hunger fix 6-6lrIf you’ve been reaching for the cookie jar when you feel stressed, you might want to reconsider. Sugar and diabetes have been strongly linked in a recent study published in the journal PLoS One. Researchers studied the rate of diabetes in over 175 countries in the past decade, and found that increased sugar rates are correlated with higher rates of diabetes. The conclusion of the study: being overweight doesn’t cause diabetes—eating sugar does.

“The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s,” Mark Bittman, author of Food, stated in his NY Times online column, The Opinionator.

And as Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to Bittman, “You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”

So where does this leave the average woman, who is struggling to ignore the hundreds of cues to eat sugar that bombard us as we watch TV, shop for groceries and even while we work on our computers. Not to mention trying to protect her children from the constant urge to eat sugar in all its pretty shapes and colors.

Recently I had the good fortune of interviewing Pam Peeke, M.D., a nutritionist, NIH researcher and best-selling author of The Hunger Fix and other books. She says that the main way to fight food addiction and sugar cravings is to power up your pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain that reins in addiction’s three I’s: impatience, irritability, and impulsivity. Dr. Peeke says, “NIH’s Dr. Volkow also refers to the PFC as the ‘brain’s brake’ because it helps us say ‘no’ when we need to and maintains vigilance to keep us on track with healthy lifestyle choices.”

Dr. Peeke herself started practicing the TM technique when she read the research presented in Dr. Norman Rosenthal’s book Transcendence. Later she conducted her own research study on food addiction and TM.  “In my study, the TM group found it much easier to say ‘no’ when confronted with cues. Indeed, what they found was that the bliss, 
the calm, the peace became the reward. It became a healthy fix.”

Additional research studies, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and other journals, show that regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces the risk of diabetes.

So to help yourself and your kids “just say no” to sugar, your daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique could be just what the doctor ordered.

Linda Egenes is a health writer, blogger and author of six books, including Super Healthy Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, M.D.

(I originally wrote this post for Transcendental Meditation for Women Blog, June 1 2013. Reprinted with permission.)

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