard to eat healthy and do not eat meat , avoid artificial foods, and buy organic products. I have suffered with migraines and autoimmune diseases and I assume the sugar I eat is not helping. The idea of going “cold turkey” is scary, but I guess it’s the only way.

  49. jewel shanahan September 10, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    It dumbfounds me how much hidden sugar is in our food so unless you make it a point to read labels you don’t realize how much extra sugar you unknowingly ingest. I have a big problem trying to find something as simple as BREAD with no sugar (or honey, the evil high frutose corn syrup, or whatever, sweetener) in it. Why can’t we just get a nice simple unsweetened loaf of bread or rolls or….,you get the picture! There is so much else that has unneeded sugar in it, no wonder we are an obese nation and so many of our children are overweight and hyper. Please read labels and anything that has SUGAR, (or it’s many forms), in it – put back on the shelf.

  50. Joni September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    I get soooo discouraged.
    I eat a good breakfast (quinoa, rice milk, 3 TB fresh ground flax, walnuts, cinnamon)
    I eat a protein snack between meals.
    I try to avoid eating an extensive list of foods I’m allergic to.
    I eat 2 or 3 servings of fresh fruit each day.
    I eat about 30% of my food raw.
    I don’t eat gluten or dairy.
    I eat fish 3-4 times a week.
    AND I CRAVE SWEETS. I’M FIGHTING EACH EVENING NOT TO EAT ALL EVENING. I CAN HARDLY DRIVE BY A STORE AND NOT BUY PEANUT M&Ms. I WAKE UP EVERY MORNING KICKING MYSELF “WHY DID YOU EAT LAST NIGHT BEFORE BED??!!!”
    It seems like I have many good healthy eating practices TO NO AVAIL.

  51. Kathryn Gossien September 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Try to find a copy of the book NUTRITION AND YOUR MIND which was written by a Dr. who used a blood test to check a person’s body metabolism as to whether they were a fast oxidizer or a slow oxidizer. Each type needed their own specific type diet and eating the wrong diet would mess you up. He saved patients from having electoshock treatment etc. Also the appendix had studies of two different sets of vitamins that operated the same way . ie. one group might help and the other would harm. Unfortunately I gave my copy of the book away and it’s been years since I read it. Hope it is still in print. I think the Zone diet works for me WHEN I stick to it. I tested as a fast oxidizer.

  52. Katherine DC October 18, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    @ Kathryn G .. where did you have the blood test done? Thru your MD or ????
    I would like to know plz. What test do I ask for??? This fascinates me, and this I struggle with as well…. ;)

  53. Julie October 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    It is very comforting to find I am not the only one struggling with this. The BEAST is sugar for me. I am finding it impossible to give up completely. I too weaned myself off for a few months then relapsed finding myself eating sugary things that I hadn’t touched before. HELP!

  54. zab November 1, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Wow Joni, you sound exactly like me. I am gluten free, dairy free, try to eat as raw as possible, but I am a hopeless sugar addict and I’m starting to binge eat again like mad (it never stopped actually). Sugar, UGH!!! It’s destroyed my life. I’m pretty sure I have mad candida, or mad adrenal fatigue, or both.

    I’m going to try picking up L tyrosine, chromium annnd.. L glutamine,,, I already have 5-htp so I’ll just start taking it again. I plan to go on a juice fast and use these to help with the sugar cravings.. I hope this work

  55. Kristin November 1, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Hello Dr. Hyman,

    Your research, videos and words are life changing and I want to say thank you. I am twenty three years old and have struggled with a sugar addiction since I was thirteen. I have recently lost a very close friend/partner and have been using sugar/processed junk to numb me. It is a hopeless horrid cycle. The sugar is dumbing me out and depressing me. I feel heavy and confused. I have never been an overweight person, but it is about how you feel not what you look like. My insides are TOXIC right now and I HAVE to change this. I notice you advise going cold turkey, this is what I am going to do starting tomorrow. I feel sick and low – sugar is toxic ehh.

    Thank you for your work. It has honesty taught me so much. You are a great person.

    Thanks,

    Kristin

  56. Marlon Brando November 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Based on the comments, it seems most people are falling for the ineffective approach of just trying harder.

    People often think “if I just try harder, I would be able to eat healthier, exercise more, etc” The idea that eating healthier is about willpower is based around the heroic idea that our willpower is the most centrally important driver in our lives. But social psychology shows that the situation around us is at least as important as our personality. Willpower is an exhaustible resource, and as humans we run out of it before it needs to be replenish. When trying to bring about positive change in one’s life, environment always trump trying harder.

    Creating an environment that makes it easy and encourages you to make the right choices, where you’re not relying on willpower or trying harder is going to increase your chances of success exponentially!! I encourage to read Dr. Hyman articles on the psychology of change, in addition researching information on “how to change when change is hard”!! A quick google search will produce loads of information.

    Changing bad habits and creating new ones is more than just tying harder and or using will power. You need to look at all the other components that impact change!!

    Good Luck – Thanks Dr. Hyman for the great work you’ve done on making American’s healthier!!

  57. Sylvia December 24, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    Hello. I have been a ‘carbohydrate’ addict my whole life…although I didn’t become aware of the chemical/ glycemic conversion aspect of the addiction until I was in my 40’s. By then, my father and brother had become diabetic and I had been diagnosed as having gestational diabetes.
    During my teens a typical lunch comprised, a pie, a pint of milk and a Mars bar.
    During my 20’s,30’s & most of my 40’s, I ate large portions of pasta, potatoes, ice-cream and chocolate and the like and bingeing on those foods was normal.
    Aprox 11 years ago I learned about the glycemic index of foods. I gave up White flour and refined products, swapped potatoes for sweet potatoes, gave up sugar and introduced grains and pulses into my diet. I also took regular long walks and swam three times a week. I lost weight and felt full of energy. This lasted about 7 years until I hit menopause at 54.
    Since then I have really struggled to stay on track and fall off the wagon regularly, at a time in my life when I need to keep belly fay at bay!
    I am still addicted or I wouldn’t keep sabotaging my efforts and I wake up at least one morning every week with what I call a ‘sugar hangover’. I constantly think of food and what I am going to eat next. On a positive front, I do read the food labels on everything and cook,everything from scratch, not from packets and jars etc.

