You are invited to read excerpts from the upcoming book, thoughtWARE by Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht, Program Designer for Sarasota Medical & Sports Hypnosis & Joseph Bohorquez, M.D. The book is a composite of powerful Interactive Self-Hypnosis Imagery & Imaginology designed for Optimum Health & Performance

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Sugar Addiction Epidemic - Who's Killing the Kids?

Back on the soap box !

I just received an email from a teacher in California. Here's a snip. While I'm sure it won't surprise you, the crux of the matter is just that. Few of us are surprised, yet little to nothing happens. My question throughout the years has been "Why?"

I have taught bunches of kids for decades. I've been totally fed up with the amount of sugar the school district puts in their food. Yesterday's breakfast was waffles (with sugar in them), syrup, a pale hot dog, milk (not chocolate, thank goodness), and reconstituted orange juice. Today's breakfast was a bun the size of two hamburger buns, made of white flour and lots of sugar, further sweetened with a coating of sugar over the whole thing; milk; reconstituted orange juice ~ nothing else. Every breakfast every day is made of basically white flour and sugar, with processed meat sometimes. How can the kids expect a healthy life with such an insane start?

I'm been researching & clinically working in the field of sugar addiction management for the past two decades. As a nurse & clinical hypnotherapist, I'm acutely aware of the tremendous problems facing our nation & the industrialized world. Every single day I treat clients who are seriously addicted to sugar, many of whom are already too far gone for prevention, being already in the acute disease phase. These clients include children & adults alike, all of them sick & if they don't change, they are going to get a lot sicker.

The need to manage sugar in our society is vital. The health problems related to sugar addiction and poor lifestyle behaviors are much more complicated than they appear on the surface. The numbers are startling & yet, I've not been able to interest publishers in my book as they don't see a market for it. This is both interesting & frustrating. Yes, there are some days when I simply feel like screaming out loud.

We are a nation of people in deep trouble. Our lifestyle behaviors are taking us swiftly down the road towards the killer diseases with many people arriving long before they should. Stress related problems fill the doctor’s office while emptying the business office of healthy and creative employees.

Everyone pays the piper for this from employer to employee and the family unit as well. Stress-related disease could be called the no-name disease, for rarely does it have a specific diagnosis. Most patients are simply told to change their lifestyle behaviors or they will become sicker. But here is the irony. The behaviors that need to be changed are often those utilized to manage stress such as sugar, food, alcohol, smoking and drugs. So how does the patient change the behavior, manage the stress while keeping these changes in place permanently, or at least long enough to have it become a solidified habit.

The number of people addicted to some substance is beyond belief. However, it is only the top of the iceberg. What’s below is even more frightening as few people pay attention to their lifestyle behaviors until a crisis presents itself. Addictions are dangerous outside of themselves as they lead to killer diseases. Lives are changed and lost simply because of lack of self-responsibility and self-care. The question is how to help people wake up and change before it’s too late and the cost too great.

The large majority of people spend the day sleep-walking. They are simply not awake to observe their lifestyle habits nor the corresponding emotions that build killer stress in the body. The things I'm addressing here can and will only be found through a very special type of inner-looking & self-appraisal.

My work is to help individuals get on the merry-go-round of life somewhere & focusing on the nutritional intake is one of the best. Truth be known, we are a nation lost in a wide variety of eating disorders. Most people are not even aware of the seriousness of their individual situations. Even people who think they eat well are often making very serious mistakes that are taking them down some very dangerous roads, simply because they don’t understand the needs of their body as dictated by their family and personal medical history.

Sugar addiction & the multi-syndromes of poor nutrition are true illnesses & accelerate the killer disease diagnoses. They are also responsible for many other problems, physical symptoms, stress including sleep disorder, anxiety & depression, decreased cognitive function, lack of productivity and creativity.

These problems actually keep people from eating correctly and they can be found under every addiction. They rob the quality of life. To make matters worse poor nutritional choices & behaviors are everywhere and like wallpaper, blend into the scenery of life.

Sugar and food addiction is simply accepted as the American way of eating and drinking. Our people are plagued by poor choices, huge portions & even the fear of eating. People binge & starve. They purge. They want to thin & perfect. Few talk about being healthy. Heads are buried in the sand, secretly hoping that the body will forgive & forget all the indiscretions. Unfortunately that is fantasy living &statistics highlight this outrageous human error.

Here in this blog-workshop I'm looking at sugar & the multi-syndromes of poor eating, but perhaps even more important, how the individual body responds to the behavior. Most readers will be familiar with how their body feels when they eat sugar or follow a less than healthy eating plan. Unfortunately, seeing the problem usually isn’t enough because most people are fearful of change for many reasons. Sugar is often a stress-releaser food & many have tried & failed in the past, becoming more stressed in the process. Managing the fears around stress is paramount to success of any eating disorder, be it mild or major.

