Are you a sugar addict? I am. In 2005 I vowed to quit and began blogging about life without sweets. This site contains a forum, my journal, product reviews, Sugar-Free Challenges, and the self-published Stop Being Sweet ebook.

Oreos as Addictive as Drugs?

OREO Package

A recent research project by faculty and students at Connecticut College has suggested that Oreo cookies are as addictive as cocaine. Their findings showed that rats formed an equally strong association between the pleasurable effects of eating Oreos as they did between cocaine or morphine in a specific environment.

In response, comedian Conan O’Brien aired the following spoof:

If I had to choose between Oreo cookies or cocaine, I’m with the rats. I’d choose the Oreos (and have many, many times). Does that mean I am addicted? There are many substances and activities that light up the brain’s pleasure center; does that make all of them addictive?

Scientists and skeptics have attacked the Connecticut College study (via blogs posts and comments on news articles) to label the experiment “junk science.” If you read the details of the experiment, you’ll probably agree.

What I find most interesting about this study is not the findings or the methodology but instead the reaction of the public when they hear the accusation that something as sweet and innocent as Oreos could be addictive. Jokesters used the opportunity to make a pun (as Conan did), commenters exclaimed, “Correlation does not equal causation,” and libertarians argued that we’re not taking responsibility for ourselves if we blame the substance—especially something as innocent as Oreos.

We all know that giving children a bag of cookies and giving them a bag of cocaine are very different things. However, anyone who identifies as being addicted to sugar knows how powerful the draw to sweet junk food can be. It doesn’t matter if it’s Oreos, Girl Scout Cookies, Chips Ahoy, gambling, sex, food, or drugs. Those who struggle with addictive behaviors are really suffering. Addiction lives in the body of the addict and it’s not fun.

In the end, the “Is sugar addictive?” debate rages on while Nabisco gets some free advertising and a slightly edgy take on a very kid-centric food.

Woman to Hand Out Letters Saying “Your Kid is Too Obese for Candy”

UPDATE Nov. 2, 2013: Looks like this was a hoax.

Have you heard? A woman in Fargo, ND plans on handing out letters that basically say, “You’re too obese,” to certain children on Halloween.

Halloween Letter
Alleged letter to be distributed to kids for their parents to read.

She said the letters will be sealed in an envelope and labeled for the parents to read. If true, she’s perpetuating the myth that larger people are incapable of being healthy. All the hypoglycemic and diabetic skinny kids will get candy while the bigger kids will be marginalized. Is she for realz?

I first heard about this via Facebook and clicked a link to read about it on the TODAY show. However, my PR radar went off when I heard this story. Who is this woman? Why is she on the news BEFORE Halloween? 

Curious, I traced the TODAY show’s “According to reports” link to Valley News Live, which says the woman, named Cheryl, called in during a Y94 radio show on the morning of Oct. 29. Apparently Cheryl emailed a copy of the letter to the radio station after her call and they went public with it.

The story has been posted on CBS, ABC, Florida Today, and a many other news outlets. It is the kind of story that news networks love because it raises people’s hackles, thus inspiring them to comment and talk.

FOX news picked up the story from the Y94 Morning Playhouse. According to FOX, Corey Schaffer—one of the radio hosts—wants to follow up with Cheryl on Friday, November 1st to see if she went through with her plot.

I’m not the only one to think this might be a hoax. INFORUM, the forum of Fargo-Moorehead, reported that the letter is likely a fake but notes that it has already generated a nationwide buzz, which is true.

Yes, I am hinting that this is PR stunt orchestrated by a candy company. Halloween is a billion dollar industry. Daylight savings time got pushed forward a week by the candy companies so that kids could safely walk the streets. That’s one heck of a trick that makes for selling lots of treats!

It’s very possible this little story will become Halloween folklore along with not trusting any treat that didn’t come individually sealed by a trusted candy company for fear of finding razor blades in your child’s goodies.

Stop Being Sweet Turns 8!

Happy Halloween!

I started Stop Being Sweet eight years ago and what a trip it’s been!

If you’re new to my blog, I only eat sweets 4 days out of every year. I start today, on Halloween, and keep going until November 3rd, which is my birthday. Initially I thought I’d do this just for one year, but it worked so well that it seemed logical to continue and now eight years have gone by.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that, “Sugar is like Jr. High School. The further you get from it, the easier it is to forget all about it.” Sure I’ve slipped up several times, but I just got back on track

Truthfully, when I began Stop Being Sweet, it was kind of a joke. I wasn’t interesting in becoming a health guru (but still felt a kind of magic when I registered the domain name). The greatest unexpected result of writing this blog is that I’ve come in contact with people from all over the world who also struggle with sugar addiction. Basically, I realized I’m not alone.

Your encouragement, support, and requests for help have kept me working to give back and help others. In 2014 I will be rolling out new services which include meetings, an updated book, and online coaching.

So, I’m eating sweets today and for the next three days as I have every year since 2005. This year I’ve got a few places I want to visit including Voodoo Doughnuts and Salt and Straw ice cream to see what all the fuss is about.

October 30, 2013: Almost There

I walked into Whole Foods tonight. Realizing that I will eat sweets over the next few days, I wandered into the bakery section of the store. That area was completely new to me. The assortment of breads, pastries, cookies, and cakes was astonishing. How people manage to not spend their entire paycheck in there every single day is beyond me.

With a sweet-eating-grin on my face, I walked past the candy aisle where some guy looked at me as if I was a crazy person who needed to be avoided. My beard and my hoodie does that sometimes, but usually on dark streets late at night. I took my menacing appearance and left without buying anything. It’s a Stop Being Sweet rule to never go food shopping while hungry—especially when entering my Four Days of Sweetness!

Infographic: Fast Food Advertising Aimed at Kids (Works!)

Apparently McDonalds and Burger King are in a heated competition to embed positive feelings in children, thus turning them into life-long customers. McDonalds won me over when I was a kid, and my father before me. Where and what will you teach your kids to eat?

Fast Food Ads Targeting Kids

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About David

After a weekend-long sugar binge in 2003, I realized my problem was very real. It took some time but I finally figured out a way to stay off sweet junk food for good! Read more.

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Don’t quit sugar. Stop Being Sweet instead! Questions? Please ask.