    I have noticed that the food companies are adding glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup and the like to almost everything these days, in fact it’s hard to avoid.

    I believe our countries food agencies are now accomplices and therefoe responsible in aiding food manufacturers to add these highly addictive substances to the food which is consumed by millions; thus increasing the incidence of diabetes, obesity and other deceases.
    The consequences can be seen everywhere…
    Most people are unaware of what’s happening and what this may do to theirs and their families health. It’s appalling that the greed to make more profit outweighs the consequences. It’s actually drug dealing on a large scale, except it’s been made perfectly legal and fighting it would be akin to tackling the tobacco industry.
    It seems that even if this new practise is going to end up killing millions eventually…stopping it will be almost impossible.
    Sylvia

    The cost of this epidemic

  58. michelle December 24, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Addicted to sugar? Yes. When I was a teenager I used to wake up I the morning & my first thought was “how can I manage to sneak a twinkie out of the cookie jar before breakfast”? I knew this was not normal. I have tried several things over the years with some success…the biggest was 2 years off sugar & flour in a 12 step program. But I found it too restrictive…no nuts, only 3 regimented meals each day, and I still had horribly real food dreams at night where I would wake up convinced that I must have sleepwalked into the kitchen & eaten something sweet. I go through periods now of healthy eating & periods of unhealthy. My weight is not where I would like it to be but thankfully it is nowhere near what it used to be.

    Still it is a daily struggle fueled by the sheer amount of crap that the food industry creates & puts out there in our faces each day & also the emotional attachment that our society places on showing love & finding comfort through food. What’s a food addict to do under those circumstances?

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

      HI Michelle,

      Thank you for sharing your story with food addiction. It seems like you have been a on a long journey and are still learning about yourself. The best thing to do is allow pleasure with your food which by nature is perfectly healthy and normal! Carbohydrates naturally induce pleasure in the brain but by denying ourselves a healhty amount or overindulging in too many refined carbohydrates we do not give our body the raw materials it needs in order to feel pleasure from not only food, but from life itself! As Julia Child said- Life itself is the proper binge! And this can be true if we balance our hormones, provide our bodies proper nourishment and also tend to the soul’s nutrition needs. Often people deny pleasure and subsist on work in our culture and that is a recipe for a huge backlash which equals a binge! So, as always, go slow, observe your needs and play around with allowing yourself the time to be with your food and enjoy healthy carbohydrates. Moderation and Going Slow will surely work wonders!

      In good health

  59. Phyllis Poole December 24, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Getting the right amount of B vitamins (I take a B150 complex every day) will help with the craving of sweets. Maybe the craving is that of carbohydrates instead. Eating a potato or slice of bread, squash, peas etc. would satisfy that craving. Getting the right amount of the B vits. and especially B6 will help wt loss and keep it down. B6 maintains sugar level in your body -it’s a hormone.
    Your suggestion of eating protein often 2-3 hrs helps also. It keeps the blood sugar up and when that gets low, hunger sets in.
    Sweets are also very handy to eat quickly. Have other foods on hand to eat, like nuts, sunflower seeds, yogurt etc. so you can have those in the ref. ahead of the sweets.
    B vits – and a complex is the answer to an alcohol addiction. Then staying of the liquor stores and liquor depts of grocery stores is a must. Discipline is a must.

  60. Christine December 24, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Hello everyone,

    I truly appreciate Dr. Hyman. I had the great pleasure to hear him speak in NYC this past September at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Conference.

    I also want to add that I have been battling sugar and over eating since I was a child, and like Dr. Hyman’s article states I am also an alcoholic- sober and in recovery for the last 11 years. I am in a 12 step program for compulsive overeating and as drastic as it may appear at first, it provides such a beautiful freedom from the obsession with food, sugar, overeating, emotional eating etc…. It is a place where I gain health… physically, mentally and spiritually. For anyone interested you can look into Grey Sheet Anonymous and/or Overeaters Anonymous. It is not for everyone but it may be for someone reading this.

    I am also studying to be a health coach and am learning a lot from the information Dr. Hyman provides so that I can guide my clients in the right direction for them and give them some solid information. Thanks Dr. Hyman!

    Happy Holidays!

  61. Caroline December 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    My name is Caroline, I AM A SUGAR ADDICT!! I am also diabetic, not a good combination. I come from a long line of diabetics, amputees, etc.. An endocrinologist once told me ( I am 30lbs overweight) that if I would just lose the weight I would no longer be diabetic. REALLY?! Sugar is absolutely a drug to me. I am angry at the thought of having to restrict sugar consumption. Sugar brings me happiness. There should be a sugarholics anonymous bootcamp, equipped with punching bags. I love sugar, I am angry about my inability to control craving it, I am angry with my endocrinologist who has no answers and basically ignores my questions on what to do about it and I’ve no doubt thinks it’s just an excuse to not be compliant. If you’re looking for answers from an endocrinologist about why you crave sugar, forget it, they’re clueless, they’ll never address it and, they don’t care to know. Thank God for you, Dr Hyman. I don’t know what your motivation is, but it doesn’t matter as long as you’re are feeding us the right information. You are a lifeline descending into the cesspool of traditional medicine. I am going to try the supplements, which I have learned are not all created equal, soon, perhaps after I go for a walk to the store for a candy bar.

  62. donald jackson December 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    Sugar is a killer, TOOO much carbs and sugar killing us!!!

  63. Tom Norman December 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    I think the food industry is sugar coating because it sells. This is why your voice is so critical.

    The question perhaps is, since sugar addiction is epidemic, should there not be responsibility statements on the sugar loaded products… to directly communicate the health issue implicit in their giving people the sugar that they want or crave.

