The Sugar Series – Part 3 of 3

addicted to sugar

Sugar is a very powerful drug. So is white flour, 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 edible food. However, once humans get their hands on it and process all goodness, 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. It explains how 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.

As a result, 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. What’s more, in terms of habitual consumption the draw is much harder to break.

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-sensitised 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 i.e. sucrose, fructose, were absent in the diets of most people in human history until recently. Today overconsumption of diets rich in sugars contributes – together with other factors – to the current obesity epidemic”.

sugar profits

It’s disturbing, isn’t it? And strange to think we can be addicted to something that’s so readily available. However, that’s the science, and that’s the reported facts. I guess it’s a bit like alcohol and cigarettes – although they’re addictive and bad for health they make a lot of money so they haven’t been outlawed.

2. Sugar Can Lead To Bone Weakness

Another thing that sugar can trigger is the release of calcium and magnesium distorting the ratios. So in order to balance it out the body will pull calcium from the teeth and bones. This is certainly not ideal when we are most prone to osteoporosis after menopause.

3. Ditching Sugar May Reverse Cancer(!)

According to, researchers found that interfering with the amount of sugar available to cancer cells helps reverse the disease. Indeed, they reported that preventing cancer cells from accessing sugar led to the cells returning to their normal, pre-cancerous state!

Bonus benefits 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

This is an 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.

In Conclusion

I personally don’t eat sugar much at all now. Occasionally I’ll have some, but mostly I choose not to. 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. What’s more, 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 realise 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.

Read Part 1 on how sugar works in the body here
Part 2 for how getting rid of sugar from your 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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This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.


Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.