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The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program
ISBN 034544132X / 9780345441324 / 0-345-44132-X
Publisher Random House Publishing Group
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Sugar lurks in foods in more than 85 different forms. Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., the first person to receive a doctorate in addictive nutrition, says that besides being detrimental to the immune system, the more than 100 pounds of processed sugar consumed annually by each American is responsible for "mood swings, depression, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, PMS, impulsivity ... [and] unpredictable temper." And while overdosing on the sweet stuff is a national pastime, she says her research shows indulging in sugar highs should be treated much more seriously, akin to heroin or alcohol dependency, because sugar causes spikes in the neurotransmitters serotonin and beta-dopamine just like those drugs--and can eventually wreak similar mayhem on one's health, work, and relationships.
The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program is not a quick fix; DesMaisons's plan aims to eliminate sugar cravings, requiring five days of "detox," along with building up the resolve to stick to the recommendations over time--including while out at restaurants, during social gatherings, and while traveling. Fortunately, she offers plenty of tips for those situations, and her prescription is practical and easy to follow, including seven steps as simple as making sure some protein is included with each meal. (That's not to say this is a high-protein, low-carb diet; she criticizes Dr. Robert Atkins and other fad-diet hawkers.) DesMaisons includes more than 50 recipes that cover breakfast through dinner; advice for choosing comfort foods to replace those M&Ms and sodas; and an invitation to join the support group she runs through her Web site. The Recovery Program should be of particular interest to parents and teachers, considering the way sugar-saturated foods are ruthlessly marketed to children--Coke machines are more and more commonplace in elementary schools--and that many of the behaviors DesMaisons links to sugar sensitivity are remarkably similar to those of ADHD. --Erica Jorgensen [via]