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How to Break a Sugar Addiction

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Recent studies have shown that eating triggers the same areas of the brain that drugs and alcohol target, so food addiction is a real and growing problem.

In particular, foods high in sugar are especially likely to stimulate the brain and become addictive. So how does one go about breaking a sugar addiction?

Dr. Charles Raison, a psychiatrist from Emory University Medical School answered that question for CNN.com.

Using the theory that it is easier for an alcoholic to stop drinking entirely then just drinking a little, Raison writes:

Assuming that you binge on huge amounts of sweets, I want to suggest that changing your entire dietary pattern might be easier than just stopping this one maladaptive behavior. I say this for two reasons. First, if you are going to give up sugar you are going to have to replace it with something very active and positive. And second, it is increasingly clear that even people who don't binge on sweet foods suffer significant health problems just from eating the standard American diet that most of us consume every day.

Raison suggests getting rid of processed and packaged foods and turning to natural foods -- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and grass-fed animals. Replacing sugary foods with healthier fare will help the body adapt to the lack of sugar.

Aside from this major dietary change, Momscape.com suggests slowly using less sugar. For example, reduce the amount of sugar in your coffee gradually. Before you know it, you won't be using any sugar at all.

And if you must eat processed foods, read the labels and see just how much sugar is in there.

photo by Nyboer Creative