Brenda just sent this question to A Weigh Out:
Q: Do you believe there are people who just cannot eat sugar because it is an addictive substance to them, like we would not ask an alcholic to have just one drink? Do you believe anyone should be able to ”learn” to eat one slice of pie, etc., and then not think about it anymore? I realize your answer would be an opinion like so many others out there, but I would really like your input. Thank you.
A: This is a hot topic these days. I just discussed this question with Jennie Wade, MS, MEd, RD,LD, when we taped one of our Member Teleseminars this past Friday. We agreed 100% on how to answer.
While we wait for answers from the researchers about whether there is such a thing as “food addiction”, there is no question we see what we call “sugar sensitivity” in a number of the people we coach and with whom we do therapy.
What we recommend is very individual, based on a person’s own experience. We recommend you trust your experience and then experiment. If eliminating refined sugars helps reduce your preoccupation with food, that’s worth using to your advantage. After a period of time away from certain trigger foods, after developing new tools for emotional regulation, some people choose to experiment with whether they can go back to those foods, in moderation. When they test it out, some people discover that avoiding “pie”, altogether, works best for them, while some people find they have a “tipping point”. I’m one of those. I can go back to a dessert here and there, but only if I am not feeling emotionally vulnerable to “using” food for emotional reasons, at that time. This issue is quite complex! Every thought we have impacts brain chemistry. So, even how we “think” about eating a piece of pie, or “using” sugar, has the potential to impact our brain chemistry and our experience of feeling dependent, hooked, “addicted”. Very complex…and very individual. So honor your own experience, experiment, and determine what works best for you. That’s what “intuitive” or “attuned” eating is all about.
I hope that helps! For those of you who take advantage of our Free Trial, be sure to listen to Mary Boggiano’s, and Judith Matz’s/Ellen Frankel’s, and Amy Pershing’s Circle Member TeleSeminars…we cover the sugar sensitivity and carb discussions in those…as well as in the seminar with Jennie Wade that we’ll post inside The Members’ Circle in February. As I mentioned above, it is a hot topic!
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in emotional and binge eating issues. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, email@example.com