New Sugar 'Rehab Clinic' Opens In Amsterdam

By Victoria Kim 11/09/16

The "sugar clinic" is sponsored by the Dutch Diabetic Foundation.

New Sugar 'Rehab Clinic' Opens In Amsterdam

Apparently the U.S. isn’t the only one with a sugar addiction. The Dutch are hooked as well—which led to the opening of a temporary sugar “rehab clinic” in Amsterdam. The space, which opened Monday, isn’t so much a rehab as it is an information center about sugar, according to the NL Times

About 80% of Dutch people consume too much sugar, according to the Dutch Diabetic Foundation, which opened the “sugar rehab.” The space serves to educate visitors on hidden and added sugars, and help them explore healthier alternatives.

Here at The Fix we’ve written quite a bit about the role of sugar in addiction recovery. For many recovering addicts, sugar is a comforting substitute for whatever substance they put down. 

Sugar may seem like a natural substitute for alcoholics, especially. Quitting booze means drastically cutting one’s intake of carbs and sugar. Sugary foods can fill that void without as much guilt, perhaps, but according to recovered food addict Mary Foushi, the consequences of sugar addiction aren’t so benign. 

“People we work with say that putting down the alcohol is nothing compared to putting down the food, and the dangers of sugar addiction can be just as bad if not far worse: obesity, diabetes, some forms of cancer, high blood pressure, degeneration of bones and joints,” Foushi, co-founder of ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services, told The Fix in 2011.

Sugar is notoriously difficult to resist for many, if not most, people. It has the effect of making you crave more instead of satisfying you. When people eat too much sugar, they can cause the release of chemicals associated with pleasure and reward, eventually developing a physical addiction, research neuroscientist Nicole Avena, PhD, of the New York Obesity Research Center, told The Fix in 2014. 

Most recently, Lou Lebentz, an expert on sugar and addiction, spoke to The Fix about the deleterious effect that sugar can have on the liver, especially for recovering alcoholics. “If you're an alcoholic and already have an overworked liver trying to process alcohol, the last thing you want to do is to put a further strain on the liver trying to process sugar,” said Lebentz. Sugar has no health benefits and is toxic to the body, she added.

The “sugar rehab” on Leidsestraat in Amsterdam will be open until Nov. 13. 

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr