You may have come
across advice that says don’t deprive yourself of any food including sugar or
you will just want it more. Patrice French (RNP here at IMWL) came across such
advice recently in her never-ending research she does to help our
patients. She asked me what I thought about someone on the internet giving
advice that you should not deprive yourself of sugar (or anything else) because
that is the reason you overeat it. This is sometimes referred to as the
diet-binge cycle. The following is my response to Patrice:
There is a difference
between dieting and avoiding substances that give you the munchies.
Depending on your
specific, albeit changeable physiology, sugar can cause chemical
is scientific evidence for this as well as the experience of
countless human beings.
sometimes, itch from peanuts.
To think that they
itch only because they are scratching is ridiculous.
Some people at
sometimes get a *real* appetite “itch” (craving) from sugar.
Some people don’t have
that sugar-induced itch, and those people may need to just quit “dieting” and love
Eventually if I love
myself enough, I might stop having cravings that result *from* eating sugar.
Until then, I will
continue to learn that my physiology hasn’t changed enough, and I will in fact
get chemical cravings from sugar, and mood swings too.
Not just because I
“broke my diet”
In conclusion, you are
the one who can know if certain foods give you the munchies (cause cravings).
If they do, you will find freedom by avoiding those foods. Or you may be
someone who overeats as a result of restriction (dieting). In that case,
quitting dieting should result in freedom from overeating. Either way, being as
kind to ourselves as we would any other human we love and care will help us let
go of those “trigger” foods, or “trigger” diets.
To your happiness and health! ~ Dr. Beth
In addition, here are
Patrice’s thoughts on the subject:
“I have been
discussing with my patients for the last week how they feel about sugar
addiction vs emotional overeating and where they stand on the issue based on
their life story and expertise. The same conclusion applies that some people
can have sugars/carbs and be able to enjoy it without fear and move on. They
may be emotional eaters at times but with coming here, they have learned their
triggers are more mindful of how and why they are eating.
However, in the words
of one of my patients “If I eat a piece of a brownie, I will go home and start
foraging for more sugar and start to binge. I believe sugar is addictive for me
and I know I need to avoid it”
There has been no
doubt in anyone’s mind whether emotional eater vs food addict that food
addiction is very real. I also feel to address this with patients in a
compassionate, understanding manner is a huge relief for many who suffer and
are validated. It is a great conversation to have”