I’m an Addict part 2

Hi, I’m Bera, I’m an Addict

By Dr. Bera Dordoni, N.D.

I’ve never attended AA or NA. Does anyone know where an SA group meets? If not, I’m thinking I might have to create my own group for sugar addicts who want to give up their sugar addiction and replace it with something more healthful.

When I was in grade school (oh so many years ago!), Attention Deficit Disorder was alive and well and raging through me. I spent my days dreaming of the moment the school bell would ring so I could race to the roach coach and buy some candy to inhale. A chocolate addict, indeed. But I was really addicted to sugar… preferably covered with chocolate.


Move forward a few years … As a young-adult nightclub singer, I consumed over a half gallon of ice cream and several coffees loaded with cream and sugar daily—until that fateful day when my bad eating habits landed me in the hospital with an almost fatal case of pneumonia.


Sugar had weakened my immune system to an all-time low.


Since I was the party responsible for nearly killing myself with sugar, I thought a little education was in order to avoid doing the same thing again. That’s how many holistic practitioners get their start—they survive an illness through natural means and are so impressed they have to return to school to help others as they were helped.


Here’s just a little bit of what I learned about sugar.


  • In the 1970s, studies on the harmfulness of fats made people start replacing fats with sugars. This, in turn, caused metabolic diseases to skyrocket, because sugar converted to fat boosts LDL cholesterol.


Harvard Professor Louis Cantley says sugar can cause sudden insulin spikes, which in term can act as a catalyst in fueling certain types of cancers.


  • Breast and colon cancers, for example, have insulin receptors that signal tumors to start consuming glucose, thus feeding those tumors. Cancer lives on sugar!


  • Sugar releases dopamine in the brain the same way cocaine does—no wonder it’s so addictive! When we drink sodas or eat highly processed sugary foods, our bodies react just like a drug addict’s would, because sugar is a drug. And just like with other drugs, our bodies build up a tolerance for it, so we’re always craving more and more and more.


  • Endocrinologist Robert Lustig, M.D. at University of California, San Francisco calls sugar a toxin. In the YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” he recommends men take in no more than 150 calories and women take in no more than 100 calories per day from what he calls “added sugars” – table sugar and processed food with hidden sugars. He believes sugar can be traced to heart disease, obesity, hypertension, type II diabetes, cancer, and/or strokes.


  • High-fructose corn syrup has the same negative effects as refined white sugar. While fructose is safe when its fiber is intact—when you eat the whole fruit—simple fructose without fiber activates the enzyme fructokinase, which in turn activates another enzyme that causes cells to accumulate fat. Yup—it’s the sugar that’s making us fat. Simple sugars set off a cascade of chemical reactions in the body that keep us hungry and craving sweets.


  • The average person consumes 130 pounds of sugar every year, often unwittingly. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a featured contributor to 60 Minutes, believes the amount of sugar the average American eats is equivalent to consuming straight toxins.


  • In a study, individuals who do not normally consume the average amount of sugar were found to have elevated blood levels of LDL cholesterol within two weeks of consuming typical American ‘sugary’ foods. When the liver overloads it converts the sugars to fats, which become plaque and causes heart attacks.

Are Artificial Sweeteners the Answer?

Absolutely not. Research shows these sweeteners are not only not a healthful alternative to sugar; they can stimulate our appetite, increase our cravings for carbs, helping us create fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas are now known to double our risk of obesity!

Why? Our bodies aren’t dumb!

The body knows when it’s being deprived of the calories sugar provides and being fed the empty calories of chemical or food-like substances. The body responds to deprivation by storing fat for survival. Furthermore, aspartame-type sweeteners (NutraSweet®, Equal®, Splenda®, etc.) are not only suspected of being carcinogenic, they account for more adverse-reaction reports than all other foods and food additives combined, including kidney problems, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders. Splenda®, specifically, which wreaks havoc with the healthful bacteria in the gut, has been linked with migraines, muscle spasms, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, weight gain, insomnia, seizures, slurred speech, vision problems, hearing loss, memory loss, nausea, irritability, depression, joint pain, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and much more.

More? Do we need more?! Well, we’ve got more!

  • Recent research suggests diet sodas may increase the risk of stroke.


  • Researchers studying aspartame have found links to brain tumors, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lymphoma, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and more.


  • Authors James and Phyllis Balch list aspartame in the “chemical poison” category in their book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing.


  • Research published in the 2008 Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health notes that Splenda® reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent, increases the pH level in the intestines, and affects a glycoprotein in the body that can have crucial health effects, particularly in combination with certain medications, causing drug-rejection in chemotherapy, AIDS treatments, and heart-condition treatments.

What are the Healthful Alternatives to Sugar?

Xylitol, a polyol sweetener made from birch trees, tastes very similar to sugar and has no aftertaste. Xylitol is a boon for diabetics, because it does not require insulin to metabolize it, so it produces a lower glycemic response than sucrose or glucose. It’s widely used in some countries for diabetic diets, but consult a doctor or health professional before incorporating it into yours—and don’t share it with your dog. It can be as deadly as chocolate for your canine companion.

Stevia, a very sweet herb derived from South American stevia plant leaves is completely safe in its natural form and can be used to sweeten most dishes and drinks.

Lo han (or luo han guo), an African sweet herb similar to Stevia, is a bit more expensive and harder to find.

Agave syrup tastes great in its raw, organic form. Avoid the processed syrup, because it is very high in fructose.

Honey in its raw, unfiltered, natural form has many health benefits when used in moderation. When processed, it, too, becomes high in fructose and is no better than sugar. The word ‘pure’ means processed, so don’t go looking for ‘pure honey.’ All the nutrients are in raw honey.

Grade B maple syrup and blackstrap molasses contain many good-health minerals when used in moderation.

Ok… I admitted it – I’m an addict – I’ve always loved sugary foods. But I don’t want to be a statistic like the 172,900 New Mexicans who have been diagnosed with diabetes. According to the state Department of Health-Diabetes Prevention Control Program, 15.1 percent of them reside right here in McKinley County.

I’m staying in control of my addiction.

I never walk down the middle aisles in grocery stores that have nothing but refined foods high in sugars. If I want something sweet, other than watermelon or other whole fruit with its fiber intact, I satisfy my craving with a healthful, satisfying fat, such as an avocado, a few olives, coconut oil, or raw pecans or almonds. Or I make something I know won’t harm me as much as the highly processed, addictive candy bars that called to me when I was a kid.

My favorite not-so-bad-for-you vice is kale chips. They’re delicious, high in fiber and many beneficial nutrients, low in sugar, easy to make… (and kids like ‘em, too)!

Kale Chips

1 bunch fresh kale
1 tbsp. Grade B maple syrup
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Wash kale and cut out center stem.

Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Rub with the maple syrup, sesame oil and sesame seeds.

Bake in sunlight under a screen for several hours or in oven on lowest heat possible until crunchy.



Dr. Bera Dordoni, N.D., lovingly referred to as the “Wellness Whisperer,” is author of the highly acclaimed book “I Have a Choice?!”, nutritional counselor, and a naturopathic doctor who has over two decades of experience counseling clients with ailments ranging from allergies to cancer to numerous life-threatening dis-eases. She incorporates the laws of attraction to help her clients accomplish their health goals and now holds workshops, wellness retreats and natural health classes in the Ramah area. To request a consultation or learn more, visit www.bastis.org or call 505-783-9001.