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Thank you for visiting my thoughts and ideas site. If you want to speak directly or have my thoughts on something that is important to you email me at admin@ncfed.com

Monday, 8 September 2014

Sugar Addiction

Are you a sugar addict?

Can you be addicted to sugar?

There is a robust review on the subject commissioned for the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA which should settle the matter. There is only  weak association of attachment to sugar among people who diet or restrict carbs, while sugar given freely in a balanced diet may have no influence on behaviour such as escalation, tolerance and withdrawal.

Evidence for Sugar Addiction: Behavioural and neurochemical effects of intermittent excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience Bio behavioural Review 2008 32(1) 20-39 published online 2007 Avena, N., Rada, P. and Hoebel, B.

Psychologically speaking, work on the subject of sugar addiction by Terence Wilson published in Binge Eating, Nature and Treatment edited by Fairburn suggests that the so-called addiction to sugar is largely psychological. People only lose control of eating sugar when they BELIEVE they have eaten sugar, demonstrating NO evidence of intrinsic addiction to the substance at all.

The role of sugar in the hedonic systems of the brain are not equivalent in effect or severity, as drugs like cocaine and nicotine, even though there is an effect on endogenous dopamine.

Sugar is present in many foods such as vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, lentils and other pulses so eliminating sugar from the diet seems impractical. Sugar is not equivalent in its physical effects as fructose including high fructose corn syrup further confounding the evidence.

Sugar-fat combinations are as potent in promoting the surges of endogenous dopamine as sugar alone if not more so. Thus there is danger in focusing solely on the so-called addictive properties of sugar. Based on a macronutrient analysis of binges by Susan Yanovski in 1998, it seems that it is fat which binge eaters really crave when fat is made palatable by sugar.

Thus while clients talk in the language of addiction to sugar,  the evidence-based success of cognitive and cognitive-emotional / behavioural treatments for compulsive eating warn us of the dangers of focusing on sugar as an addictive substance. Addiction approaches to treatment which ask you to remove sugar and white flour from the diet might be unhelpful. It keeps people well only when they continue to restrict their diet. This approach merely fosters the all or nothing thinking that pervades eating disorder work.

 I used to get sugar cravings long ago, but I know now that it was just too much dieting.  I now eat a broad diet which contains all nutrients including a reasonable amount of refined sugar. And I'm fine.

But if you think you are a sugar addict and need help, call us on 0845 838 2040 OR  visit www.eating-disorders.org.uk

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Intermittent Fasting: Our Professional Opinion

Hello everyone.

For an in depth overview of our latest opinion of Intermittent Fasting, follow this link.


We can tell its summer here, the phones have gone quieter. Does this mean that people aren't worrying about their weight and their eating?  I don't think so, this is the time of the dreaded swimming costume; this is the month of ice cream and holiday splurging.

What have I been doing? I've been reading two separate accounts of anorexia which the writers wish to publish. I have been immersed in their private and intense suffering. What a terrible illness anorexia is, I'm so ANGRY with it and so SAD about it.

What is clear to me that Anorexia is the tip of the iceberg. The ONLY reason anorexia comes in to someone's life is that there is a fundamental weakness in someone's ability to manage life and other people. Life is stressful. Relationships are the source of joy and also pain. We need a web of confidence and inner strength to be able to cope with it all. Anorexia is a story of holes in this web. We all have some holes but if there are too many holes the web caves in.

Different stories, but the same symptoms, the same presentation, the same pain. Do we need more accounts of anorexia to help us KNOW what to do about it? Your thoughts appreciated.

Happy holidays...

Monday, 30 June 2014

Anorexia Recovery Guest Blog

Hannah Brown has posted a guest blog about anorexia recovery which she equates to restoring a stately home. What a beautiful metaphor.

You can read it here at  http://eating-disorders.org.uk/weight-restoration-guest-blog/

If you can read this and share it with someone you know, you might save their life, or save your own.

Love to all

Friday, 30 May 2014

Obesity And NICE or, One Gramme Of Gold

Lots in the press this week about NICE guidelines for Obesity and  sleeping in the light makes you fat. And, British girls are the fattest in Europe and they wear less clothes than any other Europeans as well which it is obvious to anyone going to Benidorm.

Sorry about that, but I think it's true. And as for the boys (but that's another story).

Then the Times today publishes findings that low fat foods full of sugar have more calories than normal foods, as if some of us didn't already know. Because some of us do read the labels.