  64. Nancy Morfin December 26, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    I am starting the journey to sugar addiction recovery with Dr. Kathleen DesMaison’s book Potatoes Not Prozac and The Sugar Addicts Total Recovery Book. She has a great website called Radiant Recovery.com all one word
    Lower case. Her system is fascinating and her clients have a great success rate. Give it a look.

  65. Michael Overeater December 27, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    This is all true, as me myself I am both addicted to sugar and to overeating. I lost 30 kgs and changed my life totally when I started to attend meetings of Overeaters Anonymous.

  66. Arlene December 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    I am totally addicted to sugar. I have no idea how to succeed at getting free. I’m planning to try the various supplements. I have tried to refrain from sugar and I definitely feel crazy with the craving. I can’t even work while I’m in withdrawal.

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD January 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

      Hi Arlene,
      Thank you for sharing your concerns about sugar addiction. It is more commone than we think and you are not alone! The good news is diet and lifestyle has a HUGE role in modifying your relationship to sugar and as Dr. Hyman says, going cold turkey is absolutely key to succeeding. By transforming your diet into one which is all whole foods, fresh and as tasty as can be with healing spices and herbs you will be on your way. There are many reasons why you might be addicted to sugar and some might be more appropriately discussed offline. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your zip. Progress accordingly from there.

      However as far as diet goes, ensure you eat plenty (4-6 oz) of lean and clean protein at each meal and never skip meals! Include healthy snacks that have protein in them. Think, nuts and an apple, not just the apple…

      Also, increase your intake of green leafy vegetables like chard, kale, spinach, bok choy etc. for its highly dense nutrient content and fiber load.

      The more fiber you can include, the better! We like sneaking it in with flax, chia or hemp seeds in salads, smoothies, soups etc.

      Other ideas are about food sensitivies. Have you ever tried to eliminate gluten from your diet? Many people report feeling much better with their relationship with food when off gluten. Everything from cravings to mood improves and it might be worthwhile trying this.

      For more info on a safe and effective elimination and detoxification program, check out Dr. Hyman’s UltraSimple Diet: http://store.drhyman.com/Store/List/The-UltraSimple-Diet

      In good health,
      Lizzy

  67. Charlotte January 15, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    I found your article very interesting. And it is also reassuring that many people are realizing that they are addicted to sugar, and that addiction is possible. I realized I was addicted when, after about a month of an intense diet change, I started having withdrawal symptoms (very low intensive, but they were there non-the-less). It was really difficult. For three months straight, the only sugar I got was from fruits, veggies, and my high-protein, high-fiber breakfast cereal/oatmeal. That and when I got extra cravings, I found that exercising was a tremendous relief.
    I had started a less intense diet earlier (with the same amount of exercise) and had not lost any weight, and it was in my distress from that, that I somehow motivated myself to literally not eat any “sweets.” Hence I realized that I was addicted, and that only motivated me more.
    Having that base of three month without any sweets was key. From there I very slowly re-introduced some sweets in my diet; because it is really difficult to say no all the time. And only now I can really control myself.
    So to all those that realize they are addicted, it is long and difficult, but very feasible to change!!

    • Lisa March 25, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      I too am a serious sugar addict. Never had a weight problem as I am not nor have I ever been addicted to anything in my life except sugar. I have tried cigarettes, alcohol and recreational drugs, but really have had no interest in any of them. Only sweets. I can process (eat) twelve ice cream sandwiches at one sitting and I am literally high. My eyes get a glazed look and I am extremely happy and fun to be around. I will have no desire for real food and will be totally full and satisfied for at least eight hours. The down side of course is that by living that way my body didn’t get any nutrients and with the high always came the crash…irritability, lack of energy, terrible sleep etc. I went on the Paleo diet for two months and did the anti-candida protocol also. I had great success until I made one fatal mistake that I see that your reader Joni is doing in her diet too. I INTRODUCED ONE FRUIT A DAY INTO MY DIET. That one fruit set me off and it has taken me six weeks and I am just starting to get back to being sugar free again, but it is taking a lot of strength and willpower. Any thoughts as to why one cup of blueberries would trigger my addiction so strongly?

      • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
        Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff March 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        Hi Lisa,

        Wow it sounds like you have been on quite the sugar journey and have accomlished a lot. This is admirable work! As for the reasons behind why the berries could set you off it could be due to a myriad of things. Do you know if you healed your gut completely? Sometimes if there is still yeast present it can trigger this response.

        For a personalized nutrition plan regarding food addiction, cravings and complusive eating, please see:http://store.drhyman.com/Store/List/Coaching-Programs

        In good health!
        Lizzy
        Nutrition Coaching Program

  68. Moon April 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Your article makes a lot of sense. I know a good amount about natural medicine but never put all the factors together. I assumed it was the Candida – which may be part, in my sugar cravings. I am slightly hypothyroid but cannot tolerate ANY thryoid at all – even compounded natural ones, and even tried a vegetarian pill. Can’t tolerate iodine well either and lots of thing just make me tired. I do take low dose naltrexone alternatively so it’s interesting that that helped control sugar cravings, although the dose I take is way too low to do that. I’m here because when I PMS I go totally out of control before and during, about half the month! I have been on an off sugar throughout the past few years but once I eat any or I PMS bad which is usually, then I’m back at square one. I am under a good doctor’s care but I suppose I should bring this issue up as well instead of just saying I have sugar cravings asking what they can do to help stop them!

  69. Mikie April 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    I am indeed addicted to sugar, and probably have been all my life. My parents were alcoholics, and from my earliest years I remember going to bars with them and having soda, candy bars and potato chips. Another early memory:
    being allowed to eat all the icing off 1/2 of a chocolate cake that had gone stale and my mother was going to throw away. My mother showed love by feeding me, and no appetite was ever denied. So now, food is to me much, much more than a way to nourish my body. It is emotional comfort, love, celebration, relief from boredom, it is always there, and never lets me down, except of course when I crash, physically and emotionally, after binging on 3,000+ calories of sugar and fat. Then of course I swear off it, until the next craving comes, which is guaranteed after the blood-sugar rollercoaster I put my body on.

