Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sugar/Food Addiction: Is it real?

Came across yet another study that lends credence to the the addictive quality in highly processed sugars/starches:

Diets Can Cause Obesessive Food Thoughts

There are several books on the market from Bob Schwartz, Rob Stevens, Josie Spinnardi (some good youtube videos:, and more, that talk about the dangers of dieting, mainly food restriction. Several studies have shown that people eat more when they go on calorie restricted diets, and may have long term challenges in getting away from thinking about food all the time.

I know I was stuck in a place for several years where it seemed I was constantly thinking about food. A mentally unhealthy place to be. While it is important to have a good basic paleo or HFLC general plan, or whatever works for you,  for many people, the non-perfectionists of us, can begin to be overly concerned with food, and soon lose the connection between food and hunger, so that food becomes a tool to assuage emotional issues. 

Even on the best of plans–paleo is big for me–it is possible to eat too much for the wrong reasons. What I learned from reading about hunger-driven eating, or intuitive eating, is that it is important to only eat when one is truly hungry, and not because of false craving-driven ideas about a need for food. I spent a few days getting back in touch with eating only when I really felt that twang in the upper solar plexus that is one of the main signals for true hunger, and found not too surprisingly that as someone with a pretty slow metabolism I only was hungry once in the day, around 6-7pm. Letting hunger be my guide also improved my appreciation for my food, and everything tastes much better when seasoned by hunger, as the French say.

There is a huge sense of freedom when you begin to practice only eating when hungry, and not by the clock, or by the promptings of television ads, or the smells from the food court in the mall. Also, it’s important to divorce food from any other activities like reading or watching television, since that leads to considerable mindless eating. 

Yours in the effort towards good health,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Is Sugar Toxic?

A great post from Dr. Peter Attia (A-tee-ah) on the topic of sugar toxicity. For me there is no question that I have a toxic reaction to sugar; it makes me feel awful, and if that doesn’t indicate toxicity, I can’t imagine what would. Dr. Attia is working with Gary Taubes on getting more science behind the problems of modern carbohydrates in our diets.

Enjoy, but be prepared to read in small doses:

Yours in learning,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Yikes! Little Things Big Results

Here’s the kind of thing that happens when you are monitoring your blood glucose: I had two big free range chicken breasts and in my fridge was a bottle of chipotle-something marinade, which had 10 grams of sugar per 2 Tbs. So I smeared some on each and put them in the oven. They were delicious. But this morning when I did my first BG test I had a jump of 18points–yikes! I immediately threw out the rest of that sauce. Sometimes you don’t realize that things can have a bigger reaction that you think, but since that was the only food I ate that could have contributed to the increase, I know it was that sauce.

My BG is decent, though on the high end of normal, and I want it in the middle of normal– or lower. But I’m convinced that monitoring my BG fairly regularly these last three years has made a big difference.

I recommend to anyone, regardless of health, fitness, age, or weight to do some regular BG monitoring, because what you do now may mean the difference it what happens down the road. I wish I had started 15 years ago.

Yours in keeping on top of problems,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Honesty is the Best Policy

People are extremely good at rationalizing unwanted/bad behaviors. With our food we can easily slip into “tomorrow I will get back on the wagon” thinking that excuses an episode of bad food or an outright binge.

Far better from a psychological point of view to be honest and admit you just are going to give in and eat what you will probably ultimately regret. That act alone may be enough to ward off the temptation to eat foods we know will make us feel awful, and certainly interfere with any hopes of weight loss. 

Yours in getting real,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Stop Mindless Eating

Probably half or more of the excess calories people ingest comes from snacking. Eating while watching television, or at any activity that is not a meal time, has been shown to be insidious in terms of taking in far more calories than we think. I read Cornell professor Brian Winsink’s book Mindless Eating a couple of years ago and determined then to stop eating while watching television, for I knew we did too much snacking this way; but when I read the research Winsink details about how bad this habit really is, I knew we had to make a change, even though it is not easy to change bad habits as we all know.

For the last two plus years, with few exceptions, my spouse and I have not eaten while watching the television. I make sure we have some innocuous beverage like seltzer or tea to drink which satisfies that old urge while not ceding to the mindless eating.

Even if the food is good for you, snacking is not good. Snacking is a sign that either you are not eating good meals, perhaps not eating good food, or it’s a bad habit often stimulated by seeing food advertisements or people eating and drinking on the programs, which triggers that non-thinking limbic brain evolution programmed in us to eat whenever food was available.

I won’t kid you that it takes some effort to break a bad habit, but after 3-4 weeks you cease to feel the need for the food, especially if you can find alternate behaviors like drinking some safe liquids, or doing something calming like knitting which I do, though I knit poorly, still it produces some scarves and easy afghans.

The main point is to realize that snacking is not the way to get your calories. We need to make sure we get good meals, concentrate our food energy in making meals important family or personal time. I admit I sometimes eat a meal with a magazine propped in front of me if I’m on my own, but feel at least I am making the effort to have a sit-down meal.

