Is Sugar fattening?
Is Sugar like a drug?
Is Sugar Addictive?
Is Sugar a potentially lethal food?
Sad but true, the answer to all of these is YES!
If you’re a sugar junkie then this page is for you. It may not happen overnight, but increasingly we are becoming addicted to sugar as a population, and it starts when we’re children.
You are about to gain an understanding of how sugar works to get you hooked, and what you can do to get it under control.
Lastly, we will share the Detox and Slim program you can use to kick the habit.
Obesity has become one of the biggest health care burdens since the Second World War ended, increasing morbid obesity rates and lowering life expectancy. It is a major contributing factor to several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (3)
In 1998 Nestle reported the appearance of 11,000 new attractive, flavored, food products being added to the supermarket shelves every year. Investigations into the link between the “food environment” and obesity have led to the conclusion that convenient “snack” foods have changed normal eating behavior, including less time spent preparing meals at home. Industrialization of the food supply has decreased the cost of energy-dense foods by adding refined sugars, grains, and/or fats to their products. Consumption of these processed foods has also increased in children and toddlers. (3)
It’s a trap set up by the food manufacturers to get you hooked and to keep you coming back for more, just like any other drug.
For example, in animal studies, sugar has been found to produce drug-like effects, including bingeing, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, dependence, reward, and opioid effects. Sugar addiction seems to be a dependence on the natural brain opioids (opium-like hormones) that get released upon sugar intake. In both animals and humans, the evidence in the literature shows substantial parallels and overlap between drugs of abuse and sugar, from the standpoint of brain neurochemistry as well as behavior. (4)
Let’s talk about what we can do to get off sugar, and stop the damage.
How Sugar Addiction Begins
The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction, as “a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence.”
Recent research suggests that highly processed foods are addictive and the pleasure-seeking ‘Reward’ pathways in the brain may play a critical role in the process of developing obesity.
‘Reward’ has since been viewed as a vague term that consists of at least three components: hedonics (liking), reinforcement (learning), and motivation or incentive, (wanting). Several hormone pathways in the brain including the opioid and dopamine pathways are involved in this reward network. (3) The stomach-derived, hunger hormone ‘Ghrelin’ also appears to be implicated in the rewarding aspects of eating, especially during the ‘wanting’ phase. (3)
Sugar deprivation similar to drug withdrawal produced signs of opiate withdrawal, including anxiety-like behaviors in rats, and recently, withdrawal symptoms have been seen in humans meeting clinical criteria for food addiction. Equal responses to morphine withdrawal were observed when sugar-dependent rats were sugar deprived. (3)
In simple terms:
1. First of all, we like something due to flavor;
2. Secondly, we learn to enjoy the stimulating chemical/hormonal experience; and
3. Lastly, we want to have this experience again and again, which is hormonally driven.
It appears that it’s the energy density of the food that we become addicted to, so processed fats can also have a similar effect to sugar. Many processed foods contain a perfect cocktail of fats and sugars to achieve what they call a ‘Bliss Point“. It’s the processed food manufacturer’s goal to get us hooked and as time goes on, our want develops into a need and we have become addicted.
It’s also common for people that have become addicted to other substances such as alcohol, nicotine, or other drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine to become sensitized to sugar in a similar fashion. It’s the old saying with drugs ‘one thing leads to another’.
Repeated exposure to a substance also increases the dosage required to achieve the same effect, and this means we will need increasing amounts of sugar to achieve the same reward. Binge behavior can be the end result.
This is how sugar addiction begins.
Beware of Hidden Sugar Substitutes
Look out for these on the labels of processed foods, as these substitutes will have a very similar effect on your body and metabolism, getting you equally addicted to those foods.
Maltodextrin is generally used as a thickener or filler to increase the volume of processed food. It’s also a preservative that increases the shelf life of packaged foods. It’s inexpensive and easy to produce, so it’s useful for thickening products such as instant pudding and gelatins, sauces, and salad dressings. It has 4 calories per gram, the same amount of calories as sucrose, or table sugar. Like sugar, your body can digest maltodextrin quickly, so it’s useful if you need a quick boost of calories and energy. However, maltodextrin’s GI is higher than table sugar, ranging from 106 to 136. (5)
High fructose corn syrup
Both dextrose and corn syrups are used in immense quantities in the manufacture of candies, sweet chocolate, marshmallows, and other confections. In dairy products, ice creams and sherbets may contain from 15 to 25 percent of the total sugar as dextrose. Dextrose and sucrose have practically equivalent purity and nutritive -values. (7) High-fructose corn syrup is produced from corn (maize) starch, which is further refined to produce syrup. The most common type has a fructose-to-glucose ratio similar to table sugar It’s used to sweeten processed foods and soft drinks. (6)
Kicking The Habit
There are some simple steps you can take to get off sugar.
