Sugar, the gateway drug

Before I quit drinking, I started to study the subject of addiction. In the beginning it was mostly on medical sites. I worried about delirium tremens a lot, which, in hindsight, was, in my case, most probably just another way of stalling. But still, it had a function because I started learning about addiction and I could do so easily because I was still drinking and not worried by the anxiety of ‘not having my quick fix to life’.

Being me, I ended up not at the bottom of a 12 step plan but in the darker corners of the internet and alternative treatments. The ‘high cooky, high chocolate’ treatment that is regular in the older sober traditions is believe to be Bad in the alternative corner. With what I have read so for I assume that sugar is the gateway drug that sets the path to addiction. And of course I have searched far enough to find medically educated people saying the same. Here is Bart Hoebel, professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University:

I have watched this vid just to the point where I know I am right with (yes, sorry, that is still strong in me). Mr Hoebel is researching if or not obesity is an addiction, in the sideline he discovers that sugar is addictive and lays down a path of addiction in the brain. People who have been binging on sugar are, in time of withdrawal, susceptible to alcohol and other addictions.

Logically, well, again, my logic, people with hypoglycemia (unstable blood sugar levels) who, after every high are experiencing a sort of withdrawal in small or in big ways, will have the same gain. Which is exactly what Dr. Joan Mathews Larson says. She is an addiction specialist and runs a clinic in the USA where addicts detox on a high dose of nutrients and healthy food in order to restore the imbalance in the body that has been caused by addiction and set a firm ground for the mind and spirit to follow too. She requires clients to quit eating sugar, drinking coffee and smoking too. These three uphold the neurological path of addiction and hence cause cravings that might be misunderstood as cravings for a favorite street drug or alcohol.

So much so far. Happy that I quit using refined sugar in all of its forms. Not using sweeteners either. I do eat bubblegum, but 2 pieces a day or so. My sugar urges are biggest say 5 to 10 minutes after a meal. Not sure why. I would say I would say that is counter logical – if that is even a word. If you would know what would cause that I would be happy to hear it. 🙂

xx, Feeling

14 thoughts on “Sugar, the gateway drug

  1. That’s funny
    I get sugar cravings then too. I find eating slowly helps. It’s like my brain needs time to notice the food in my bloodstream.

    That treatment philosophy assumes addicts are malnourished and unhealthy. I think your average woman drinking wine yet living a regular life, does not fall into this category.

    When my husband went to treatment they restricted caffeine, sugar and treats. There ended up being a black market for chocolate.
    It felt like a punitive punishment.

    Sigh. Hard concepts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ghegheghe, black market for the chocolate… No, I should not be laughing. Well, knowing what I know now I do believe that not using those, nor smoking, gives, in the long run, the best result for sobriety but yes, it is harsh. Very confrontational, more like a monk treatment, I wonder how much security people they have got there. I could imagine people (me!) getting agressive there. I am curious: was this restriction known to your husband before he entered treatment?
      Eating slowly! Aaah, I have just arrived at ‘not eating in front of the screen nor eating with a book’. Funny that the novel (!) I am reading actually has a part about that in it, and how important it is to say grace before you eat food. A year ago I would have laughed at that. How things change in sobriety… 🙂
      xx, Feeling

      Liked by 1 person

      • No…. upfront I would not have had any problems with it. And then sobriety happened and I started eating sugar as I had never done before. And getting this addict behavior like going to the store, buying toiletpaper (anybody can see THAT is a neccessity….) and chocolate. While I actually still had enough toiletpaper. Now that IS addicty behavior. And all of that for 100 grams of very dark chocolate. :-/


  2. Sugar is how I first heard of addiction. I was a sugar freak from an early age. Today I think almost every American is (it’s hard to get figures on it from other countries). When I eat right and stay fit I don’t get cravings nearly as much, but when I’m out of shape and back on steady sugar again, I have cravings like a newcomer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have hypoglycemia too and I suspect that that craving shortly after dinner happens because my body already started secreting insulin which drops my blood sugar levels. And then it takes a bit for the food to get processed and raise them again (or for body to compensate otherwise). I have no idea if this makes sense medically, but that’s how I imagine it 😉
    I try to eat as little refined sugar as possible but can’t avoid it unfortunately (long story, I can’t drink stuff that has no sugar/salt in it, very annoying).
    Congratulations on your day 6 for sugar 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alice, yeah, that makes sense. Thank you. So do you think the body is anticipating a big rise or does it react to the first bites that might come through. I would actually think that would take longer. Hmmm, maybe I should time it. I think the anticipation theory actually makes sense because that is how I do everything: be scared upfront. Why wouldn’t my body have the same pattern?
      With the salt etc you have probably heard of unrefined sea salt? Or Celtic salt being very good for water take up?
      xx, Feeling


  4. I don’t like the comparison between sugar and alcohol in this way. Sugar might make people fat and unhealthy. But it doesn’t rip families apart, stop people from functioning or ruin lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, true. The issue I’m putting forward is not that alcohol is as bad as sugar or visa versa. The issue is that the brain patterns that are said to be the root of an addiction are laid down by using sugar. So this is how it is a gateway to using alcohol and getting addicted to that. I think that is something people would like to know.

      Specifically since it seems to be pretty standard that people who used to be in active addiction of alcohol change over to using immense amounts of sugar after detox. I think that keeps the brain path to addiction active. That worries in my personal life and I thought other people would like to know too. Both are reasons for me to put it out here.

      xx, Feeling

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so good. I really love all the research you do and share with us here. Lots of great tools and things to think about.

    I believe all of this too. I think it’s very very interesting. Pathways of addiction, addictive thinking. I think I’ve been a bit too easy on myself about the sugar. Before my relapse I was binging on sugar big time. I’m happy that the false “need” to binge has dissipated. I’m not craving sugar and chocolate. I read an article about how rampant the practice of using slave labor to harvest chocolate is, and that made me think about what I was doing with the chocolate bars.

    Thanks as always for this insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dinah,

      Glad I can help somebody else besided me too with this. Because truly, sometimes I feel silly about it. What has changed in these months of investigating is that I do things one at the time. Alcohol first, then settle, then the next thing. Babysteps, otherwise there is too much pressure. 🙂
      And yes, on the slave trade. I eat (ate!) eco chocolate which is checked too, or the Dutch brand Tony Chocolony which is slave free and is one of the best tasting chocolates in the supermarkets.
      Nice that you are not craving sugar or chocolate. Makes life easier. I notice I have to pay more attention to what I eat and when. But that is part of the sober plan: pay attention, take care… 🙂
      Hugs and love, Feeling

      Liked by 1 person

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