    There have been a few times in my life I have managed to go entirely without sugar for weeks to maybe months at a time. There have been times when I managed to limit myself to one dessert a day for months. For the past 5-10 years I have maintained a fairly normal weight, though not stable; I vary by about 20 pounds over the course of a year, every year. Before I began exercising regularly 10 or so years ago I my weight used to vary from 135 to 165; now it is 118 to 138. Otherwise my health is very good.

    I long to be rid of this addiction! And yes, addiction it is. All the classic symptoms: I sneak food and hide how much I eat; I promise myself I won’t do it again; I eat amounts I am too ashamed to admit to anyone; I throw away all tempting food then give in and drive miles for it.

    I have been to OA, though after hearing stories of others who had binged worse than I had prior to that point it made it seem OK to me to binge more than I ever had before. Also, the idea in OA that we are powerless over food gave me more permission to overeat (in my mind.) I also saw a therepist for depression and mentioned my eating during the course of my therapy; his response was to give me a few sheets copied from a diet book from 1972 whose advice included asking a doctor for diet pills. So I don’t have much faith that there is help, or even understanding about the nature of this addiction. And I fear that not only are food manufacturers adding sugar, fat and any other cheap chemical they can to make food more appealing to us to further their own bottom line, I also believe the pharmaceutical industry is right behind them looking to make money off our illnesses by selling us drugs to increas their profits.

    In spite of that negative outlook, I would welcome any advice you have to offer.

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff April 11, 2012 at 8:42 am #

      Hi Mikie,

      Thank you for having the courage and insight to share your personal journey with food addiction. Dr. Hyman’s nutrition coaches can work with you in a way that honors your unique background and needs. You will be addressed with sensitivity, validation and respect as you develop a plan to increase your personal power and nutritional health. Please visit the coaching site to learn more about how Dr. Hyman’s staff approaches compulsive eating at: http://store.drhyman.com/Store/List/Coaching-Programs

  70. Bruce Thompson June 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Just watched your show on PBS, great stuff!! I am 51 yrs old and have been lifting weights and doing cardio for my entire life. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted so I quit sugar. It’s only been 4 weeks but my anxiety ( panic attacks) and irritabilty are completely gone, I’ve lost about 5 lbs but I am quite certain there will be more lbs to follow. It was the Gatorade and Vitamin Water that were bogging me down…I have no cravings, it is refreshing….I think many sugar freaks would believe they could never do this, but they can!!

  71. Debra June 17, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    When I was 18 years old I made a decision to cut out sugar, cold turkey. I lost the 10lbs I was over weight, looked great, felt great and my skin was completely clear and healthy looking. My father said I was too skinny and as a result over time I started back again. As years went on I’ve cut out sugar in the same manner for periods of time and found the effect was very purifying to my body. My problem seems to be when I get depressed or too wrapped up in an issue and I go back to binging. Then I find myself back on that roller coaster of struggling with my weight and my health. I’m now in my late 40’s, 25lbs overweight instead of 10 (mostly my belly), my skin is terrible throughout my body, skin allergies and sensitivities, trouble moving bowels regularly, and pain throughout my body. I BOUGHT THE BOOK after watching Dr. Hyman on PBS yesterday and now I’m focused once again on getting my life and my body “fixed”.

    It’s going to be a training of the brain and I hope to God this time will be permanent! I am around a culture of people who eat lots of rice and bread and sweets! In the past I’ve always thought “just this one bite won’t hurt” and listened to them when they say “oh, you can’t deprive yourself completely of these life pleasures”, however this time I can look back at my track record and realize I CAN’T keep doing this! I have to get my life and health going in a healthy direction before I end up with diabetes or a heart attack.

    Thank you doctor for your studies and thank you for making this an opportunity that everyone can take hold of; not just those with money to spend. God bless your studies, information and your health.

  72. Julie Deisenroth September 30, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    I am 62 years old and have been trying to lose weight for many years. My youngest son is 22yo and after he was born my weight was and has been impossible to get down. I have tried many many approaches. LoCarb worked the best but is difficult to maintain. I feel I need to lose 50# and soon!! I am a Home Health and Hospice nurse, working full time with lots of stress. I feel like I am on a new diet right now that I call the work diet: “I don’t have time to eat”! I try to avoid sugar and have done well eliminating it in several areas, but I get cravings and I cave, especially when I am working. I would like to be a distance patient. Do you do that?? I believe in what you are doing and I need your help. Have read your latest book. Any reply most welcome. Thanks.

  73. Kim Cook September 30, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I have been addicted to sugar in the past. It has been a long road out. I initially started low-carbing in very unhealthy ways several years ago. That always took the weight off but I couldn’t eat that way forever. I am now pre-diabetic so I had to get my sugar addiction under control. I have learned much over the last 2 years about my health. I am eating more natural whole foods and taking supplements that help. I am very low in vitamin D. I started taking a prescription dose 4 weeks ago. I didn’t put this together until this morning but I’ve also lost 13 lbs. in the last month without doing anything different! I’m wondering if ts the vitamin D?
    As I said, I’ve learned much about my health in many different places over the last few years. (Eating, exercise, supplements, etc). I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a doctor who could help me. Dr. Hyman is the first doctor I’ve seen who has put it all together. Thank you for finally making it clear!

  74. Janice September 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I have seen full blown effects of sugar in my daughter who is diagnosed with mental illness. When she can stay away from sugar, white flour, and junk food, she has no noticeable mental illness. After all these years, she is now afflicted with uncontrolled crippling diabetes. She craves the things which make her sick. Over 30 years ago, she was diagnosed with cerebral allergies by Dr. Thomas Stone, near Chicago IL. He has found that most serious mental illness is the result of cerebral allergies, as described in the book BRAIN ALLERGIES by Dr. William Philpott.
    When most of us are trying to break an addiction, we say, “I will not eat sugar” (or what ever the addiction may be). Since the subconscious mind hears doesn’t hear negatives, all it hears is “eat sugar”. A better plan is to simply turn away from it, with the goal of giving it no attention. Remember, whatever we resist, persists. Simply “turn the other cheek” and walk away giving it no attention and see if it helps.