- Don’t go cold turkey, but gradually wean yourself off the sugar foods by introducing more, low Glycemic Index (GI) foods, over time. (see GI Chart below);
- Keep the Brain supplied with a steady supply of Sugar using small amounts often. Eating Fruit is a good way to do this;
- Introduce more ‘good fat’ and protein into your meals. This will give you slower releasing energy, reducing the sugar spike after eating; and
- Consider the Herbal DETOX as a fresh-start or the Herbal SLIM as a ‘good habit’ forming tool.
Let’s add a little more explanation to each of these points.
1. Don’t go cold turkey, but gradually wean yourself off the sugar foods.
Rather than simply deciding to quit sugar overnight, it’s a much safer bet to gradually wean yourself off high sugar foods. The foods of real concern are usually man-made, factory processed foods with added refined sugar.
If you can choose one processed food to eliminate each week and replace it with a whole, natural food, you will make great steps towards quitting the sugar habit. Choosing foods that are middle of the Glycemic index would be a good place to start, such as fruits and dried fruits, nuts, and milk products.
I always suggest a green smoothie or a fruit and protein smoothie in the mornings as a great way to replace things like cereals and toast. Check out our smoothie recipes here
Understanding the way foods fit into the Glycemic index will be helpful when choosing your foods.
The Glycemic Index (GI) rates foods according to the amount and speed with which they raise blood sugars from 1 to very low, up to 100 for pure sucrose (table sugar). Refined sugar has a high Glycemic Index because it speedily enters the blood. This is where the problem lies – the body does not tolerate excess sugar circulating in the blood as it damages the blood vessels and can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
This has a flow-on damaging effect on other body tissues, one reason why diabetics are at such great risk. The body protects its cells from too much blood sugar (glucose) by taking it out of the blood vessels and storing it more safely in fat cells for later use in time of need ie: when less high-energy food is eaten.
Unfortunately, in the modern Western diet, there is often an over-abundance of high Glycemic foods eaten. High Glycemic foods such as refined carbohydrates, bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, muffins, pies, sweets, fizzy drinks, many breakfast cereals, and other refined grain foods.
These foods also contribute to conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Constipation, Colon Cancer, and Ulcerative Colitis, largely because of their high sugar and gluten content.
Evidence from recent studies suggests that a low Glycemic Index eating pattern is associated with better health outcomes, such as the decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, Gallbladder Disease, and Breast Cancer. (1)
Low GI foods are recommended for a weight loss program to help balance blood sugar and reduce fat deposition. You can see in the chart below a list of foods that are low GI and high GI. Although some processed foods are on this list I would recommend avoiding processed foods altogether during our program. Stick to the fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds and you will get a much better result.
2. Keep the Brain supplied with a steady flow of Sugar.
When looking at the GI chart above you will see that many vegetables have a low GI while breakfast cereals, bread, and snack foods are very high. What these processed carbohydrate-based foods do is give the brain a quick fix of sugar and trigger the reward (addiction) system in the brain. It’s not necessarily the energy that our ‘body’ receives that’s addictive, but more likely the feel-good hormonal effect on our ‘brain’. It’s the brain we need to feed slowly and steadily with low GI foods.
Therefore low GI foods which have a lower amount of sugar will need to be drip-fed into our body to keep the brain nice and stable. A piece of fruit every hour or so should do the trick. We won’t get the temporary rush or high experienced by high GI foods, but we will still have a nice steady supply of energy for our brain. This will gradually reduce the addictive eating pattern and re-program behavior.
At the same time, we will be giving our body all the energy it needs to perform our daily physical tasks. A good old-fashioned fruit bowl is a great place to start. Nuts and raisins, olives, pickled onions, and cherry tomatoes also make good snacks to keep the brain ticking steadily.
3. Introduce more ‘good fat’ and protein into your meals.
Type 2 diabetes has seen a massive escalation worldwide and the consumption of sugary drinks has skyrocketed. Sugar has been directly linked to this diabetes epidemic and the avoidance of fat could also be partly responsible.
The “Low Fat” food craze has been closely followed by increased obesity rates pointing to a complete failure of the low-fat diet trend. Low-fat foods are definitely not the solution to the obesity and diabetes crisis and are actually contributing to the problem. How can this be, you may ask?
In fact, low-fat foods often have higher sugar levels and higher GI than full-fat foods.
Low-fat dairy products are a classic example.
In a new study published in the journal Circulation, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and his colleagues analyzed the blood of 3,333 adults enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study of Health Professionals Follow-up Study taken over 15 years. They found that people who had higher levels of three different byproducts of full-fat dairy had, on average, a 46% lower risk of getting diabetes during the study period than those with lower fat levels. (2) This is because low-fat milk (like other low-fat foods) has a higher Glycemic Index (GI) indicating full-fat dairy is actually better for you.
