Sugar Addiction is Real….And It’s Not Your Fault

Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist, a pioneer, and a world-renowned expert in the field of nutrition, diet, and food addiction. She received her Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University and is uniquely qualified to address the biology of food addiction as well as its psychological aspects. In her books, Why Diets Fail (Because You’re Addicted to Sugar) and Hedonic Eating: How the Pleasure of Food Affects Our Brains and Behavior, Dr. Avena discusses our addictive and dependence-like relationship with sugar and highly processed foods. She reports that sugar is hiding in many foods and we have easy access to this highly addictive substance. Dr. Avena discusses the neuroscience around the brain’s pleasure center and dopamine release when we ingest addictive substances like sugar and dopamine release which can be in “overdrive” for addicts. Our society can tend to shame those who cannot control their sugar intake on their own, yet it is not a failure, it is an addiction. She reports withdrawal from sugar is possible and while it can come with side effects, they are temporary. Dr. Nicole Avena’s hope for the world is for all of us to make the connection between the obesity crisis and eating sugar and highly processed foods by acknowledging this and making changes. She has also written books about nutrition during pregnancy and for our children with the hope we will not raise unhealthy and overweight children. As she and others advocate for change to labeling and the addiction of food in the DSM-5 as a substance use disorder, the fight is a big one against the trillion-dollar food industry. Her next book Sugar Less will be released in the fall of 2023 which furthers the discussion around the prevalence of sugar and the addictive response in our society with 80 percent of grocery store products containing sugar. What an inspiring professional and advocate for bringing awareness around food and sugar addiction in our society!  All of Dr. Avena’s books can be found at: