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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

05-30-19 | By

Is Sugar the Original Gateway Drug?

The esteemed Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Endocrinology at UC San Francisco says: “Sugar is the alcohol of the child.” Eric Clapton, when Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes asks him if his drug addiction started with heroin he replies: “No, it started with sugar. When I was five or 6 years old I was cramming sugar down my throat, sugar on bread and butter, sweets, soda – I was using it to change how I felt.”

Sugar As A Gateway Drug

Since Dr. Lustig’s 90-minute college lecture on fructose went viral about five years ago (it’s now at about eight million views) the science around the effects of sugar on the brain and the brains’ reward systems seems to have gone into overdrive.

Many scientists, including Dr. Lustig, have compared sugar and its effect on the brain, particularly in children (his specialty for over 20 years) with hard drugs.

We all seem to know how sugar affects our bodies. We know about the weight gain, diabetes and tens of other diseases that have been linked with too much sugar consumption and lead to sugar addiction

Lesser know, or just now making its way out to the public, is the effects it has on the brain.

Some scientists are now calling Alzheimers Diabetes 3! Drawing the link to the high percentage of diabetes patients that develop Alzheimer’s.

Is there a correlation to our use of sugar to substance use disorder?

Could sugar truly be the original gateway drug?

Sugar Addiction and Recovery

As the founder and head coach at Sugar Addiction and a person in long-term recovery from substance use disorder (34 years), I’ve worked with every stripe of addict.

What has evolved most recently is my work with addicts in recovery from alcohol and drugs who have tried to quit sugar after many, many years in recovery. It seems over the years they have gained just a pound or two a year, some many more, have been diagnosed with diabetes or have other pressing health issues. Not to mention the brain fog, bad skin and other maladies of a high carb, high sugar diet and sugar addiction.

These are good people with good recoveries.

People who have stayed clean and sober for years, some for decades. But to a man and to a woman – Every. Single. One. Of. Them has said getting off sugar was harder than their original recovery!

Anecdotal evidence for sure, as we are now compiling the data and testimonies of these folks for publication, but after working with sugar addicts for decades this seems to be the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

There is an old-time comedian, some of you may remember him, Rodney Dangerfield. Rodney had a signature line that anchored his act: “I get no respect, I gotta tell ya I get no respect!”. He didn’t even have to tell a joke after a while and just uttering that line got uproarious laughter.

While this is no laughing matter…  from my vantage point sugar gets no respect as a drug of intoxication, as an emotional analgesic that makes us feel just a little bit better for a few minutes. It gets no respect as a possible drug of addiction either.

Sugar is an emotional coping mechanism that we have used since we were children and now is just hard to let go of.

Just ask any of your friends in a 12-step food recovery program if their solid recoveries are based on their hard work on their emotional relationship to the substances or on some fad diet plan. I guarantee you’ll find that their recovery is identical to those of substance use disorder…

We believe that it is time for sugar and food addicts to step out into the light and join the “New Recovery Advocacy Movement.” To live their recovery out loud and to tell their stories so others can have an easier and less stigmatized go of it. So that others will not be afraid.

Kicking Sugar

To that end, we have put on an amazing online summit for the last three years. It has brought together all of the top sugar educators in the world. MD’s, Ph.D’s, scientists, researchers and authors from around the globe to talk about this issue.

Sugar Addiction is kicking off on June 10th right here on your computer, phone, laptop or tablet. No travel required and it’s 100% free.

Listen in as Dr. Lustig mentioned above and over 40 other sugar researchers and addiction professionals bring you right up to date on the cutting edge science. We even have a few announcements of clinical breakthroughs on the summit.

Such notables as Gary Taubes author of many NY Times bestsellers including The Case Against Sugar and Why We Get Fat. You’ll also listen to Professor Tim Noakes from South Africa. Dr. Noakes is one of the most famous men in that country for his stance against the medical board trying to take his license for telling his patients about the benefits of reducing carbs in their diet. He eventually prevailed but not until after a four-year fight.

Also on board, you’ll find food and sugar addiction expert Bitten Jonsson from Sweden. Bitten is one of the most esteemed sugar addiction educators in the world. Dr. Joan Ifland is also speaking. Dr. Ifland literally wrote the book on food addiction.

If you’re questioning your sugar use or just interested in the science of metabolic health… Jump over to the page and we’ll notify you when we kick things off. We look forward to getting your questions answered in our first true Sugar Addiction. See you there!


Reboot Your Recovery