Good fats include these foods: Avocado, Coconut products (oil, cream, milk, and yogurt), most nuts, full-fat organic dairy products, cold-pressed olive oil.
Fats drive Hormones.
Sugar addiction seems to be a dependence on the natural feel-good brain opioids (opium-like hormones) that get released upon sugar intake. The best thing we can do to reduce this ‘rush’ effect from sugar is to increase our natural opioid hormone production without sugar. The same rule applies to almost all addictive behaviors.
YOu can see in the figure above how cholesterol, found in many fats is vital for the production of our steroid hormones including the stress hormone cortisol. It has been found that a single pharmaceutical administration of cortisol leads to reduced craving in low-dose heroin addicts. (5) Therefore including good fats in your diet, including cholesterol will be good for increasing your natural hormone production, and reducing your cravings.
It has also been suggested that future weight loss strategies should emphasize food quality, not calories, and individual factors such as hormonal regulation of metabolism, and the gut microbiome (bacteria or microbiota). (3)
In order to reset the gut microbiome, a herbal detox diet followed by some good probiotics is ideal. To support resetting the metabolic craving centers the combination of herbs such as Caralluma, Gymnema and Garcinia can be helpful. All of these can be found in the Ultimate Herbal programs below.
4. Consider the Herbal DETOX as a fresh-start or the Herbal SLIM as a ‘good habit’ forming tool.
Ultimate Herbal DETOX
The idea of detoxing has been around for millennia as a way of purifying oneself spiritually, but in modern times it’s commonly used for health reasons. It can be to lose weight, encourage healing of a health condition, or as a way of ridding the body of a drug or other toxin.
The Ultimate Herbal DETOX is designed to achieve either of these goals by offering a combination of herbs that encourage cleansing of the colon and liver. The program also provides access to dozens of low GI, wholefood recipes to encourage a new pattern of eating.
The 14-day Herbal DETOX program is an ideal kickstart to these new habits.
Ultimate Herbal SLIM
Thousands of people have already used the Ultimate Herbal SLIM to reach their ideal weight management goals, improve their health and transform their lives without leaving the comfort of their own home.
Brett Elliott’s Ultimate Herbal SLIM comes with four 100% pure herbal products manufactured in New Zealand. The herbs are carefully selected for their specific benefits and combined to give you the kick start and balance you need.
Hi Brett. I just wanted to touch base with you. I finished my two-week detox two weeks ago, and I am basically just eating the same food. I have not had any desire to eat red meat or chicken, nor bread or any wheat. I have had fish a couple of times (my body telling me to have it). It’s actually amazing. My sugar habit has gone, and if I want sweet, I have baked pears or a piece of fruit. I intend to continue this way, one meal, one day at a time. Thank you for all of the support from you and your Team during the detox, it was extremely helpful to have my questions answered so promptly and wisely. Susanne Mitchell
The greatest benefit for me was losing 7kgs in the two weeks I was on the detox, and a month after completing it, I have kept the weight off (the detox was part of my goal to lose 15kgs in total at the recommendation of my doctor). I have also stopped eating a lot of gluten-containing products and potatoes as well as being much more aware of my diet in general. I have also cut all added sugar from my diet. So there have been some real positives as a result of doing the detox and I see the benefits of doing it perhaps twice a year. Anonymous Web Testimony
In short, if the body is oversupplied with high-Glycemic, refined carbohydrate foods, it will develop hormonal habituation ultimately resulting in dependence and addiction. Over time the pancreas gets burnt out and insulin resistance can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes, weight gain, and obesity.
Adequate good quality fat and protein will also moderate the Glycemic Index of a meal and reduce food cravings, further balancing blood sugars, reducing the storage of body fat, and reducing weight.
The overall effect of combining this with herbal supplementation is an empowering gradual shift in habits and a reduction in addictive patterns.
Many blessings of health on your journey and please share your success stories with us.
Brett Elliott ®
(1) Dietary glycaemic index and glycaemic load among Australian adults – results from the 2011–2012 Australian Health Survey. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5338341/
(2) The Case Against Low-fat Milk Is Stronger Than Ever. Time Magazine. http://time.com/4279538/low-fat-milk-vs-whole-milk/
(3) Sugar Addiction: From Evolution to Revolution. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6234835/
(4) Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28835408
(5) What’s the nutritional value of maltodextrin? HealthLine https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-maltodextrin-bad-for-me#nutritional-value
(6) High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Just Like Sugar, or Worse? HealthLine https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/high-fructose-corn-syrup-vs-sugar