No one is perfect in this area, but once you know that you can probably lose 10+pounds by simply stopping snacking, then it makes the process a lot easier.

Yours in trying to improve,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Eat Lots of Sugar-Starch and it Loses its Pleasure Effects

I just came across this 2010 over-eating study which showed that wide access to sugar-starch created less pleasure as rats ate ever more, and also binged more:
The most recent study to examine the addictive quality of fattening foods was published online March 28 by the journal Nature Neuroscience. For the paper, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., examined three groups of lab rats that were fed various diets for 40 days. One group was given typical rat chow only; a second group was offered rat chow, plus a buffet of bacon, sausage, cheesecake, chocolate frosting and other delectable goodies for one hour a day; and a third group was allowed extended access to the fatty buffet for up to 23 hours a day.
The extended-access group began consuming twice as many calories as the other rats, and, not surprisingly, became obese. The limited-access rats, meanwhile, developed a binge pattern of eating, consuming most of their daily calories during the single hour they were allowed in the junk food “cafeteria.”
But what shocked the researchers was that extended-access rats also showed deficits in their “reward threshold.” That is, unrestricted exposure to large quantities of high-sugar, high-fat foods changed the functioning of the rats’ brain circuitry, making it harder and harder for them to register pleasure — in other words, they developed a type of tolerance often seen in addiction — an effect that got progressively worse as the rats gained more weight. “It was quite profound,” says study author Paul Kenny, an associate professor of neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute. The reward-response effects seen in the fatty-food-eating mice were “very similar to what we see with animals that use cocaine and heroin,” he says.
Kenny’s study did not include rats exposed to drugs, making direct comparison tricky, but other studies have found that chronic cocaine or heroin exposure leads to reductions in reward thresholds of 40% to 50%.
The extended-access rats also showed a lowered level of a certain type of dopamine receptor in the brain, which is thought to contribute to pleasure-seeking behavior in humans. “Human cocaine addicts, people who are obese, alcoholics and heroin addicts also show a down-regulation of this dopamine D2 receptor,” says David Shertleff, director of the division of basic neuroscience and behavioral research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “This system is geared toward motivating behavior normally, but what’s happening here is, with chronic exposure to highly fatty and sweet manufactured food, you’re actually getting to a pathological state.”
That is, the down-regulation of D2 receptors seems to turn normal desire into compulsion. In Kenny’s study, the rats that had been given extended access to junk food for 40 days were later willing to continue seeking fatty foods at the risk of getting a painful electric shock to the feet. Limited-access and chow-only rats, however, were significantly put off by the threat of shock, and stayed away from the junk-food buffet.

Food Industry Does Not Like this Doctor

Really worth the watch, and a reminder of why we have such a hard time controlling weight in this era of mega food corporations.  Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of blog, and a physician in Canada on the faculty of medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Get Fatter: More to Worry about Artificial Sweeteners

I learned for myself that artificial sweeteners play havoc with my hunger signals, making me strongly crave all the worst stuff. I have other posts that relate to studies on the powerful effect of artificial sweeteners–and now there is another.

We know that rat studies are used all the time to help researchers to find out if drugs, chemicals, etc., will be bad for people. While most of us are not rats, and the correlation between rat and human studies is not one to one, there are lots of clues in the rat studies that alert the scientists pay attention.

Dr Briffa offers the following on artificial sweeteners making rats eat more and gain weight faster that has made me sit up and take notice:

While it has been a challenge for me, the fact is we probably do best when we stay away from sweet taste as much as possible and curtail the need for sweet. I know, easier said than done, but as I’ve written before, after a year or eighteen months most people cease to crave sweets like they did before and go on to prefer a sweeter leaner life without the sweet food.


I lost all my writing on this post which is aggravating. I’m not highly skilled or even very knowledgeable about these blogs, but my goof tonight may be due to what I was/am writing about which is the low period I experience every year from late November until late January. Not SAD, or seasonal affective disorder,  in my case, just a desire to do little beside cook and eat lotcomfort foods like soups, stews, casseroles, roasted meats. In other words I’m feeling very lazy.

I first noticed this in myself forty years or so ago, when I was right out of college. This is the only time of the year when I want to stay in bed after I awake,  for I’m mainly a morning person; when I do get up all I want to do is drink endless cups of tea, eat, read or watch television, preferably old movies.

Makes sense in light of evolution; that our prehistorical ancestors would want to preserve all the lovely fat they had stored from the summer and autumn bounty. We are still working with brains that think we should still be doing the  same things despite modernity.

When I was younger I always put on 5-7 pounds in the winter and then quickly lost it during the spring and summer’ but with age I didn’t lose it, so the pounds piled on over the years. I had to change to a low carb program, and most importantly get rid of the sugars-starches from grains-most artificial sweeteners.  A cleaner diet has helped me stop the uphill piling on and head back downhill. Just wish I could have my semi-hibernation and still get everything done my modern life calls for; but there it is.

Yours in longing for the cave,

Nan aka Sugarbaby