Sugar Addiction: It Doesn’t Exist, Psychologist Claims. Oh, Really?

Montclair State University psychologist Debra A. Zellner, Ph.D. told a group of reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., at a conference called "Understanding Sweetness," that research suggests people don’t actually become physiologically dependent on sweets.

So reports the allegedly not-addicted-to-Nutella editor Katherine Hobson, who tipped us off to this fascinating conference in U.S. News & World Report.

In fact, Hobson points out, Dr. Zellner argues that instead people condition themselves to crave certain treats under certain circumstances.

Oh really? People don’t get addicted to sweets and refined carbs?

Not according to experts I interviewed for my book SUGAR SHOCK! Sure, researchers may have shied away from the "addiction" word and preferred the term "dependency," but Princeton University and Laurentian University researchers, among others, found that rats deprived of sugar actually went through withdrawal symptoms.

In fact, I found so much data to dispute Dr. Zellner’s claim that I devoted an entire chapter to the subject, called "Proof Pours In: New Studies Show That You Can Become Dependent on Sweets."

Wait. This gets more interesting.

The conference was presented by a food think tank called Oldways.

Now get this: Oldways’ long list of sponsors include Dunkin’ Donuts and Frito Lay. No comment.

By the way, Hobson wrote a sidebar on 3 Ways to Beat Sweet Tooth Cravings, citing Dr. Zellner’s tips. (I agreed with the first two, but for many people, the latter tip won’t work — they’re just too hooked on the stuff. See my comment on the U.S. News & World Report blog.

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Connie Bennett is the bestselling author of Sugar Shock (Berkley Books) and Beyond Sugar Shock (Hay House), one or both of which have been praised by Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman and many others. Connie is now dedicated to discovering and sharing fast, super-simple, science-based secrets to Crush Your Cravings. (Her renewed interest in this topic began in late 2012, when she was walloped by Crazy Carb Cravings after losing her mother . She is now completing her next book, Crush Your Cravings On the Go™ and creating the companion Crush Your Cravings System.

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