I first became aware of the influence of sugar on our body and brain when I read my mother's journals years ago. Intent on finding the elusive key to freedom from her bulimia, my mom had discovered a consistent connection between her intake of sugar and her out-of-control appetite. For example, she found that she would feel calmer and was less likely to binge if she chose pretzels instead of a candy bar for a snack.
Years after reading my mother's notes, I discovered this same connection in my own eating struggles. When I ate foods that were high in sugar, I seemed to crave more--even though I knew I didn't really want the sugar in my system. After a few days of avoiding candy and other high-sugar foods, I would feel calmer and less out of control.
In their book Why Can't I Stop Eating? recovering food addict Debbie Danowski and medical doctor Pedro Lazaro point out that, according to many studies, "Sugar is one of the most physiologically addictive substances." (They go on to say that the average American consumes more than 151 pounds of sugar per year!)
Many of us who watch what we eat may think we've done well to remove excess sweets from our diet when in fact the opposite may be true. For example, as we discussed in chapter 4, chronic dieters often try to maintain a low-fat or fat-free diet. What these dieters may not realize is that "in many cases, low-fat foods contain more sugar than 'regular' ones to provide enhanced flavor." Because of this, low-fat eaters often end up eating larger quantities of sugar than they realize, which only makes them hungrier.
Friday, April 23, 2010
From Life Inside the "Thin" Cage by Constance Rhodes (pages 119-120):