Keep in mind that minor eating disorders can have very negative outcomes as well. Those who never tame them will pay the price in the future because the body remembers & is keeping score.. Even in an educated society, few understand the depth of the problem, nor how to manage without it. There are some people who question whether or not there is a need to manage it, preferring to see it as just a small problem sitting in a sea of bigger & more important health problems. I am working daily in my writing, with my clients & my online groups to open their eyes to what they are doing to their mind & body each and every day. My job is to teach them new ways to release the fears surrounding the management of their stress.

Throughout my research I have interviewed a few thousand people and less than 2% have any knowledge of how their family and personal medical history play a role in the way they make food choices and manage stress.

It is clear that sugar and certain carbohydrate foods react differently in each individual. The reaction also has a tendency to change at different times of life, depending on the lifestyle behaviors of the individual & where they are “hormone-wise.” Stress also plays a big part in how one responds to the food or beverage choice. Individuals need special education so they will come to understand that if a family medical history is positive for reacting to sugar, the early child eating habits do take a toll in the present, as well as in the future of that child.

My clients & readers become familiar with other known medical indicators as well. The addictions history of the individual, as well as that of the family will alter the body and mind reactions to sugar. If the family medical history is positive for alcoholism, smoking, drugs, or other substances that particular individual will have a tendency towards over-reacting to sugar & high glycemic carbohydrates. To wit, if the family medical history is positive for diseases that hyper-react to sugar, the tendency towards what is called “sugar addiction” is very high. The same holds true for the addictions component, and if both medical indicators are present, there is a very high tendency towards this major problem.

Few people have high level awareness concerning their food intake, many not even remembering what they consumed over the last twenty-four hours. This is incredible, as food reacts as a drug in the body & mind. Most people tend to laugh at poor eating habits as if they had no dire outcomes. Connections to other addictions, uncontrollable moods, low productivity, accidents and the like are missed completely as if there was no connection at all to what was put in the mouths and how often. As a nation, we seem blinded to the fact that we are speeding down life's highway, giant slurpy in hand, straight into the arms of killer diseases.

Several books have been published in recent years addressing the sugar and high glycemic carbohydrate issue, a few even becoming bestsellers. This tells us that millions of people are very concerned about their health in relation to what they eat. While many readers have gone on to experience some level of food-management success, just as many have failed, the reason being that while the problem appears to be about food, it is actually about the complex issue of lifestyle change. This awareness helps us to understand why the problems still exist in our society.

Unraveling Sugar Addiction

I'm preparing for another large Sugar Addiction Workshop. I invite you to follow along as I prepare the presentation. This also follows my book, Sugar....the Hidden Eating Disorder & How to Lick It. Still looking for a mainstream publisher.

The workshop & book are both didactic & experiential.


By definition, sugar addiction is an eating disorder, having both physiological and psychological facets. Interactive Awareness and Interactive Self-Hypnosis, two powerful mind and body tools, can help you understand concepts that might be confusing.

Most of us wouldn’t raise our hands for an in-depth discussion of genetics, but there are some things you do need to know. When discussing sugar addiction, the family medical history is very important. We all begin life with what we will call a “genetic wallpaper” that needs to be cared for. Certain diseases in the family history form wallpaper that has a tendency towards sugar addiction. Our nutritional intake, as well as how we manage stress and other lifestyle behaviors affect the “genetic wallpaper”, often leading to eating disorders and other chronic problems. Here in this workshop that follows my book, we will explore the connections, helping you to view your wallpaper and teaching you how to care for it.

Over the years I've interviewed hundreds of people who are sugar addicted. While the idea of "getting in control' is inviting, few seem willing to effort or struggle for long. Once life's stressors begin mounting, new lifestyle changes are quickly thrown out the window in exchange for the more comfortable immediate gratification. Newbie changes are buried along with the other diet books, gym membership cards and unsuccessful plans for self-improvement. The failure cycle is enhanced one more time. If this rings true for you, this work can change your course.

KNOWLEDGE HOOK - Sugar and Medical Issues

Here are some additional motivators for you. There is no question that as a society we eat far too much sugar, but that is only one part of the problem. We are a sleep-walking society. Few of us pay attention to what we eat, drink or to how we manage stress. Statistics prove this out. The health problems related to sugar addiction and poor lifestyle behaviors are much more complicated than they appear on the surface. The numbers are startling.

While not all sugar-addicted individuals are overweight, many are or will be if they continue to live their lives without correction. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that obesity rates for Americans rose a staggering 57% between 1991 and 1999, triggering a 6 percent increase in the incidence of diabetes. In actual numbers there are 15.7 million people diagnosed with diabetes in this country and another 5.4 million people are not aware they have this disease.

These figures do not take into account those people who are pre-diabetic or experiencing the symptoms of sugar addiction.
Diabetes risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 61,800,000 Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease and about 1 in 5 deaths is attributable to smoking. In addition, about 40,000 non-smokers die from cardiovascular disease each year as a result of exposure to environmental smoke. Cardiovascular disease risk factors include hypertension, smoking, high blood cholesterol, obesity and diabetes. Is this sounding familiar?