  75. Mac September 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Is blackstrap molasses and maple syrup bad? I add to my oatmeal and plain yogurt. I feel more energized after eating oatmeal with it added.

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff October 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Hi Mac,

      In general, the energy we get from quick sugars such as those is fast and not sustainable. In fact, it can leave us not only more fatigued than before, but it can start us on a cycle of endless craving for sugar and sweets. How about sweetening your oats with berries? They are sweet enough but full of low glycemic nutrients and fiber. This is a real boost!

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  76. Gina Harrison September 30, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    I thought I had a sugar addiction until I read some of these posts. I am lean and athletic in my mid 50’s and as a runner I have thrived on a diet primarily of plant based foods. I do crave a post-meal sweet, not for every meal, that is easily satisfied by a small piece of dark chocolate, dates or cranberries that I mix with nuts and seeds. This is a major improvement from 10 yrs ago, when I would plan my meal based on what was for dessert. Now I question what is ‘normal’ or if there is such a thing. For those who are struggling, I wish them success in overcoming their addictions and finding the right path that I believe is unique for each person.

  77. Mena October 1, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    This article gave me a good insight about the addiction of sugar. I’ve always been addicted to sugar and breads. I grew up with a southern grandmother, that made you eat everything on your plate even if you were full. She made fresh bread with every meal. Her homade biscuit was the start of my addiction. LOL!!! I was a chubby child but my frame wasn’t made for this weight. Now I’m a obese adult. As a child candy, cookies and cakes was such a joy for me. I realize it was a crutch of good and bad times in my life. I became and type 2 diabetic at the age of 39. Now that I’m 44 it have been a struggle. I am now having difficult of losing weight and keeping blood sugar under control. I have start the low carb diet, but this is such a big struggle. My withdrawals from the bread and sweet gives me headaches, stay on edge, with the high’s and low’s. I was so bad with the addiction that wouldn’t eat real food that much, so I can have my sweets. So yes I believe that it’s the same type of addiction like drugs or alcohol. I wish could be something that can help with the cravings. I also believe we must get to the root of the problem because it goes deeper than sweet addiction..
    Thanks

  78. Elyse Walters November 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    “We are programmed to like sugar”…….(Really????)…….****REALLY****!!!!!!

    I’m 60 years old. 5′ 1 (almost 5’2) –My weight was 105lbs at the doctors office the other day. (I only weigh myself when I go to the doctor). I’m not a ‘scale’ girl. Never have been. —
    People tell me I’m thin….(have a cute body). —Often I think ….”if they only ‘knew’ the inner pain and suffering I live with….and the years of struggle….
    but then I think…..”I should ‘get-off-it”. I’m grateful most days —‘very very’ thankful to have a wonderful loving-supportive hushand of 34 years —good friends —plus I experience being part of a community……contributing in my community. I love to read–enjoy physical exercise –‘people’…..(basic clean living) .

    For most of my life I have tried to figure out what what wrong with me (in the areas of ‘sugar’) — I didn’t belong to any support group —nor did believe ‘anything’ or anybody would or coul help me.
    By age 3 Ihad 16 cavities in my teeth from eating tons of chocolate candy bars I found in my house and drinking apple juice in bed at night.

    I never was a person to enjoy ‘real-meals’ very much. I only liked ‘sweets’. I was a gymnast as a kid eating sugar as much as I could get my hands on. My dad died when I was 4 years of age —and things only got worse. My mom almost never cooked —(odd for a Jewish family) —but she was depressed and had to work 90 hours a week to pay the bills. ……..
    By 8th grade —things were catching up with me — Hours of gymnastics, no menstral period yet, —eating candy and sweet rolls for breakfast lunch and dinner — I became soooooooooo anemic I was falling asleep in class. In time I was taken to a doctor. I had a ‘bone-marrow’ test in my chest —(OUCH) — as doctors were looking for luekemia —(I didn’t have it—Thank God) — but nobody asked what I was ‘eating’.
    I was given 9 iron pills a day and sent home. —

    I’ve tried and tried and tried several dozen times –and ‘more’ to give up sugar —(sweets) —–but then keep going back…..

    I’m doing ‘better’ today….*BETTER*…………..not perfect…..but better. Sweets mess with my brain. (I usually start crying within 24 hours or less). My digestion is a ‘mess’,,,,and I am not as ‘giving & loving’ and productive to my friends and family as when I am eating ‘clean’………… (I think we all know what that is today)….”eating clean”………

    I absolutely LOVE this guy Mark Hyman (He has NO IDEA). I’m not stupid. (I’ve read other books —I ‘know’ a few things about what I should do and what not to do to manage my ‘challenge’)…………but its been MARK HYMAN…………….’more than ANYONE —more than all the other food experts in the frickin world that has hit the right button with me. I never feel made wrong…..(I don’t feel I’must’ be a vegan girl —or spend hours in a kitchen —and I love his little tips like having sardines around). Most: its true…………COLD TURKEY seems to be the ONLY way the sugar cravings go away for me………… (I’ve fallen a couple of times…..and usually its when I drop too much weight –as I can feel my clothes falling off). My problem is when I stop eating sugar —weight seems to ‘fall’ off………..and I can get way too skinny — (AND I start to feel HUNGRY —‘too hungry’)…. My husband tells me I just need to learn to eat more REAL food — (I’ve been use to eatin ‘little food” and LOTS of candy)…….I burn it up fast —but I feel crazy on it….
    I did GREAT following everything mark said for a few months — (the one day –I kinda blew it—who knows why)….sad –or bored –or just hunry………….and I just wanted to eat ‘everything’ –as in the OLD junkie food. —

    Well, yesterday –I asked my husband for help and support again…..(we threw away my little balls of chocolate-fat balls)….
    I ate clean today!

    No sugar cravings ‘today’………..

