I have recently posted two articles examining the subject of sugar addiction. One of the articles focused on whether or not sugar addiction is even a valid concept. Additionally, I noted that sugar has a similar effect to the brain’s pleasure center to addictive drugs - keeping in mind that a similar effect is not positive proof that sugar is addictive. The conclusion I came to is that the jury is still out regarding the subject of sugar addiction.
Dr. Paula Peeke, is a senior science advisor at Malibu Vista and author of The Hunger Fix: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction. She believes that the research regarding sugar as addictive is conclusive enough to validate the contention. She cites the Yale Food Addiction Scale, a questionnaire based on DSM-IV coding for substance abuse, as further proof that food addiction is factual.
The Yale Food Addiction Scale
The Yale Food Addiction Scale was created to identify people who are symptomatic of substance dependence from high-fat and high-sugar foods. The scale is compiled of 25 self-report questions that help identify if a problem exists.
The criteria for addiction to high fat and high sugar foods resemble the criteria for substance dependence as outlined the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-R. Such criteria includes taking the substance in larger amounts than intended, unsuccessful attempts to quit the substance, time spent obtaining and using the substance, breach of social, occupational, or recreational activities, continued use of the substance despite negative consequences, tolerance to the substance, clinically significant impairment, and symptoms of withdrawal. If the symptom count is three or greater, then the criteria for a diagnosis is met.
Dr. Paula Peeke is the science advisor at the Malibu Vista Treatment Center, which is now one of the first facilities to offer treatment for sugar addiction diagnoses.
Malibu Vista is a treatment center tailored to women who are suffering from such mental disorders as anxiety, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and food addiction to name a but a few. Treatment programs are geared to the personal needs of an individual with the pace determined by the patient.
Food addiction is addressed through a treatment plan that includes nutrition, a mental health treatment plan, counseling, medication and support groups.
Residents udergo nutritiion assessments as well as follow-ups as needed. Foods plans that are created help manage cravings and restructure a patient’s relationship with food. Individual and group sessions are available as are cooking classes and nutrition and fitness programs.
Past and present eating habits are explored as well as personal and family history, health status and level of fitness. A nutrition program is designed based on the information that is shared. Foods are prepared to meet the specific needs of clients including special dietary needs such as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free meals.
The menu is designed to help patients transition from foods that include processed and refined sugar, fat and salt to a more healthy diet.
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