The Sugar Series – Part 3 of 3

addicted to sugar

Sugar is a very powerful drug. So is white flour actually, but I digress.

1. Sugar Is A Drug And Can Cause Drug-Like Addiction

It doesn’t start out that way. As you know Mother Nature grows sugar as an edible food. However, once humans get their hands on it and process any goodness out of it, it turns from food to foe. In fact, refined sugar and refined flour go through the same process as heroin and cocaine hence the very real withdrawals you’ll go through giving it up.

sugar cane

In a study involving mice, sugar, saccharin and cocaine, 94 per cent of the mice (actually I think they were rats) chose sugar over cocaine. refer to the above study that was reported in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE back in 2007 explaining how rats (thought they were rats!) were given the option to choose between drinking water sweetened with saccharin (Sweet’n Low) or intravenous cocaine and they almost always chose the water.

They go on to say that a number of scientific evaluations have discovered that both sugar and synthetic sweeteners can trigger the same or stronger responses in the brain than illegal drugs, and are sometimes much harder to break in terms of habitual consumption.

Dr Serge Ahmed and his research team from the University of Bordeaux in France said their findings ‘clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and drug-addicted individuals. When society finally discovers that refined sugar is just another white powder, along with pure cocaine, it will change its mind and attitude toward refined food addiction’.

They went on to say that ‘Refined sugars (e.g., sucrose, fructose) were absent in the diet of most people until very recently in human history. Today overconsumption of diets rich in sugars contributes together with other factors to drive the current obesity epidemic among other things’.

sugar profits

Freaky really. It’s weird to think we can be addicted to something that’s so readily available but that’s the science, and that’s the reported facts. I guess it’s a bit like alcohol and cigarettes – even though they’re addictive and bad for us they make a lot of money so they haven’t been outlawed.

2. Sugar Can Lead To Bone Weakness

Another thing that sugar can bring about is the release of calcium and magnesium mucking up the ratios, so in order to balance it out the body will pull calcium from the teeth and bones. This is not ideal when we are most prone to osteoporosis after the menopause.

3. Ditching Sugar May Reverse Cancer(!)

According to, researchers have found that interfering with the amount of sugar available to cancer cells actually helps reverse the disease. They reported that preventing cancer cells from accessing sugar led to the cells returning to their normal, pre-cancerous state. Whoa! Strong stuff indeed.

Bonus changes ditching sugar creates in your body?

4. You’ll no longer be addicted

5. The worst of your peri / menopause signs may disappear

6. Your weight will decrease naturally

7. You’ll have more energy

8. Your brain fog will depart

9. Your libido may come back

10. Let’s Save Our Kids Teeth

Important aside with Dr Rob Beaglehole:

A couple of years ago TV One’s Sunday ran a story called ‘Bittersweet’ with Dr Rob Beaglehole talking about sugar.

During the programme, Dr Beaglehole said that the number one reason children are admitted to New Zealand hospitals is for removal of their teeth by anaesthetic and that’s due to sugar.

He said that most of the children are under four years old and some are as young as 18 months old!

childs teeth

Dr Beaglehole agrees that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine and there’s robust evidence it can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.


I personally don’t eat sugar much at all now. Occasionally I’ll have some, but mostly I choose not too. That said I don’t beat myself up if I have a piece of something. (We’ve got to be kind to ourselves and ditch the inner mean girl ladies!) It’s interesting though, once you’ve avoided sugar for a while you taste how sweet fruit is. Even carrots taste a bit like sweets and anything like packaged sweets is waaaaaaaaayyyyy to sweet.

And it feels good. Trust me.

And that, my friends, is the end of the sugar series. Did you learn something? Will you look at sugar in a new light?

The reason we’ve done a three-part series on the subject is because we care about your health. And more to the point we care about the symptoms and body changes you may experience during the menopause transition. So, if just a little bit of this info helps convince you that getting rid of sugar could change your life then we’ll have done our job.

I truly hope it helps you because even cutting back a little on things like sugar, and yes I know I mentioned refined flour in here too, but reducing the packaged foods you eat and replacing them with fresh fruit and vegetables definitely helps with those menopausal signs. Guaranteed.

Read Part 1 on how sugar works in the body here
Part 2 for how getting rid of sugar from you diet will improve your life.



Jennifer is a certified integrative health coach with a specialty in 40+ women and hormone balance for weight loss. If you have questions email her here.



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