Former food addicts open up about struggles with sugar

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on October 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

DALLAS -- There are some very different addicts with battles similar to those experienced by cocaine and heroin addicts.

Both battles center around the pleasure centers of the brain, but you rarely hear about this addiction.

"I never had that natural gauge of when to stop," one woman told us.

"I kept wanting more and more," another said. "I never felt satisfied."

It sounds like these women are talking about abusing drugs. But, these women that we'll call Mary and Beth are talking about food addiction.

"I would take prepackaged frosting and I'd spread it on a graham cracker, a spoon, anything," Mary said. "Even frozen frosting -- I'd freeze it to save, then I couldn't wait to defrost it."

It's a disease they say is as dangerous as drugs and alcohol.

"If my kids came home from school and we were having tantrums and there was homework and there was conflict in the house, instead of dealing with the problem, I might sneak into the pantry and eat 12 cookies," Beth said.

Some people limit addiction to substances that cause a physical reaction and withdrawal.

But with obesity numbers skyrocketing, researchers are taking a second look at food; saying it can set off neurotransmitters in the brain, just like illicit substances.

And the main trigger, according to these women, is sugar.

"I did like the taste of it, but it was the reaction that my body had," Mary said. "Once it was in my system, I just kept wanting more and more, and I never felt satisfied."

To recover, they say they had to quit sugar. The difference, they say, has affected so much more than their weights.

"I don't have those sugar highs and lows, so I think I'm better able to make sound decisions and sound judgments," Beth said.

Beth said she knew she had a problem when she took a quiz like this one that asked questions like, "Do you think about food constantly?" and "Have you even stolen food?" She said "yes" to 20 of the questions.


There is a  Food Addicts Anonymous informational session being held Sunday, October 14 at 1:30 p.m. at the First Community Bank in Richardson.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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