Type 1 Sugar Addiction: The Energy Loan Shark
Chronically exhausted and hooked on quick hits of caffeine and sugar
Type 1 sugar addicts are addicted to energy drinks, coffee, and/or soft drinks containing caffeine. Energy drinks have grown in popularity since Red Bull was introduced in 1997. Today there are more than 500 energy drinks on the market, which together account for more than $5.7 billion in sales. The basic ingredients in most energy drinks are sugar and caffeine (although some brands add herbal extracts, amino acids such as taurine, and vitamins). When this mixture of empty calories hits your system and your blood sugar rises, you get an immediate energy boost. Unfortunately, one to three hours later you feel even more fatigued than before. You also crave more sugar. What do you do? Reach for another energy drink. Fatigue drives sugar cravings, and sugar consumption drives fatigue. Getting energy from “energy drinks” (including coffee and sodas) is like borrowing money from a loan shark––it costs you way more in the end.
What Does a Typical Type 1 Sugar Addict Look Like?
If you’re a type 1 sugar addict, it’s likely you are a type A personality, which means you strive for perfection. Nothing less than the best you can do is acceptable. Whether you are a college student pulling all-nighters, a Young Turk climbing the corporate ladder, or a woman working on breaking the glass ceiling, your attention is focused with laser-like precision on success.
Chances are you work (or want to work) in a highly competitive field such as law, medicine, high finance, or high tech. But you can be a type 1 sugar addict regardless of your work situation (yes, stay-at-home moms count). The common denominator of all type 1 sugar addicts is that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Downtime is not on your to-do list, and fatigue is ever present.
If you try to exercise, you are plagued with aches and pains because your muscles just don’t have the energy they need to function properly. If you skip a workout, muscles tighten, causing pain, and when this becomes chronic, it is called fibromyalgia.
Low energy can also cause muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders, a factor in tension headaches and/or migraines. Caffeine withdrawal (even if it’s temporary) and even an allergy to sugar can also trigger migraines.
It’s not unusual for a type 1 sugar addict to have hypothyroidism. When your thyroid gland (located in your neck), the master of metabolism, isn’t working the way it should, fatigue results. This further perpetuates a dependence on energy drinks to boost energy artificially.
More Health Problems Common to Type 1 Sugar Addicts
Often, the typical type 1 sugar addict has a weakened immune system. Repeatedly pumping sugar into your body with energy drinks puts you at a deficit for certain essential nutrients, such as zinc, which you need for proper immune function. When you don’t get the nutrients you need, your body’s defense system becomes impaired. In fact, the sugar in one can of soda can immediately decrease your immune function by one-third for three to four hours!
Do you seem to catch every illness that’s going around, and then it takes forever for these infections to go away? If so, your immune system may be sluggish. You may get viral infections, such as a cold or flu, or have chronic sore throats. In more severe cases, immune dysfunction can be associated with infections that should be short term but become chronic, such as Epstein-Barr syndrome.
Chronic use of energy drinks to boost energy artificially wreaks havoc on the body and can lead to all sorts of problems, including sugar addiction, fatigue, insulin resistance, weight gain, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FMS). Over the past ten years, research shows that the incidence of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia has exploded by 400 to 1,000 percent, with more than 12 million Americans (three-quarters of them female) being affected. More than 25 million Americans suffer from chronic <I>disabling<$> fatigue, and most people feel they simply don’t have enough energy. We will discuss how to recover from these debilitating illnesses in part III.
Summary: Key Features of the Type 1 Sugar Addict
- Type 1 sugar addicts often have type A personalities. You strive for perfection in whatever you do.
- Many type 1 sugar addicts are hooked on energy drinks, coffee, and caffeinated sodas.
- Energy drinks, coffee, and caffeinated sodas give you a temporary boost, but leave you feeling even more tired.
- Using caffeine and sugar to boost energy artificially can lead to all sorts of health problems, including an impaired immune system, sleep disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
- You can feel much better by following the SHINE Protocol (see chapter 6).
The SHINE Protocol
We recommend what we call the SHINE approach to end type 1 sugar addiction. It includes predominantly natural remedies and, when needed, prescription medications. Addressing all of these factors together enables you to heal your body and feel better than ever before. SHINE stands for the following:
Sleep. Optimize sleep and treat sleep disorders.
Hormonal support. Hormones regulate your body’s functioning, including energy production and sugar cravings. Blood tests are unreliable. We’ll show you how to figure out what hormones you need– and how to get them.
Infections. Infections, including sinusitis and recurrent colds and flus, drain energy.
Nutritional support. Use vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to heal your body and stop sugar cravings. A simple morning energy drink with one scoop of the “Energy Revitalization System” vitamin powder and a 5 g scoop of ribose can leave your energy turbocharged!
Exercise. Walk (or do another type of exercise) for thirty to sixty minutes a day. If possible, exercise outside so you can get sunshine as well.
A free “Energy Analysis Program” at www.EndFatigue.com can analyze your symptoms, and even pertinent lab tests is available to tailor an energy optimization protocol for you.
Excerpted from The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015) by Jacob Teitelbaum M.D.