How to Kick Your Sugar Addiction
To look at her perpetually smiling face and to hear her chronically positive speech patterns, you would never know that Garner struggles with a serious addiction. Well, two serious addictions, actually. Like a number of her family members, she's in recovery for alcoholism -- she's been sober for nearly five months. But as she has gone through the process of eliminating alcohol from her life, she's found an incredible and somewhat baffling draw to another evil substance: sugar. Read on for the specifics of her problem, and a proposed solution from the country's leading expert on sugar addiction.
Most of the time, Garner's eating habits are "good." She eats a lot of vegetables, lean protein, healthful wraps, and organic natural juices and smoothies. Usually, her biggest vice is throwing back cup after cup of coffee and espresso throughout the day. But every once in a while -- say, once a week -- she wolfs down an entire box of cookies, half a chocolate cake, or a big bag of M&M's, and she doesn't know why.
"It's kind of like a drug. It reminds me of drug addiction and alcohol because the cravings are similarly compulsive. I'll restrict myself from sugar because I know I have problems controlling myself with it. But after a certain length of time, I can't control it any longer," Garner says. "I get this craziness, and all I can think of is a sugar fix. My logical mind goes blank. It's like I'm on autopilot."
Next thing she knows, she's burying her pretty little face in a bag of Lindt truffles.
She says she never makes herself vomit after these binges, which is good, considering this type of bulimic behavior can lead to permanent intestinal problems, hearth arrhythmia or failure, tooth decay or loss, and even death. The downside, though, is that Garner has to sit in misery, waiting for her body to digest the mounds of sugar and fat so she can bounce off and frantically try to burn all of those excess calories. She commonly works out two or even three times a day, a routine she calls "exhausting."
When she came to me for advice on how to get off the sugary roller-coaster ride, I decided to consult an expert on the subject: Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now! and several other titles related to sugar addiction and its effects on the body. The doctor maintains there are four distinct types of sugar addiction, fueled by (1) fatigue, (2) adrenal exhaustion, (3) yeast overgrowth, or (4) hormonal shifts.