But many people don't. (Read the labels, not wear less clothes). So the advice to visit the slimming clubs on the taxpayer's account to lose 3% of body weight might make sense if you are delivering information and wisdom  to the ignorant and the cheated.

But I genuinely (based on real sound evidence) do not believe that people will sustain 3% weight loss, much of which will not be fat at all. People won't look better and they won't feel better which is why they want to lose weight in the first place. And, many people who are prescribed the slimming club at the cost to taxpayers don't really want to control their eating in the long term. They just want to lose weight so that they can start eating and drinking their favourite foods again.

They must be another way, which has been ignored. I'm training 70 obesity professionals this week about ways to help people lose weight and keep it off. There is, sadly, no quick fix.  We will all be fatter until society begins to change. Or, like the Qataris, give each weight loser one gramme of gold for every kilo they can keep off ....in one year.

I've written a bit more on our website blog  at http://eating-disorders.org.uk/obesity-and-nice/

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Men Hiding Eating Disorders Too

Today I've published an article on my website contributed by Anthony Organ who is interning at a journalism project called The Conversation. Nice name.

You will find it published here http://eating-disorders.org.uk/men-get-eating-disorders-too-guest-blog/

I wish a had a tenner for all the men I've met who have eating disorders.  Not in treatment mind you, journalists ask me if I am seeing more men in treatment and I say no I don't, but I meet them everywhere else, at dinner parties where they confess their struggles or in my day to day life outside the office.

They are remarkable for hiding their struggles; maybe because they do feel ashamed at their lack of control over their food and their weight. They hide their struggles inside exercise compulsions, marathon running, daily visits to the gym to work out, taking lifestyle drugs or steroids, purging - but not thinking how serious this is - you name it, I've seen how they hide their terrible struggles with control of food.

I think it will always be the same despite all the publicity; looking into the future I can't really see that it will change, men finding a million terrible ways to control their eating behaviour but never accepting that they are out of control.  It's really good that it has all come out into the open, like homosexuality.... but I still cant envisage a time when guys will willingly come forward for treatment if eating begins to rule his life.

So if you are a guy reading this blog, go and check out my website, if you don't want therapy we can offer you coaching to put your eating and body image difficulties behind you. So that you can be happier and more effective in your life.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Tips For Working with Anorexia

Everyone needs help with anorexia.

No one fully understands it. Even people who suffer don't really understand it. Anorexia doesn't happen because your mother didn't love you enough or because you were teased in your childhood.

Many people live with low level anorexia - perhaps we call them "orthorexics" or they just happen to run marathons every week.  They are quite thin but they say that they just look after themselves. Since they aren't skeletal we just pretend that they don't have "issues".

Even people who had quite serious anorexia once upon a time find that it doesn't really ever go away.

So I'm going to write some of my thoughts about anorexia on my website blog. They are just to help us all think out of the box. I am not going to pretend that I have all the answers about helping people to stop starving, stop running marathons or going on long bike rides when the rest of us are happy to sit by the fire and rest. In fact if they don't want to stop doing what they are doing, I wouldn't have a chance.

So here we are, the first post on my lovely website is here at http://eating-disorders.org.uk/tips-for-working-with-anorexia/

 If you want to help me with your comments and ideas please do. I need and welcome your input.
Love to you all.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Go Enjoy Your Toast

Carbohydrate phobia is now officially a new psychiatric disorder. No, I'm joking, but Hannah Devlin Science Correspondent of the London Times says that almost half of all women and men are scared to eat carbs, which are an essential part of a normal healthy diet.

Carbs do some very important things in our body which cannot easily be replicated by proteins and by fats.  Not being nutritionally trained, few people really know what carbohydrates really do. They are swayed by rogue messages from daft so-called health professionals.

And few people know how much carb they should be eating. It is about 250 grams per day, but what does that mean? Its actually a bowl of cereal, some fruits and vegetables, a bit of pasta, some lentils and beans and a few bits of toast. Who is measuring?  I don't.

If you drink alcohol, that's where the trouble creeps in since the carbs are dense and the body isn't quite so sure what to do with them.

I've written more about carbohydrate guilt in my website blog. Follow the link to http://eating-disorders.org.uk/carbohydrate-phobia-go-enjoy-your-toast/

And let me know what you think?  If you want to fight your carb phobia and get your life back, I will support you in your fight. Its a crazy world we live in and your carbohydrate phobia might keep you thin and it might not and it will certainly make you less happy.