'I put sugar on everything': The woman battling severe food addiction tells Katie Couric how she overcame her cravings

By Daily Mail Reporter

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Exploring the problem of food addiction on her new show today, Katie Couric delved into sugar cravings, self-depreciating mindsets and the power of the brain.

Discussing the difference between a food lover and a food addict, Dr Pamela Peeke, author of The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction gave her step by step guide to overcoming all-consuming sugar cravings.

Food addict Shayla White from Texarkana, Arkansas, who began battling her sugar cravings two weeks ago with Dr Peeke, told Ms Couric on Katie: 'I would wake up in the middle of the night, eat a candy bar, and go back to sleep.'

Dieing to detox: Katie Couric discussed the difference between a food lover and a food addict with Dr Pamela Peeke, who gave her step by step guide to overcoming all-consuming sugar cravings

Dieing to detox: Katie Couric discussed the difference between a food lover and a food addict with Dr Pamela Peeke, who gave her step by step guide to overcoming all-consuming sugar cravings

Ms White, who was so hooked on sugar she put it on everything, from pasta, to meatloaf, and fried chicken, says without her sugar rush she would get fidgety and irritable.

As Ms Couric points out, everyone loves a bit of sugar, 'when you're presented with a strawberry tart and a strawberry, which one do you pick?' she explains.

But Dr Peeke dissects the difference between someone who likes sugar, and someone who is addicted to it.

 

'A food lover is someone who would a cupcake, enjoy it, wake up the next morning walk it off and forget about it already.

'A food addict would take this and eat it and continue to eat, and because they can't get enough satisfaction from this they would become obsessive about it. It will become associated with blame shame and guilt. When they eat something this this, they're completely out of control,' she says.

She also explains the role the brain plays in food addiction.

Food addict; Shayla White from Texarkana, Arkansas, who began battling her sugar cravings two weeks ago with Dr Peeke, told Ms Couric: 'I would wake up in the middle of the night, eat a candy bar, and go back to sleep'

Food addict; Shayla White from Texarkana, Arkansas, who began battling her sugar cravings two weeks ago with Dr Peeke, told Ms Couric: 'I would wake up in the middle of the night, eat a candy bar, and go back to sleep'

The bad: Ms White, who was so hooked on sugar she put it on everything, from pasta, to meatloaf, and fried chicken, says without her sugar rush she would fidgety and irritable

The bad: Ms White, who was so hooked on sugar she put it on everything, from pasta, to meatloaf, and fried chicken, says without her sugar rush she would fidgety and irritable

The good: Dr Peekeadvises foods that naturally increase dopamine. 'Looking for beans, fruits, vegetables, seafood and fish, you can condition yourself with the right foods,' she said

The good: Dr Peekeadvises foods that naturally increase dopamine. 'Looking for beans, fruits, vegetables, seafood and fish, you can condition yourself with the right foods,' she said

'It's about the brain's actually chemistry and make-up. Then constantly exposed to false fixes, the sugary, starchy, fatty, and salty food combinations. They trigger the reward center in the brain and they hijack it.'

Ms White, who consumes a five pound bag of sugar every week, said: 'Sugar has a strong hold over me, it's a battle. I wake up thinking about sugar, I go to bed thinking about sugar. It's calling my name, "come eat me". And I eat it.'

Dr Peeke explained that the first step to fighting food addiction is the detox.

'Throw it away, get it out of there. Just don't have it in the house,' she said. 'Research shows from the National Institute of Health that it's the cues that get you going - eating it only gives you a small reward.'

She added that we need to train our brain using the powerful prefrontal cortex to be able to 'reign it in' and say 'I know what I need to do, and make the right choice.'

Ms Couric also added that checking ingredients of supermarket buys is especially helpful. ' if you can't pronounce the first three ingredients, don't buy it. Keep it natural.'

Stages of detox: Dr Peeke added that we need to train our brain using the powerful prefrontal cortex to be able to 'reign it in' and say

Stages of detox: Dr Peeke added that we need to train our brain using the powerful prefrontal cortex to be able to 'reign it in' and say "I know what I need to do", and make the right choice'

Healthy meals: Combining natural fiber with protein will kill carb cravings and 'cut off your hunger gene'

Healthy meals: Combining natural fiber with protein will kill carb cravings and 'cut off your hunger gene'

Dr Peeke implored Ms White to choose foods that naturally increase dopamine. 'Looking for beans, fruits, vegetables, seafood and fish, you can condition yourself with the right foods.'

'It's medicating, with whole foods,' she added.

Ms White, who have been following Dr Peeke four step detox plan said she's alreday half way there. 'It cut my craving for sugar, she said. 'I now crave the right sugar, like a banana, grapes and watermelon.'

Dr Peeke also advises to only think in 24 hour cycles at a time  'Don't be thinking about nine years down the line. Plan out your day to stop making bad choices. And combining natural fiber with protein will kill carb cravings. They will cut off your hunger gene.

On the importance of leafy greens, she added: 'They will come over to the gene for obesity, diabetes, you name it, and slap it down.'

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Marie - I've heard that a salt craving can indicate a thyroid disorder.

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It's scary how cravings can take over. The lady kept repeating that sugar had "hijacked" the woman's brain and I think that's how it feels. Once I quit eating sugary foods I lose the cravings.

Click to rate     Rating   9

I'm on a detox diet right now, and it's working wonders, after only one week. I only crave blueberries. Just had a handful for breakfast and my detox shake. I don't feel hungry again until close to lunch.

Click to rate     Rating   4

I discovered my sugar cravings only happen when my iron is low. I mean I do like sugar...but when I was anemic I would actually eat spoonfuls of sugar right from the bag. I guess it was a form of PICA. Normally the thought of spoons of sugar makes me want to gag.

Click to rate     Rating   27

I somewhat understand this. I LOVE salt and constantly crave it. I especially love pickles and olives and can't get enough of them!

Click to rate     Rating   31

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