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Dr. Oz unveils diet to kick sugar addiction, boost weight loss: Sugar is a drug

Learn how to give up sugar.
Learn how to give up sugar.
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From Halloween candy to birthday cakes to that morning doughnut that helps you survive the work day, sugar has become a ubiquitous substance in our lives. But according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, sugar also is linked to conditions ranging from cancer to diabetes to obesity. Dr. Oz revealed the new diet that helps you overcome sugar addiction while boosting weight loss on his Monday show.

Dr. Oz highlighted the ways in which sugar can destroy your health. His guest expert to help you understand the dangers of the white stuff and ways to kick the sweet habit: Dr. Nicole Avena, author of "Why Diets Fail (Because You're Addicted to Sugar): Science Explains How to End Cravings, Lose Weight, and Get Healthy." Dr. Avena says that eliminating sugar from your diet can curb cravings and help you shed pounds and keep them off.

So what's the skinny on sugar addiction? Is it real? Yes, says Dr. Oz, citing studies that indicate sugar's addictive qualities are even worse than cocaine. Because consuming foods with sugar triggers your brain's addiction centers, giving it up can result in cravings and even withdrawal symptoms. As a result, sugar is a drug, agree Dr. Oz and Dr. Avena.

Kicking the habit involves the following steps, advises Dr. Avena:

  • Go cold turkey. Trying to eat smaller amounts doesn't work.
  • Prepare for the first few days, when you might experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression or feeling cranky.
  • Recognize emotional connections that you have with sugar to determine ways to break your mind's link between feelings and sugary foods. For example, if your mother always made cookies when you were sad, you might view cookies as a way to cheer up.

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