<i>60 Minutes</i> Gets It Right That Sugar Is Addictive and May Be Killing You

If you are skeptical by nature, you may have thought the segment last night claiming sugar was toxic was some kind of April Fool's joke. Certainly, you thought the scientists appearing on the show were overreacting in saying that sugar might be addictive. Let me tell you, they weren't.
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If you are skeptical by nature like me, you may have thought the 60 Minutes episode last night claiming sugar was toxic was some kind of April Fool's joke. Certainly, you thought the scientists appearing on the show were overreacting in saying that sugar might be addictive. Let me tell you, they weren't.

I quit consuming almost all sugars and many starches last year and 1) lost fifty pounds, 2) lost my lifelong cravings for alcohol and for nicotine and 3) went through a nasty three-week withdrawal including headaches, body aches, nightmares and flu-like symptoms that convinced me that sugar is indeed addictive. I emerged from it feeling great, having conquered much of the anxiety and irritableness that is typical of people addicted to substances, and am now fit enough to surf the big waves of the Pacific every morning even at the advanced age of 57.

I am an author, writing books is what I do. I immediately started to try to figure out how I could relay this important information about the dangers of sugar to the general public that I knew was suffering from weight gain and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and various addictions like alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Incredibly, sugar may also explain the spread of some forms of cancer, but I hesitate to even make this claim as it just makes everything else I have to tell you that much more unbelievable.

I knew people would not recognize me as an addiction or nutrition expert so the first thing I did was run my ideas for a book past some of the top addiction and nutrition experts in the country. Imagine my surprise when they not only came back and said my ideas were novel and worth pursuing, but one of them, the country's leading neuroscience expert on food and sugar addiction, Dr. Nicole Avena of Princeton and the University of Florida, said she would like to co-author the book with me as her research had led to very similar conclusions. I jumped at the chance.

The general theory of the book is that not only is sugar addictive, which Dr. Avena has proved rather conclusively with lab rats, but also you cannot cure one addiction without curing them all. The reason many people have trouble stopping drinking is because when they try, they substitute other forms of addiction like caffeine or nicotine and so their bodies never get over the addictive cycle of cravings, satiety and withdrawal.

The other big new insight of the book, which Dr. Avena also arrived at independently of me, is that it is extremely difficult to quit an addictive substance like alcohol, nicotine or caffeine unless you also quit your sugar addiction. If you don't, you are just substituting one addiction for another and the addictive cravings will never end. I think this may be the prime reason most recovering addicts and even most dieters relapse. Incredibly, stopping sugar is not only the key component to a successful weight loss diet, it is the key to ending many of the bad habits we may have wanted to but were unable to do in the past.

Certainly the underlying causes of weight gain and addictions like smoking or drinking are enormously complex. But, what I have found and is supported by the scientific evidence is that controlling sugar intake should be a key component of any successful diet plan or attempt at recovery. Stopping sugar can't cure a manic depressive or end the misplaced guilt you feel from your childhood, but it can ease the cravings of food and addictive substances, giving you the chance to regain the rationality needed to conquer your inner demons.

It is not easy to get a book contract from a major publisher, especially when you are writing outside your recognized area of expertise. If you want to lose weight or know someone who wants to kick their addictions, then please leave a comment below or email me at johntalbs@gmail.com. Maybe we can convince the big publishers that there really is a demand out there for a book that can explain how it is possible to kick sugar, stop alcohol, tobacco and caffeine and feel incredibly good again as if you had been recalled to life.

For more by John R. Talbott, click here.

For more on diet and nutrition, click here.

For more on addiction and recovery, click here.

John R. Talbott is a best selling author and economic consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash and the economic crisis. You can read more about his books, the accuracy of his predictions and his financial consulting activities at www.stopthelying.com.

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