Addiction

Buried under mountains of sugar

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The onslaught of sugar in the American diet and its effect on our ability to sense sweetness — and other outcomes — is the subject of this speech I gave to my Toastmasters club last week. The assignment was to present a researched and sourced contention.

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Just because we can, should we?

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I was reading a lengthy-but-completely-on-target article in the British newspaper The Telegraph on sugar dependence — boy, the Brits are much more on top of this topic than American media is — when I noticed this "top stories" box at its bottom.

Sex and food, yes, but the last entry is what moved me to share it.

"Low sugar hot fudge sauce" exemplifies what I consider some of the most pernicious threads of modern humanity:

The ED establishment throws a bone to biology

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I ran across a page from the National Eating Disorder Association that I thought was worth a few grafs (as in "paragraphs," a vestige of newspaper-ese). The page’s headline is “Factors That May Contribute to Eating Disorders.”

The good news  is that one of the subheadings is “Biological Factors That Can Contribute to Eating Disorders.” I, of course, expend a lot of my time promoting the biological aspect, without which “food addiction” would be the empty suit its detractors paint it.

Abstinence makes the body more aware

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I’ve got a big raspberry for the Polar beverages vendor at my local market. He lost focus in what I’m sure is a mind-numbing part of his job, and the result for me was a headache, dry mouth, and not a little bit of consternation.

It is a weakness of mine that no matter what I’m in that market for, I stop by the soda aisle and pop open a liter of whatever, and yesterday it was Polar's diet raspberry lime. I’m a fairly careful shopper, especially when it comes to sugar or sugar-free, and I was definitely in the sugar-free area.

One scary statement

I thought I was done blogging about my experiences at the Binge Eating Disorder Association's national conference, but a line uttered during the panel I participated in keeps clanging around in my head:

"When I hit 700 pounds, my health started to go down hill."

It was said by Marybeth Quist, who shared her experience as a bariatric surgery survivor on the panel. Even in a sharply sad story where even the ups had downs, that statement of hers has just kept coming back.

Overweight isn't *the* issue, but it often is *an* issue

A gaggle of eating disorder groups put out a release this week praising Michelle Obama for comments she made about weight during a Google Hangout, emphasizing healthy lifestyle and avoiding any talk about weight with her daughters.

I, of course, talk about weight all the time. Few topics, including this one, are black and white, but I acknowledge the gulf.

Big Food's false choice

I was listening to Ira Flatow interview Rob Lustig on a Science Friday podcast when I heard Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UC Berkeley, make a really good point.

Big Food spinmeisters subvert the libertarian viewpoint to “keep Big Brother from telling me what to eat” as a way to avoid any fetter on its ability to sell its products, when Big Food is already telling us what to eat!

Men with EDs and PTSD probably have an SUD, too

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A finding whose significance I missed during Dr. Timothy Brewerton’s presentation last Friday morning at the Binge Eating Disorder Association’s national conference: The tremendous confluence in men of substance-use disorders, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to Brewerton, 88 percent of men of who exhibit eating disorders and PTSD also exhibit other substance-use disorders. This compares with about 35 percent of women, and is dramatically higher for rates of PTSD or eating disorders alone.

Must weight loss be a definition of recovery?

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So is weight loss an important measure of whether eating-disorder treatment is working? Even getting past the eating-disorder corners that don’t address overweight, the answer is apparently not.

During her opening remarks at the Binge Eating Disorder Association national conference last Friday, founder Chevese Turner argued for a definition of recovery that doesn’t include it. Later, during a researchers’ panel, Denise Wilfley of the Washington University School of Medicine, chimed in, saying that “if someone is having a stable weight, that’s a very important outcome.”

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