Let me ask a simple question? How would you feel if I asked you to give up all sugar, flour and caffeine? Did I mention that alcohol is part of the sugar family? This week’s podcast guest, Michael Collins, asks people to do this all this time as part of his sugar detox program. Why? Because the research on sugar is showing it to be responsible for a whole host of serious health problems.
After his own recovery from addiction, Michael noticed that many people in recovery gain weight, mostly from eating tons of sugary, processed foods. After researching the link between addiction and sugar, Michael stopped eating sugar entirely. He has been totally sugar free for over 30 years and raised his twins without sugar for the first six years of their lives. As a mother, I am awed by this feat. Sugar everywhere in our culture, calling to our children like Sirens.
As most of you know, I do not support dieting. The research is clear that most people end up gaining weight from restrictions and dieting. Maybe they lose weight initially, but most will gain it back, plus more. I typically refrain from extreme measure and promote mindfulness and balance. Then I started researching sugar for this week’s interview. What I read, combined with what Michael shared, scared me. What if sugar is responsible for the following problems so many of us struggle with:
- Mood Swings
- Cognitive Decline
According to Michael, all of these symptoms can be explained, in part, by our addiction to sugar. As a species, we have gone from consuming roughly 5 pounds of sugar a year, to over 150 pounds per person each year. The results are horrifying. Sugar, he says, is often a gateway drug that leads to other addictions. Consuming sugar lights up the same areas of the brain as cocaine. Sugar consumption is changing our neurochemistry. It is affecting us psychologically and physically in adverse ways.
If you wonder about your own sugar consumption, please listen in to this informative interview. I was blown away by my ignorance about just how dangerous sugar can be. The fructose in sugar causes a down regulation of our reward systems in the brain. This means that we need more and more sugar to feel good over time. We eventually need sugar just to feel normal. Eating more and more sugar causes obesity, weight gain, diabetes and many other issues. Sugar, like other drugs, numbs us and makes us feel good. Giving it up is extremely hard, since it involves detoxing, followed by the need to learn how to self soothe in other ways. One of the main problems in getting off sugar, according to Michael, is that trauma and other emotional issues that have been numbed by sugar, will surface. Without the numbing, you must be prepared for real healing.
You may be asking, “What if I’m not overweight and I don’t struggle with addiction, do I need to get off sugar?” Trust me, I asked this question! I was hoping against hope that sugar could be eaten in moderation. Here’s the bad news, Michael doesn’t believe that any amount of sugar is healthy for us. It makes you crave more, and affects your brain chemistry. For a small percentage of people who eat very little, perhaps moderation is possible. Whether or not you decide to give up sugar, the information is worth having. If you knew what you were eating would lead to Alzheimer’s disease, you might decide to be more mindful.
In my discussion with Michael, we will cover a number of different topics, including how to tell if you are addicted to sugar, what giving up sugar will do for your health, and how to move forward if you are as intrigued as I am. He gives real world advice for how to move into a new level of health and wellbeing.
Michael has a website, sugaraddiction.com, where you can start the process of detoxing from sugar. His book, The Last Resort Sugar Detox Guide, has helped thousands of people get off of sugar. If you, like me, are always trying to find new ways to improve your life, listen in and consider kicking sugar out of your life,
You can listen to me talk through this in the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below or in the following places:
Shannon Connery, Ph.D.