Sugar Addiction is Real….And It’s Not Your Fault
Host Susan Branscome talks with Dr. Nicole Avena, research neuroscientist and world-renowned expert in the field of nutrition, diet, and food addiction about sugar addiction. 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. Sugar acts on the brain the same way as drugs, creating highs and lows, withdrawals, craving, and binging.
"If you're struggling with food addiction, recovery could be difficult because in the US, the food system is essentially setting us up for failure," Dr. Avena said. "But its possible to get help and...navigate this food environment in a way that they can be happy and healthy."
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.
"Food Addiction: The Problem and The Solution" podcast is now available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts.
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About The INFACT School
The International School for Food Addiction Counseling and Treatment (INFACT School) is the world's first and only food addiction counseling training, resulting in professional certification from an accredited certification body. Graduates qualify to receive a Certified Food Addiction Professional (CFAP) certificate from the European Certification Board and a CFAP from the The Addiction Professionals Certification Board. Registration is open for the September, 2023 term
About Susan Branscome
The podcast host, Susan Branscome, is the creator and host of LeadingShe, a podcast where women leaders use their voices, wisdom and experiences to help elevate and inspire other women. A 40-year career in which Susan succeeded in the male-dominated commercial real estate industry and owned her own company, prepared her for the task of interviewing these courageous women, sharing stories and ideas of her own.
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