Ask an Expert: How Do I Stop Eating So Much Sugar?

By Stacey Rosenfeld 02/19/15
Today's question is on how to cut back on the sugar before it becomes a lethal problem.

Two months ago I was diagnosed with diabetes, type 2, and my doctors put me on a disgusting strict diet. Why I look to you is I am a sugar freak - and yes, I am overweight and my booty is huge. I am down with sugary food and sweets big time and can't stop the craving for it. The doctors said I had to cut my carbs and eat a lot less sugar and I am trying but I have to say I am a mess and can't stop grabbing at the sweets. What do you offer that might get me out of this before it kills me? My doctors seem to just expect me to stop and I can't and they don't get it. I live in a small town and know about the Fix because my BF is in recovery and suggested I write you. He thinks I am addicted to sugar. - Dolores


Stacey Rosenfeld:  The jury's still out on the concept of sugar addiction, as there really isn't good evidence for this concept in humans. That said, you could certainly be used to a substantial amount of sugar, and cutting back can be difficult. Typically with food issues, we recommend intuitive eating - allowing yourself to eat what you crave - toward the goal of reducing the experience of deprivation (which can trigger increased cravings and overeating). In cases of medical illness, however, intuitive eating may need to be modified to allow for doctor's recommendations. 

How do you feel after you eat sugar? My guess is, because of your diabetes, not great. Is there any way you could try to change your intake based on this negative feeling, so that it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself of sweets, but rather, listening to your body? I would also recommend consulting with a dietitian who specializes in diabetes - a professional can help you flesh out a meal plan so that you don't miss modifications as much. For instance, there may be a way to integrate certain types of diabetes-friendly carbohydrates in your diet, which can satisfy you and help ward off sugar cravings.



Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who treats patients with eating disorders, anxiety/depression, substance use issues, and relationship difficulties. A certified group psychotherapist, she has worked at Columbia University Medical Center in NYC and at UCLA in Los Angeles and is a member of three eating disorder associations. The author of the highly- praised Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight, she is often interviewed by media outlets as an expert in the    Full Bio.

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