SUGAR: Why Are You Addicted To It?

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Let’s be honest, we all know that sugar is detrimental to our health, and we’d surely feel better if we were to just break up with sugar and be done with it. But why is breaking up so hard to do? Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen discuss why our relationship with sugar is like dating the bad boy, and while it may make us feel good for a short amount of time, eventually it leaves us feeling terrible.


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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we've transformed lives for three decades using Brain SPECT Imaging to better target treatment in natural ways to heal the brain. For more information visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information visit Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We're talking about love from Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, another review we got. Food addiction, this is Elite Sucker. That's an interesting name, Elite Sucker. Food addiction can be very subtle. God bless you guys for this very informative video on food, depression and good nutrition. Well, you are welcome. I want to start this podcast with a story and do you remember when we started doing the Daniel Plan with Saddleback Church and-
Tana Amen: I do.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I gave a lecture on food and how to eat in order to serve your health, and the health of your family.
Tana Amen: It will fulfill your purpose.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And a couple weeks later, I had a woman, one of the pastor's wives come in my office and like I'm doing today, I'm drinking tea, 'cause I drink a lot of tea, and I'm drinking tea, getting to know her and she said, "Could you put the tea down?" And in my head, I'm like, that's weird. But you know I'm generally pretty compliant, right? I'm generally pretty compliant.
Tana Amen: You are.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so I put the tea down wondering what is going to happen next.
Tana Amen: So you're not, I'm suspicious, he's not-
Dr. Daniel Amen: "Why did you want me to do that?" She said, "I didn't want you to spit it at me." I'm thinking to myself, you know, I've never spit tea at anybody and she said, "When I heard you talk, on the way home from the lecture, I told my husband, I would rather get Alzheimer's disease than give up sugar." I'm like, it wasn't-
Tana Amen: We've heard a lot of weird things about people giving up sugar.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I wasn't going to spit the tea at her. I would not have done that, I promise. But my next comment to her was, "Did you date the bad boys in high school?" And she goes, "What do you mean?" I said, "Clearly, you have a bad relationship with sugar. That you're in love with something that's pro-inflammatory, that's addictive, that makes you stupid and fat. So you're in an abusive relationship with sugar." And she never thought about that and ultimately, she ended up breaking up with sugar.
Tana Amen: You always say it so much nicer than I do. I just look at people and I'm like, "Why would you like ... Why would you want to be with something that beats the hell out of you? It's just like beating the crap out of you." I just have never understood that. If someone did that to me, I would tear it apart. But you know, I'm a little different.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Have you ever been in a bad relationship?
Tana Amen: Oh yeah. When someone puts their hands on me, it's not a good thing. It's not a good thing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: What was that like?
Tana Amen: You know, sometimes it starts off subtly and it's insidious, right? And that's the problem with sugar, it's insidious. So you don't see it coming and that's where it's hard and by the time it happens, it's sometimes, you're like already in and you have to figure out how to get out of it, right? And that's where sugar is tricky. For me-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well no, let's stay with relationships for now because once you make love to someone else, they actually become to live in the pleasure centers of your brain. So once you get-
Tana Amen: And it's insidious.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Attached to other people, it's really hard to break even if they're abusive to you.
Tana Amen: Right but we all have different reactions. Now if someone puts their hands on me, it's like ... That's different. Some people just cower and they take it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, but you and I have both been ... We do the history of our relationships and got some bad relationships. Relationships that were clearly not good but we ended up staying way too long because you get attached, right? And thankfully, we're in the best relationship of our lives and we cherish it and protect it.
But I'm not gonna be in a bad relationship anymore. [crosstalk 00:05:31] and I'm damn sure not going to pay for it with food, right? And so I want you to think about your relationship with food, with products, in a loving way.
Tana Amen: So I was actually sort of making a point. So it's insidious, like the emotional abuse is insidious and that's what sugar does to you. It kinda makes you depressed. Before you realize it, it's actually infecting you emotionally, but for me, it's a physical, like when someone crosses over the line into physical abuse, it's a trigger for me. And that's a no go. Like one of us is going to get seriously hurt so it's like, that's a line you don't cross. And so it's like that feeling you just like, I don't see red, I feel red and it's gonna end right there. That's what sugar does. So the mental part of it, the emotional part of it's pretty insidious. You don't sort of see it coming at first.
But in the meantime, it's physically just beating the hell out of you. Why would you let someone do that to you? Anything, and sugar has no place occupying the same part of your brain. That when people say, "Oh my God, I love it so much, I can't give it up." Why would you let it occupy the same place in your brain that your child does or that someone you love occupies? That doesn't make sense to me. So that's for me when it was like clear. It was like, "Oh."
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so many people go, "I love bread, I love wine, I love sodas, I love fries, I love donuts," and they can't imagine their lives without those things, because they've allowed their pleasure centers to be hijacked by processed foods [crosstalk 00:07:20] that make other-
Tana Amen: And part of it was not their fault.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Correct.
Tana Amen: But now that you know.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And once you know, you can do better, know better, do better. When you're about to eat something, ask yourself, "Does this serve me or does it hurt me?" We're habitual creatures. The more you allow yourself to do something that's not good for you, the more you will do something that is not good for you. The more you do something that is good for you, the more you will want to do that. So you're building positive habitual tracks in your brain or you're building negative habitual tracks in your brain. I would go for the positive. Stay with us.
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