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Breaking Up With Sugar

A Plan to Divorce the Diets, Drop the Pounds and Live Your Best Life

By Molly Carmel
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Breaking Up With Sugar by Molly Carmel

What’s it about?

Breaking Up With Sugar (2019) is an empathetic, no-nonsense take on food addiction and unhealthy relationships with sugar and grain flour. Author Molly Carmel tells her story of struggling with obesity and gives readers actionable tips on how to get their relationship with sugar under control, once and for all.

Key idea 1 of 7

You might be a sugar addict and not even know it.

The author began her problematic relationship with sugar when she lost her father at a young age. Comfort wasn’t always immediately available, but sugar was always there for her. But as she began to rely on sugar for emotional support more and more, her weight began increasing. At age 11, she was the youngest person at Weight Watchers. By the time she started graduate school, her weight reached 325 pounds and her health had begun to be severely impacted.

For a long time, she thought that fat, or genetics, or leptin, or whatever the latest pseudoscience said, was her problem. Anything but sugar. She even thought she was the problem.

The key message here is: You might be a sugar addict and not even know it.

Like the author, your relationship with sugar might be influenced by emotional factors. What’s more, this dependence might be years in the making. In the author’s case, when the medical community first started talking about sugar addiction, she instantly recognized it as exactly the thing she’d struggled with her whole life. She decided to finally end her problematic relationship with sugar and, for the most part, she hasn’t touched it since.

It’s not just the author, though – or you for that matter. Our relationship with sugar has been complicated since childhood. We celebrate life’s big moments with sugar – birthdays, for example, and weddings – and little ones too, like ice cream on a hot summer day. It’s not going to be an easy relationship to get out of.

But the truth is, sugar isn’t only making you miserable – it’s killing you. Sugar impacts your brain in the same way alcohol, cocaine, and opiates do. On sugar, your brain gets flooded with the feel-good chemical dopamine, which then leaves you wanting more. When rats go through sugar withdrawal, they experience symptoms like teeth chattering, tremors, and depression. Even worse, when dropped into a body of water, rats which are going through sugar withdrawal are less likely to try and climb out. They’ve lost their will to survive.

To make matters worse, it’s not just sugar that does this. It’s also grain flour, which your body reacts to in the same way as it does to sugar. This is probably hard to hear. But if you’re like the author, you’re an addict. Facing hard truths is the first step to recovery.

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