    Thank you with all my heart for the work you do in the world!

    elyse

    • Jenny Cleland May 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Oh Elyse your story is heartbreaking and you show so much courage in wanting to improve your diet. Go for it girl and get some support from people who know what NUTRITION is. There is no nutrition in sugar. Introduce FRESH foods(especially green vegetables) into your diet and only eat fresh foods. The greens can be made into smoothies etc. It will take time and introduce a new fresh food every day till that is all you are eating. There are plenty of recipes on the net for fresh foods Maybe you could sign up for a cooking class etc using fresh foods and that way find people near you who will support you on your journey! Dr Mark is here too and he can help you find some resources near where you live I am sure!

  79. Cat November 17, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    To the person who asked about Stevia, NO. It is not a problem unless you are overly compulsive about IT too. I use that when I need a sweet boost but I could potentially overdo that too. I’ve tried all kinds of natural supplements Dr. H mentioned above, I’m vegan, I’m healthy, I”ve done the b vitamins like the medical person suggested up there..nothing works. I even tried some supplement to make food taste bitter. For ME it comes down to a choice…NOT to pick up the sugary item. Ever since reading about GMO’s (HFCorn syrup) I’ve decided to go all or nothing…NO refined sugar. IT’s going to be SO hard because I”ve battled this for 40 years. It’s the only way for me. Yes, as the person up there wrote..it will make it MORE enticing for me…but I WILL battle.

  80. Anonymous November 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Definite sugar addict here. The only thing that has been able to help me quit is a 12 step program adapted to food. Before finding this method, I thought I could control my ability to quit. The reality is that the more I tried to control refraining from sugar the more out of control it got, to the point where I would steal ice cream and candy from other family members in my house.

    Some of the issues I come across regularly is: the “food pushers’ such as my grandma pushing her cookies and giving me a guilt trip for not eating them, wanting to be like “normal” people who can eat or slightly overeat high sugar items, and the emotions associated with how life becomes unmanageable.

    Getting clean from sugar can be done, but if you’re an addict like me, it’s going to require a power greater than myself and the support of others who have the same addiction.

  81. Crystal DeBondt December 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2010 I decided to begin losing weight and read about how to have a good breakfast and getting good nutrition would help me to avoid sugar. I have had a life-long addiction to sugar. I was hard core — hiding my sugar and eating in private so my family could not find it. I joined a group at work who enrolled in a program called, “Naturally Slim.” We were told to cut out all sugar for two weeks. We drank a very diluted orange juice which satisfied our body’s sugar need. I also took plenty of Omega-3 capsules and additional Vitamin C, Calcium and Magnesium. In three months, I lost fifty pounds and lost my craving for sugar. I can walk past cakes and doughnuts and not given them a second thought. However, I have learned to acknowledge my desires and sate my cravings by having a good Godiva Chocolate about once every two to three months. (ONLY ONE TRUFFLE!) I no longer buy bags of Hershey bars or Oreo cookies. I learned to savor my food so that I quit eating when I am satisfied. I no longer eat until I am too stuffed to move. When I do decide to eat dessert, it is planned so that I eat fewer calories in my meal and I am ready to handle the dessert. I have truly changed my lifestyle.

  82. dave February 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    I never knew that most of my father’s family had sugar problems until a few years ago. My father ate more sugar than anyone else I ever saw. By the time he reached his mid 50s he was in and out of hospitals most of the time until he finally died at the age of 77. As nearly as I know none of the doctors ever even asked him about what he ate.
    My personal problems began with alcohol, not sugar. The first time I drank much I puked but something made me keep on with the booze. It got really bad in my third year of engineering school and lasted for more than 5 years after I graduated. This had about the effect on my professional career that you would expect. I finally packed it in at the age of 26 because my physical health was too bad for me to continue drinking. Many years later I still went on occasional sugar binges, in my case involving chocolate. I could not help myself at all. On at least one occasion I ate so many chocolates that I had an actual hangover the next day.

    About 1995 I read some junk mail from Julian Whitaker about sugar addiction. He described my father’s life exactly and I realized that I was on the same route. He stressed that some types of intestinal bacteria thrive on sugar, and that the enzymes that they produce change the hormonal balance of the body. He recommended cutting way back on sugar and starting to take probiotics. I did so and a strange thing happened. For many years I had had occasional urges toward violence. They nearly always involved attacking someone who had no intention of hurting me and in most cases was completely incapable of doing so. They only flashed onto my consciousness for a fraction of a second but they were still unsettling. The probiotics and the decrease in sugar stopped this completely.
    Another strange thing was that about 2011 I tried EDTA for mercury poisoning. I had had a large number of what I thought were silver fillings in my teeth. They were all removed when I was about 25 but the mercury lingered on. After a few months of EDTA my sugar/chocolate addiction ended completely

  83. Geri March 11, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    I am a sugar/carb addict. 4 grandparents alcoholics, 2 parents alcoholic/drug addiction, close family addictions, incl 3 heroin. Long ago noted drug/emotional connection. Depressed whole life (I’m 66) (3 hosp stays, incl ECT, which saved my life)–I noted for decades soothing of chocolate bar & pasta. Low serotonin diag (prozac etc), then got interested in low dopamine connection. Sugar addiction so severe last week I went for hypnotherapy (which helped me with nicotine addiction 30+ yrs ago). I have had people closest to me tell me they never heard of/tTHEY don’t have sugar addiction. Withdrawal is painful but well worth it. I think they need to find more “natural” ways to release serotinin&dopamine from brain, hope they are working on this. I saw you on Dr. Oz.

  84. TRR March 29, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Be careful with nuts, seeds, and nut butters. These should be considered fats, not protein (a serving is actually 1.5 teaspoons of nut butter and 3 – 5 nuts, depending on the nut). Also, beans – beans are not a complete protein and if you eat them with rice thinking they are, you will need more than your daily caloric allowance of beans with rice than you need all day. Beans are a starch. Plain and simple. A lot of people go wrong by grabbing a handful of nuts and/or counting on beans and plant based “proteins” for animal protein. Your body needs animal proteins!

