Sugar Addiction Is a Brain Disease, and She Can Prove It

by Tricia Zigrang

[Editor's note: At EndSugarAddiction, we know sugar addiction as a brain disease that is physiological in nature, and not as a "behavioral" problem or defect of character. We recently received this story from a reader with a very remarkable story of recovery that seems to reflect our point. Thanks so much to Tricia for submitting this. -- JE]

On July 12th of 2012, I had a brain aneurysm. I was in the hospital 12 days. 10 of that was in critical care. I ended up in the lucky 20% that lived and did not have permanent neurological damage.

But I did even better then that. I had a positive neurological change. My sugar addiction was gone.

I have been a sugar addict all my life. I couldn’t bake cookies because I would eat the whole batch. I think it was related to the fact that my family is riddled with alcoholics. Alcohol is a sugar. I got a sugar addiction instead of alcoholism. I am a psychologist in private practice and have noticed that the majority of people I see with sugar addictions come from families of alcoholics. I have always thought it was something biochemical. I react to sugar the way an alcoholic reacts to alcohol.

When I got out of the hospital, I walked down the candy aisle and discovered I had a complete lack of interest. I went to a potluck and instead of sampling 2 or 3 deserts like I normally did, I had none.

I had no idea if this was a permanent change or not so decided I wouldn’t eat sugar again. I asked my surgeon about this. He said he had never seen this happen before but that my sub arachnoid bleed was right next to my pituitary which controls hormones so it could be related.

I don’t weigh myself and didn’t change my diet in anyway except I added in more fat. I lathered my bagels with cream cheese and put the peanut butter on really thick. I ate whatever I wanted. Eventually I noticed that I was having to pull my pants up. I went to Nordstroms and discovered I was down two pant sizes. Not conceiving that I could possibly drop any more, I bought two pairs of the expensive stretch jeans I like. It wasn’t too much later that I noticed that these were getting frayed at the bottom and sure enough it was because they were too loose and falling down. This time I wised up and only bought one pair. I have now gone down a total of five pant sizes, while eating everything I want.

While this was all happening, I saw Robert Lustig’s book Fat Chance which makes a compelling case that sugar is behind the obesity pandemic. Before 1980 only 15% of adult Americans were overweight or obese. Now 55% are. Fat and protein consumption has remained the same during this time, while sugar consumption has doubled.

I have now added sugar to the list of substances (tobacco, caffeine, alcohol and drugs) that I ask clients about. I think that sugar is wreaking havoc, causing a huge increase in the metabolic syndrome that is behind type two diabetes, heart disease, etc. Not only are overweight people in trouble, Dr Lustig points out that 40% of thin people are insulin resistant. This is because the food industry is adding all this sugar to our food. In fact the obesity pandemic really took off when they started making all these low fat products. They didn’t taste as good so the food industry added sugar to make them more palatable.

Lustig points out that trying to get the government to do anything about this has been fruitless (the sugar lobby is probably pretty powerful) and that what is going to have to happen is that people will need to be educated so they will demand that sugar be taken out of all their food.

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