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Detox diets battle addiction: 'Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine'

Flour, sugar and fat: Oh yum.
Flour, sugar and fat: Oh yum.
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A bowl of sweetened cereal at breakfast, a muffin in the mid-morning, a candy bar in the mid-afternoon and a bowl of ice cream while you're watching TV at night: We're a nation addicted to sugar and flour, says Dr. Mark Hyman. And it's taking its toll on our health, from obesity to diabetes. Dr. Hyman explained the diet he's devised to help you detox from those addictions to boost your health and weight loss in a Feb. 11 interview with the New York Daily News.

"Some animal studies show that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine," warns Dr. Mark Hyman. He's studied the impact of sugar on our bodies for two decades, including what works for kicking the habit. Now Dr. Hyman has compiled his research and knowledge into a new book: "The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body's Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast" (click for details).

"Sugar is the new nicotine," proclaims Dr. Hyman. And for those who condemn saturated fat, he adds: "Fat is not addictive in the way that sugar is. And worse, sugar actually causes diabetes and obesity."

Dr. Hyman blames processed foods for our national addiction, because they contain hidden sugar and flour.

People can’t manage their behavior and their eating because their taste buds and their biology have all been hijacked by processed, hyper-palatable, high glucose, high sugar foods that drive their hormones and neurotransmitters to make them eat more.

We’re consuming pharmacological doses of sugar and flour never before seen in the history of the human race. We’re consuming on average 146 pounds of flour and 152 pounds of sugar every year. That is a lot.

So what's the solution to this "hijacking" of our tastebuds? Dr. Hyman contends that a complete detox is needed. And that's where his new “10-Day Detox Diet” comes in.

You'll learn how to eliminate sugar, flour as well as processed foods filled with additives and chemicals. In addition, Dr. Hyman emphasizes cutting out inflammatory items like gluten and dairy, to which which he says many people are allergic.

By following his prescription of regular exercise, clean foods, vitamin supplements and meditation, Dr. Hyman says you can dramatically boost both your health and weight loss.

Not only do people lose an average of 8 pounds and 2 inches off their waist, but their blood sugar drops, their blood pressure drops, their overall toxicity drops — it’s that dramatic.

Your energy goes up, your mood improves, your digestion gets better, your skin clears up, you sleep better, your joint pain goes away and the brain fog lifts.

And it doesn't take that long.

"I want people to realize that they are only a few days away from health and happiness if you eat real food,” says Dr. Hyman. “In just 10 days, they can see how persuasive the connection is between what you eat and how you feel."

However, not everyone agrees that a complete ban on sugar is needed. Health organizations offer the following recommendations:

  • The World Health Organization recommends that added sugars make up less than 10% of your total calories (less than 200 calories in a 2,000 calorie diet).
  • The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to less than 100 calories a day for most women and 150 for most men.

And on the Feb. 12 episode of "The Doctors," host Dr. Travis Stork featured a diet expert, Anne Alexander, who's created a plan designed to allow you to literally have your cake and lose weight too.

Referring to Anne's book, "The Sugar Smart Diet: Stop Cravings and Lose Weight While Still Enjoying the Sweets You Love," Dr. Stork emphasized that moderation, rather than cutting out sugar completely, can work for both health and weight loss.

"Any healthy relationship in life has balance," he declared. His view: "You can still have your relationship with sugar, but you first have to detox from it, so it's not running your life."

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