  85. Scott Doremus November 3, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    Excellent article Dr. Hyman. Threads of things I have known for years now from various sources yet, I still have not successfully completely stopped my addiction to sugar. I think because it takes months, even years to reprogram one’s neuropathways and despite all the workarounds like glutamine, diet, etc. the staying power just isn’t there. Age could be a factor in staying power. If I were years younger I know for a fact I would have much more “fight” left in me but, at 55 the fear of death is diminished and with it goes the will to fight. The best I have been able to do attempt to “manage” it all. I know the food industry has been feeding us addictive substances for hundreds of years. What do you think carbohydrates are? We have gone all the way from corn flakes, to caffeine laced popcorn and there seems to be no end in sight. I would be curious if the author has read Nora Gedgaudas’s book, Primal Body | Primal Mind. I highly recommend it for those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired and say enough is enough. Good luck to all and Namaste.

  86. Kathy November 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    I became a bulimic starting at 16 years of age. I was able to stop vomiting at age 21 because I was pregnant, but continued the compulsive eating of sweets. I have been in and out of eating disorder clinics and no one seems to buy into the sugar addiction diagnosis. I had miraculous results in my late 40’s with Prozac, but the effect wore off after a few months. I tried Prozac again a couple of years later with longer lasting results. I was at 40 mg/day but it again started losing it’s effectiveness and I was having sexual disfunction issues. My doctor changed my prescription to Viibryd (40 mg) and I’m having no success in curbing my sugar addiction. In fact, it seems to be worse than ever. (I’ve heard that sugar addictions get worse if left untreated.)

    I’m not sure where to turn. I keep thinking that because I’ve had success on antidepressant’s I just need the right fit. Cutting sugar out of my life has been darn near impossible! Help!

  87. Dawn December 18, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    I grew up in a home that was always overloaded with food choices (with much freedom). Abundance and variety were there as were all of the American foods such as white rolls, sweets and trans fat-laden snacks. I tended to eat fresh fruits and breads (didn’t care for cheese or meat) while two of my siblings would eat every sugary item they laid eyes on. They are now overweight adults while I remained very thin. HOWEVER, the habit of eating lots of carbs and sweets stayed with me and it took many years to realize that my body had suffered from eating what I thought was a healthy diet of many small but high carb meals. I fell for the low fat lie. When I was told at 7 mo of pregnancy that I had pre diabetes I blamed it on genetics (father has type B) Many years later I experienced infertility and uncomfortable hormonal disturbances (hot flashes, hair thinning, bloating, insomnia). I’m just beginning to see results from eating a sugar-less, Paleo-type diet.
    The bigger problem is that our oldest son seems to have the sugar addiction I saw in my siblings. It is to the extent that we feel we cannot buy anything with sugar in it. He will raid the pantry in the middle of the night or eat the entire family’s portions of a planned treat. Fortunately he does care about himself enough to listen to us – to a point. But the cravings are far stronger than his resolve to help himself.
    I am excited to try some of your suggestions to help him and feel that the main thing is to make sure he is getting optimum nutrition. Thank you for your blog.

  88. Mary April 4, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    I have been detoxing from Sugar for 2 months now. It is without a doubt addictive. I must note that I am also a recovering alcoholic with 5 years of sobriety. Some advice I was given early on in my sobriety was to eat something sweet when I have a craving for alcohol. It really worked and it makes sense as to why. But over the years I have become addicted to sugar. And not just sweets, but all the processed junk that comes along with it. Since detoxing from sugar i feel so much better and i don’t crave the crappy foods. And I eat very well. Stir fry, omelets with sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese, steak and salad for dinner, and the list goes on. Plus I have lost some weight. I read the labels of everything i buy and keep the sugar to a gram or less per serving. I eat lots of veggies, eggs, meat, cheese, nuts, beans along with whole grains and fruit here and there. (I also try to stay away from gluten.)

    Yesterday, there was a buffet of food leftover from a lecture series we hosted. It included mini desserts. I had one, having dessert for the first time in over two months, and next thing I knew, I had eaten my fourth one. I continued to be hungry the rest of the day and crave sugar specifically. It was crazy. Just convinces me even more that sugar is bad and that living without it is the better way to go.

  89. Lynn April 4, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Your prices make it impossible for the average person to get help at your office. That is sad!!

  90. Judy Hall April 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    I have had gastric bypass surgery, I eat mostly vegetables, a few fruits, don’t drink much soda, fruit juice, but I eat about 10oz of hard candy a day, it keeps my mouth busy. I try to not have it in the house but get anxiety when I am getting low on sugar in the house. I also have low blood sugar. I take vitamins. How do you fix your head.. I have started gaining weight and do not want to get back to 300 lbs.. I am disabled and home alone. Its hard to exercise because I am in pain.. HELP!!!

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

      Hi Judy,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to: http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/

      Did you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching where you can receive 1:1 support with Registered Dietitians, please see: http://store.drhyman.com/Store/List/Coaching-Programs.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  91. Jan April 4, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    I am a total sugar junkie. I have managed to at least practically eliminate processed sugar from my diet replacing it with dates or honey which I guess is better than nothing. Otherwise my diet is healthy – heaps of nuts and seeds, healthy oils, protein powders, green smoothies etc. My other problem is that I am underweight and have great difficulty in maintaining my weight. The more calorie dense foods I cut out the more weight I lose. Very hard to get help with this as everything is focused on the need to lose weight not gain weight. Wish I could bottle and sell what’s going on with me- I’d be worth a fortune!! It’s also very frustrating to constantly read that you need good sleep when I’ve tried everything natural (melatonin, GABA, herbs, etc) – no problem getting to sleep just keep waking up.

  92. Christine April 28, 2014 at 3:14 am #

    Thank you for making sense of my issues. I loathe the idea of stopping all sugars & artificial sweeteners, but the fact that I know I already have low vitamin D levels & I was doing much better when I had been taking my high quality Omega 3s, in addition to having from time to time taken chromium to help with my Type 2 diabetes added to the fact that I routinely take Adderall for ADHD – all of your information has reminded me of my body’s needs that have gone unmet due to unemployment, underemployment, & depression after rejection & the ongoing unwelcome marriage separation. Thank you for bringing my focus back to getting my health back, so I can continue my recovery & healing go mind, body & spirit.

