The Skinny on Sam – Junkie

The Skinny on Sam

One Client's Journey with Nutritious America

by Samantha Childs Comments4
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The Skinny on Sam

I am an addict with many vices: sleep, overeating, shopping, obsessing over boys, obsessing in general, and at times, possibly alcohol. Well, last weekend I realized that I had to admit that there was one more on the list.

Here are some clues:

  1. It’s most common form is as a white powder.
  2. It is more deadly than smoking cigarettes.
  3. In the 1300′s it was recognized as a potent drug and handled under lock and key by apothecaries.
  4. It’s original name, bestowed by the French, was crack.

You guessed it. I am addicted to sugar, the crack of the masses. I learned this from Julia Ross, a famous psychotherapist specializing in addiction, at a nutrition conference in Los Angeles held by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I got to go to this as the guest of Nutritious America!

Karen, Abra and Sam at Nutrition Mega Conference

Nutrition is fun! at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Mega Conference with Karen and Abra.

I had never thought of sugar this way before. I mean sure, it had progressed to the point where I was injecting it in between my toes, but was it really a drug? According to Julia Ross, yes. And not only that, it was a high calorie drug. (Double whammy.)

Here are the characteristics of a drug/addictive substance:

  1. Loss of control
  2. Continued use despite adverse consequences
  3. Withdrawal
  4. High relapse rate (with sugar it is 97%)
  5. Progressive and terminal

Sugar has all of these traits.

  1. People get a sugar rush or hyper from eating sugar.
  2. People continue to eat sugar even after their bodies and health have been negatively affected.
  3. Going off sugar causes cravings, irritability, headaches, etc.
  4. Only 3% effectively quit sugar.
  5. Diabetes, heart disease (the highest killer in the US), and cancer (the second highest killer in the US) are all caused by sugar.

Jesus. It really puts cinnamon and sugar toast in a new light. As a child my parents were feeding me cinnamon and crack toast for breakfast.

Julia Ross

"Julia Ross, nutritional psychotherapist and addiction specialist"

Julia Ross also said that sugar was not food. (And this includes starches, which turn into sugar in your mouth.) I’d never looked at it that way before. I figured that because it has calories, it is food. But my shoe has calories. I wouldn’t consider my shoe food. There are severely overweight people walking around who are suffering from malnutrition because of this. And therefore, on Monday night when during a bout of anxiety I had three ice cream sandwiches and two pieces of butter and cheese covered sourdough toast. I wasn’t really eating. I was getting my fix. I might as well have ground up the ice cream sandwiches and snorted them.

I am attempting to battle that addiction. I am going to try and go a week (I’m starting small) without refined sugar (I’m not giving up fruit) and starches. To be honest, I’m a little scared. I tried this a year ago while on a family trip to Asia, and while it definitely helped me lose weight, the first couple of days were hell. Definitely withdrawal. I remember the headaches and feeling as though I would kill someone for a cracker. But then, after those first few days, the headaches went away and the cravings subsided. I’m looking forward to getting to that point!

Cocaine or Sugar?

"If this has calories, would you call it a food?"

I learned much more at the conference from other speakers as well, but I’ll get to those in the future. The whole thing was so exciting and so interesting I found myself thinking about getting a degree in nutrition. I think my parents would kill me if I went for graduate degree number three. (And I can’t think of any job that would mix law, memoir writing, and nutrition…) But I did order some nutrition books- both written by people at the conference and others that have been recommended to me. I’m excited to learn more. Clearly I’m a school junkie. But if that gets me off the white powder, then that’s ok!

Samantha Childs
About Samantha Childs, Guest Contributor

Samantha Childs is currently writing her thesis for her MFA in Nonfiction Writing at New York's Columbia University and posting about weight loss on her blog, "The Skinny on Sam", every Thursday on

  • Alison

    just found this helpful checklist for anyone wondering how to actually get started cutting out refined sugar:

    thanks for the motivation, sam!!

  • Alison

    keep us posted on your progress! i’ve thought about doing this so many times, but i LOVE sugar! even in hidden foods like salad dressing and sauces. it just seems impossible so i’ve never tried, but hopefully you can be my inspiration :)

  • Karina

    I’ll try giving up sugar too! I think I’ll start with a day. Super interesting post!!

  • Cypress

    Okay Sam, now I am TOTALLY craving cinnamon sugar toast :-)