What is particularly alarming about these statistics is the growing number of children who are overweight and out of shape -- 5.3 million, or 12.5 percent, of Americans between 6 and 17 -- and the frightening health implications behind these numbers. Obesity in childhood can lead to the development of a host of medical problems, including elevated cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory infections and sleep apnea.

Researchers report that impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, conditions that are precursors to type 2 diabetes, are highly prevalent in children and adolescents who are obese. As a result, Type-2 Diabetes once considered an "adults-only" disease, is appearing in children and teens in epidemic proportions. It's important to note here that only those who were obese were tested and studies need to done that include all children with poor nutritional intake.

An alarming statistic is that 50,000,000 Americans age 6 and over have high blood pressure. Age 6? This is very frightening and is good cause to wake up and take the bag off your head. This is a dangerous sleeping giant who is slowly awakening. Disease prevention and lifestyle management must be part of elementary schooling and taken up through all the years of formal education.

Statistics should be viewed as flags indicating where change is needed. While most would agree with the lifestyle changes suggested by every major health organization and the government, the question remains as to why people don't change and what has to happen for them to do so.

KNOWLEDGE HOOK - Sugar and Addictive Issues

Here are some additional negative motivators. Only recently has sugar addiction or reactive hypoglycemia been recognized as "the shadow" behind many common problems and diagnoses.
In American we have over 11 million alcoholics. Studies found that almost 7 million persons aged 12 to 20 (under the legal drinking age) was a binge drinker. Alcohol is sugar and is closely connected to reactive hypoglycemia. One doesn't have to look far for poor nutritional patterns in addictive individuals. It simply sings out, asking to be noticed.


Once again the question is asked as to why people don't change. The question appears simple, but the answer is much more complex. It includes lack of special education, not just advertising. People need to be able to experience outcomes before the fact, as well as be taught tools for managing their outer and inner selves. As you continue through the workshop & book, you will learn many of these.

KNOWLEDGE HOOK - Sugar and Emotional Issues

More statistics! More motivators! More flags.... over 36 million people are depressed. This emotional problem is predicted to be the leading occupational disease of the 21st century, responsible for more days lost than any other single factor. In addition, over 100 million Americans suffer with headaches and another 50 million with sleep problems are often suffering with a body chemistry problem that can be improved and even corrected by taking in the proper foods and caring for the self, the tools for which are presented in this workshop & book.

One of the most unappreciated stressors is food stress , usually seen as sugar addiction and poor nutritional intake. It is a major player both in and out of the workplace and cost is extremely high to both employer and employee. Stress is both additive and cumulative in its negative effects on individuals, organizations and societies. Workplace stress continues to grow. In the U.S., experts at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are dedicated to studying stress.

Stress is linked to physical and mental health, as well as decreased willingness to take on new and creative endeavors. Job burnout experienced by 25% to 40% of U.S. workers is blamed on stress. More than ever before, employee stress is being recognized as a major drain on corporate productivity and competitiveness. $300 billion, or $7,500 per employee, is spent annually in the U.S. on stress-related compensation claims, reduced productivity, absenteeism, health insurance costs, direct medical expenses (nearly 50% higher for workers who report stress), and employee turnover.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Statistics from a recent global stress research study show that increased stress is felt worldwide, and stress affects women differently than men:
A recent Roper Starch Worldwide survey of 30,000 people between the ages of 13 and 65 in 30 countries showed that women who work full-time and have children under the age of 13 report the greatest stress worldwide. In addition, nearly one in four mothers who work full-time and have children under 13 feel stress almost every day. Globally, 23% of women executives and professionals, and 19% of their male peers, say they feel "super-stressed".

KNOWLEDGE HOOK - Sugar and Cognitive Functioning
We can also find sugar addiction rearing it's head in the area of cognitive functioning, including memory, focus, concentration, mental flexibility and levels of creativity. It is not uncommon for a golfer or tennis player to have a focus issue and find it related to poor nutritional intake, often sugar addiction. Another vivid example is a student having test anxiety with memory recall problems. Sugar addiction and under-nutrition are usually screaming out for attention.

ADD/ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavior disorder today. Experts believe that more than two million (3 to 5 %) children have attention deficit disorder. The core symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, are exhibited. In addition, ADD/ADHD children also experience social and academic difficulties. Children with the disorder are handed a psychiatric label, a drug prescription and a discouraging diagnosis that travels into adulthood. According to statistics supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act, 3-10% of the U.S. population have ADHD symptoms. Dr. Mary Ann Block, a specialist in ADHD states, "I've determined that diet is one of the most significant factors behind ADHD symptoms. It's what people eat or don't eat that creates the degrees of the disorder.