The holiday season is upon us.
Are your sugar cravings up?
The holidays are a great excuse
for indulging yourself in sweats
and other pleasurable pastimes.
I always think so anyway. But
of course, sugar is just as deadly
to your neural networks during the
holidays as it is on your birthday
(unless your birthday falls on the
holidays. Then it is deadlier).
In most cases sugar cravings are
not eating disorders but rather a signal
of hormonal imbalances. If you regularly
answer the body’s call for more sugar,
your symptoms will worsen and you will
feel increasingly lousy.
Let me be clear about the logic here.
- Sugar cravings are triggered by hormonal
- The symptoms of Parkinson’s are triggered
by hormonal imbalances.
- There is very likely a connection between
the intensity of your cravings for sugar and
the severity of your symptoms.
Sugar cravings suggest that the signaling
system in the body has been short circuited.
When we are tired or depressed — sounds
like the holidays, eh? — our blood sugar
and serotonin levels are too low.
Serotonin is the perfect quick fix for
feeling warm and cozy again. The body
lets us know it needs an immediate
serotonin boast. Sugars and carbohydrates
are the perfect quick fix. They release a
brief burst of serotonin.
Unfortunately, the burst of euphoria is
short lived. Sugar cravings always return.
We eat more sweets to get a serotonin hit.
Remember, this is a sure bet to fix the
problem of being down in the dumps.
Over time, larger doses of sugar are needed
to sustain a tolerable level of serotonin
in the body. It is a downward slope headed
for the valley of depression, disease and
Why does this happen? The body begins to
produce more and more insulin in response
to the artificially high level of sugar
that is mainlined into the body from the
sweet cravings. As levels of insulin
rise, the body’s resistance to the effects
of insulin increases.
A vicious cycle is born. Increased insulin
resistance causes insulin levels to rise
higher and higher which in turn trigger
stronger and more frequent cravings for
Another cause of sweet cravings is adrenal
fatigue which is created by sustained levels
of stress and trauma. Most people with the
symptoms of Parkinson’s have adrenal fatigue.
For some it is a chronic condition. Adrenal
fatigue also signals to the body that it
needs a sugar hit.
I suspect that anyone with the symptoms of
Parkinson’s is especially susceptible to the
seductiveness of sugar and the attraction of
sweets during the holidays.
So you say, so what? What in the world do
I do about it? I have the answer, really.
Sugar cravings are a tough addition
to break. It is not a question of
exerting will over desire. It is a
problem rooted in hormonal imbalances
in the body The solution involves
bringing the body back into balance.
Before I say more, I must first eat my
pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
After all, it is the holidays. Check in
tomorrow for the answer since I
already know I will be too tired
and depressed after eating my pie
to write the second part of this article.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
© 2008 Parkinsons Recovery