We’ve discussed type I Sugar addiction, which is where fatigue leaves us reaching for sugar as an energy loan shark. We discussed how to make healthy energy, including the use of an especially powerful nutrient called ribose which increases energy an average of 61%. This week, the excerpt from “The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction” will discuss type 2 Sugar addiction, which stems from fatigue of our adrenal “stress handler” gland
Type 2 Sugar Addiction: Feed Me Now or I’ll Kill You
When life’s stress has exhausted your adrenal glands
The type 2 sugar addict is constantly reacting to stressful stimuli in the environment, which activates the adrenal glands to produce the stress-handler hormones cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline). When your adrenals become overtaxed by the constant tension of modern life and don’t respond by giving you a kick of energy, you may reach for sugar to “pump them up.” But this effect is short-lived, followed by a drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. Starved of glucose (its food), your brain feels like it’s suffocating. You become anxious, jittery, and light-headed. You need to eat now. You can’t wait. And if you don’t eat––preferably something sweet––the symptoms just get worse.
Take This Quiz
Your total score will tell you whether you fit the type 2 profile. Do you?
_____Do you find that you are always thirsty and have to urinate frequently? (10 points)
_____Do you get recurrent sore throats and swollen glands? (10 points)
_____Is life a crisis to you? (15 points)
_____Do you enjoy the rush of energy you feel when you are in a crisis? (15 points)
_____When you are stressed out, does your energy take a nosedive? (15 points)
_____Do you sometimes get dizzy when you stand? (15 points)
_____Do you have chronic severe exhaustion, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia, which followed an acute infection or an incident of extreme stress? (25 points)
_____Are you very irritable when hungry? Do you get a “Feed me now or I’ll kill you” feeling? (35 points)
_____Your total score
- 0–24: You are probably a type B “low-key” person with healthy adrenals.
- 25–49: You are developing early stages of adrenal fatigue.
- 50–75: This suggests moderate adrenal exhaustion, and your body is crying out for help.
- Over 75: You are suffering from severe adrenal exhaustion and likely are feeling awful overall.
What Does a Typical Type 2 Sugar Addict Look Like?
If you are a type 2 sugar addict, you feel like you are always in crisis. You don’t act, you react, which sets off a chain of events guaranteed to leave you stressed out. You are a master at making mountains out of molehills because your distorted thinking and behavior change a small event into a big problem. When you feel burned out by stress, you reach for sugar.
You are also often the “go-to” person when problems arise. It’s admirable to help others, but type 2 sugar addicts are often people pleasers who routinely put others’ needs before their own. Other people’s approval is necessary so you can feel good about yourself, and you won’t rest until their problems are solved. But instead of taking a break when you feel fatigued, you snack on sugar.
Type 2 sugar addicts are often stressed out women, juggling their roles as wives and mothers with demanding jobs outside their homes. You are always on the run: to soccer practice, to ballet class, to work, and home again. You are exhausted, but you can’t seem to stop. When you crash, you reach for a sugar fix to artificially pump up your tired adrenal glands, which fuels your sugar addiction.
Initially, though, this approach seems to work, and even though your adrenals are taxed by stress, you may still feel pretty good. That’s because you’ve become an adrenaline junkie and the rush keeps you on an “energy high.”
Eventually, this backfires. As you repeatedly “use” sugar to get an energy boost, your blood sugar dips even lower, and that drives the adrenals to work even harder. Over time, the adrenal glands may become bigger, just as muscles do when you work out. Ultimately, however, your adrenals become exhausted.
You may find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. You might suffer from chronic sore throats and recurrent swollen glands in your neck. You get sick more often and have difficulty recovering. You may have low blood pressure and feel dizzy upon standing. You might even develop chronic fatigue syndrome.
If you are a type 2 sugar addict, you may find that you can no longer fit into your skinny jeans. That’s because every time the adrenals kick in, insulin is released, telling the body to store more fat. In two of our studies at the Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Research Center, people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, with associated adrenal fatigue, had an average weight gain of 32.5 pounds (15 kg).
The key sign of adrenal fatigue, however, is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This condition can make you irritable when you’re hungry. You feel like you need something to eat right now! Usually that something is sugar.
The Adrenal Glands and Blood Sugar
The adrenal glands, controlled by the pituitary, are located on either side of your kidneys and maintain stable blood sugar levels by producing cortisol, which triggers the manufacture of insulin. But when you are under stress (in a fight or flight situation), the glands produce adrenaline or epinephrine, which increases your blood sugar, heart rate, and pulse to prepare you for action. Without enough cortisol and in turn, insulin, to handle the spike, your blood sugar rapidly drops during stress and your brain feels like you’re drowning.
You do need a normal amount of adrenaline on a day-to-day basis. The adrenal glands help maintain normal energy levels for balancing the immune system, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and producing other hormones, including dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA, the “fountain of youth hormone”), aldosterone (which maintains proper salt and water levels in the body), and even some of your testosterone.
Fortunately, it is easy for you to treat your adrenal fatigue and feel dramatically better!
Excerpted from The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015) by Jacob Teitelbaum M.D.