  93. Dana May 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    I know I am physically addicted to sugar. Each time I have ever tried to come off of sugar cold turkey I suffer these relentless pounding headaches. The last time I came off sugar the headaches started into the second day and about 24 hours later they really hadn’t let up, at that point I was so over it I gave in and bought a candy bar. I would like to try it again. Honestly the idea terrifies me because I do obsess about sweets and I justify it by telling myself that since I don’t drink or smoke I deserve something sweet since it is one of my only vices. The problem is however I tend to almost always overdo it with the sweets.
    Is there a supplement or medication that can be taken while going through the detox period?

  94. Shakela May 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Hi Dr. Hayman,
    I am really pleased to read your article and its very useful and so are all the comments of the people beneath. I just want to ask that what kind of healthy breakfast one should have? I have either a cup of oats in the morning or 2 slices of brown bread with flora butter and jam with a cup of tea.I just wanted to know if its a healthy breakfast or what changes should i make in it . Thanks a lot for your informative article!
    I wont say that i am addictive to sugars. Sugar is not the only thing i crave…i just look out for junk food ..wether it be crisps, biscuits, roasted corn etc..sugar is not important for me that much….i am not really satisfied with the meal only…i crave for something after that tooo…i am 22 years old…I have been overweight all life …However when i was 17 i lost 26 kgs until my ideal weight…however i was unable to maintain it for long..i only maintained it for hardly 4-5 months unfortunately and i started to eat more and cravings started. I was depressed after i lost weight thats why i think i started to eat more …
    I am now overweight again and am planning to lose weight again hopefully and this time i want to maintain it …i am very excited to apply on the points that u have written in the article and see how it works for me . thanks

  95. m.k. July 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    I am 33 years old and my entire life I have always been skinny, but I ate have always eaten unhealthy. A traumatic event happened in my life that sparked anxiety and depression that I had never experienced before. Since then, I starting taking medication for that. I believe that is when my reliance on food for happiness began. I am still not overweight, but I know I am unhealthy. Numerous failed attempts at healthy eating have discouraged me. Recently, I found a doctor that prescribed an appetite suppressant. I have been on it for three weeks and I have used this time to completely revamp my eating. It has been extremely hard, even with the appetite suppressant. I went through my face breaking out, doing nothing but laying on the couch, and finally the third week I am starting to not crave all the sugars and having more energy. I also noticed I have cut way back on my spending habits. This has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but I do agree with going cold turkey. Honestly though, I don’t think I could have made it these three weeks without the appetite suppressant. My brain and stomach still crave the sugars, but I am learning to ignore those cravings or satisfy them with healthy foods. I am determined to be successful this time at discovering food is fuel, not the key to happiness. I wish everyone good luck that struggles with any food addiction. It is so incredibly hard because unless you have experienced it, then you don’t understand.

  96. Bonnie Dillabough July 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    I have at this point been sugar free for over 7 months. After reading The Blood Sugar Solution and following Doctor Hyman on facebook, I finally took the plunge. I hadn’t realized how deeply I was affected and how addicted I was until I quit. Thanks to the wise counsel Dr. Hyman gives in his book and the wonderful support I have received from my husband, family and friends, I am now not only sugar free, but dairy free and wheat free. I now eat healthy meals as he has directed and after my first diagnosis of type 2 diabetes 4 years ago with an a1d of 14.3, I now am beginning to experience normal range blood sugars and can hardly wait to be tested for my a1c the end of August. I am also losing weight and feeling much better. Thank you, Dr. Hyman. I believe you probably saved my life.

  97. Charmaine July 18, 2014 at 4:17 am #

    This article is just what I need. Have gone cold turkey and the headache I have is out of this world – will definitely be following the rest of the advice to minimalist the suffering – I know it will be worth it in the end !!

  98. Dawn July 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    I was definitely born sugar addicted! To add to my issues, I inherited insulin resistence and gluten intolerance from my dad…

    Needless to say, I have been in a battle with my weight since age eight! My highest weight being 342 lbs at 5’3!”

    I lost 200 lbs 13 years ago after learning of my insulin resistance and how that played a huge role in my weight problem.

    Thinking artificial sweeteners and gluten free products would be my saving grace, I lined my shelves and fridge with diet, sugar-free and gluten-free products.

    I watched my weight steadily climb over the course of five years and not understanding why this was happening, I threw in the towel when my husband and I relocated to Kentucky. I indulged in all the southern “comfort foods” so prevalent here.

    Watching my clothes get tighter and tighter caused me to want sugar to deal with my depression …and we all KNOW where this is going!

    Since reading the Blood Sugar Solution-10 Day Detox, I’ve cut out sugar (cold turkey)! I also cut out wheat and starchy foods.

    It has been tremendous! I’ve lost weight and most of my joint pain is gone!!

    Thank you, Dr. H!

  99. Jessica S November 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    Hi Dr. Hyman,
    I eat SO well, that when I have sugar binges, the word binge is an understatement.
    On a regular basis I eat more vegetables than anything, and I love them! I love eating well and I love food. I bring lunch to work almost every day; leafy greens with a collection of whatever veggies I have that week, sometimes roasted, most of the time raw or steamed. Breakfast lunch and dinner are generally repeats if I’m not eating out, and dinner is my lightest meal. I don’t need meat/protein with every meal but I do like it in the morning and afternoon. Usually hardboiled eggs, or poached chicken, or grilled salmon… I’m not over exaggerating, i eat REALLY well. Mostly organic as well.

    And so, it is insanely mind boggling to me that when I do have sugar, I eat like i’m 300 pounds! In one evening I am capable of putting away a pint of coconut-based ice cream, a cupcake, a couple of Lindt chocolate squares, a few sips of maple syrup…. I even avoid fruits on a daily basis so I don’t want or feed off of that sugar. It gets really scary. And I dont just like any sugar, I will go out of my way to buy the specific things I like or swing by a high end organic, fresh bakery that makes my favorite gluten free chocolate cake, bring it home, and have it all an hour before bed.

    What do you make of this???

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