Sugar addiction not so sweet


Health: Online event highlights health impacts of sugar

The results of consuming a high sugar diet aren’t so sweet, say the organizers of a week-long online summit raising awareness of sugar and food addiction.

The second annual Kick Sugar World Summit, organized by Okotoks Coun. Florence Christophers, runs from March 5 to 11 and includes more than 30 experts on sugar and its impact on health.

“This is as much as possible to spare people from heading down the path of a sugar-related disease,” she said.

Christophers is co-host of the summit along with former sugar addict Michael Collins. The pair interviewed more than 30 international experts on sugar and it’s connection with health, weight, depression and other areas. They all have a range of backgrounds including doctors, chefs, nutritionists and recovering sugar and food addicts.

The event will have a virtual summit format in which the presenters are shown in pre-recorded video interviews.

It is free to access, but pre-registration is required at After the summit, people can sign up for a $10 monthly membership for additional ways to interact and get more information.

Collins was a recovering drug and alcohol addict when he became addicted to sugar.

“I started gaining some weight, feeling a foggy brain and almost like hungover in the morning,” he said. “I was eating a lot, I was drinking a lot of soda – five or 10 cans a day.”

He realized he had a problem with sugar and food addiction and started to make changes in his life.

That was 20 years ago.

He saw several changes once he stopped eating sugar, from seeing his adult acne clear up to having improved moods.

“It was really a big difference, anxiety was a big thing and when I quit the sugar – not that it went away totally, everybody has a little anxiety – it was just not overwhelming anymore.”

Dr. Natasha Iyer, one of the event’s presenters, said sugar can be addictive.

“Sugar works on certain brain receptors and many people have addictive personalities and tendencies, but sugar is an acceptable addiction to have,” she said.

Iyer is a Calgary-based medical doctor who specializes in hormone balancing and weight loss.

She said sugar is driving high obesity rates, ADD and behavioural problems in children, diabetes, heart disease and the rising rate of early onset of dementia.

Sugar is practically everywhere. Iyer said sugar is added to most pre-packaged foods people consume.

“Even fruit juice is pure sugar; people think it’s healthy,” she said. “No, eat the fruit. The juice is just the concentrated sugars.”

Iyer said people should aim to keep sugar out of their diet.

When people consume sugar, insulin levels will spike causing sugar levels to drop, then driving a craving for more sugar. The result is a vicious circle.

“You eat something sweet and you want something sweet,” she said. “Its effects are a hormone called insulin and insulin takes sugar and stores it as fat. So, the more sugar you eat, the more fat you make. The more fat you make, the more insulin resistant you get. The more insulin resistant you get, the more fat you make.”

Iyer said sugar is a bigger health concern than fat and the idea that a low fat diet is bad for people is wrong.

“Sugar is the number-one health hazard around right now, more than bacon,” she said.


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