Binge Eating Sugar

"I feel so out of control when I eat."

Why can't I stop eating sugar?

Here is a quote taken from a 2014 molecular biology research journal, "Microbes in the gastrointestinal tract are under selective pressure to manipulate host eating behavior to increase their fitness, sometimes at the expense of host fitness. Microbes may do this through two potential strategies: (i) generating cravings for foods that they specialize on or foods that suppress their competitors, or (ii) inducing dysphoria until we eat foods that enhance their fitness."[1]

What this really means is...

  1. It is not your fault, you are not lacking in willpower to stay on a diet or skip eating a second and then third and fourth slice of cake.

  2. There are microbes in your digestive system that literally make you crave specific foods that will feed them, which makes their population grow and you cravings increase even more!

  3. You might feel like absolute SH*! if you try to "eat healthy" aka. starve these microbes, because they are hungry and they will let you know by putting you in a bad mood.

HELP! I can't stop eating sugar.

The feeling of binge eating can be really scary. You feel completely out of control, as if there is some kind of force beyond your mental control that is causing you to drive to Krispy Kreme at 10:40pm a order a half dozen donuts that you will painfully consume in your car and then throw the box out so that your partner doesn't find out because you are so ashamed of you lack of willpower.

Whats the worst part of this whole experience?

When you are binge eating sugar it doesn't even feel that pleasurable, its more of a NEED, it's an overwhelming requirement that causes you to eat and eat until you physically can't anymore.

Binge eating is a serious disorder, and recent research is starting to show that there is a strong connection between the gut and but if you have tried to address binge eating on your own and are still struggling then it may be time to find the WHY behind your binge eating.

I hate salad so I will be fat forever.

Good news, tastes can change. Research has shown that the bacteria in you body actually change the taste receptors. [1] So, when you talk to that friend who says "I'm craving a green juice and salad" they might not be lying. If you have a healthy gut microbiome then the food that tastes good and you desire will actually be different than when you have an unhealthy gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome of lean people vs. obese differ significantly. Obesity has been linked with a reduction of over all bacterial diversity and a low number of a specific group of bacteria that feed off of fiber in your colon and produce ani-inflammatory short chain fatty acids. [2]

How do I stop being eating?

Unfortunately this is not a simple answer. Binge eating is a complex disorder that can have many causes. Emotions can play a huge role in why you may turn to food for comfort. That is why there are literally "comfort foods". You may have learned at an early age poor coping methods for stress and painful emotions that have lead you to rely on food for your comfort. Maybe you are in a unhealthy relationship and the only source of joy in your life is food. There is no shame in any of this, in fact these are all great things because you have the power to heal and change your circumstances.

There can be physical factors such as the health of your gut microbiome that contribute to your cravings. Learned unhealthy eating habits such as a diet based mainly on sugars and simple carbohydrates, think toast for breakfast and a pb&j sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner.

The journey to ending binge eating is a long road, but having company makes it seem less lonely. If you are ready to change your life reach out and book an appointment now.

Typical Binge Eating Advice On Google and Why It Doesn't Work.

  1. Go for a walk

Yes, by all means take a walk and get a little distance from the current binge cycle. During this walk think about if there is something that may have triggered you to start binge eating. Did you have a stressful day at work? Are you trying to cope with painful memories or current situations? Are you feeling isolated and board? Are you in an unhealth relationship? All of these can contribute to emotional eating aspect. If you feel like there is more to your binge than just coping with unpleasant emotions then, it may be related to your gut micobiome.

  1. Call a friend for support

Reaching out to friends, family and a medical professional for help is a great idea! Do it, especially if they are supportive and you feel that they are providing relief. Having a support system is incredibly important because we are a communal species. Isolation is actually one of our biggest punishments, think solitary confinement, this is because as humans we seek community connection.

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast

Yes eating a healthy breakfast with protein and fiber is a great way to nourish your body and it won't spike your blood sugar, but if you have an unhealthy micobiome then this meal will leave you feeling deeply unsatisfied and unhappy. Why? Because the bacteria and fungi in your body were not fed the sugars that they require to grow and multiply they are now angry and will let you know. They will actually secrete chemicals that cause you to be in a state of dysphoria until you give into the cravings that they are making you feel. (Just let that sink in) You are going to feel unhappy and irritable until you give into your cravings which will then make you feel like a complete failure because who can't make it to lunch time with out breaking their diet?!

  1. Avoid skipping meals

Yes, this is sound advice for healthy living, although some people swear that intermittent fasting has helped them lose weight and feel great. Will eating 3 square meals and 2 snacks a day keep you from binge eating? In my personal experience no. I'm was perfectly capable of eating my pre-portioned tupperware with 3 meals and 2 snacks day and then standing in front of the freezer as I finished a pint of ice cream.

  1. Fill up on veggies

YES by all means get as many veggies as you want. But if after binge eating on all the carrots and hummus in your fridge you start to turn to something with sugar, something is wrong and its not you.

  1. Get enough sleep

Sure, when you are overly tired it is much harder to resist temptations, but unless you are going to sleep for 24 hours a day then it will not fix binge eating, because it is not a sleep centered disorder. It is common to turn to food for a pick me up mid day when your energy is low. If you have the opportunity to take a short nap mid day, this might help you feel able to get through the rest of the day feel sharper and more able to handle stressors that come to you.

  1. Stay hydrated

Yes often in individuals with a healthy gut microbiome, the desire for water and sugar can be easily confused. Once they are at a better level of hydration the sugar craving disappears, why? Back before Oreo's, the caveman part of our DNA knows that fruit is usually packed with water so when it craves sugar it will get twice the nourishment, quick calories and clean safe water. Now we have much easier access to sugar that is not full of water and when we get that sugar craving and eat sugar but no water, we might feel satiated for a short time but then that desire will pop back up asking for more because we didn't fulfill our actual nutritional requirement. Long story short, drink water, sip it all day long and you won't be sorry.

  1. Start exercising

Yes, almost everyone can benefit from more exercise. Yoga is a great starting place because it will help you connect you mind and body. My personal experience was that exercise at least helped moderate the negative side effect of weight gain from being eating, but it did not stop my binge eating disorder. In fact it can be a very painful cycle to try to exercise off the calories that you consumed during a binge eating episode. First because you feel anger and shame that you lost control. Second because now you are starving the bacteria and fungi that caused the binge and they are going to get angry. Third because you feel like you will never be able to stop this yo-yo cycle of trying diets or to just eat like a normal human and failing yet again.

A healthy body doesn't ask you to eat until it is so full it almost vomits. Most people like desert but if it's all you can think about most of the time, something else is probably going on. If this is you and you are ready to start getting control of your life, book a health coaching consult today.


[1] Alcock, Joe et al. “Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms.” BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology vol. 36,10 (2014):

[2] Butler MJ, Perrini AA, Eckel LA. The Role of the Gut Microbiome, Immunity, and Neuroinflammation in the Pathophysiology of Eating Disorders. Nutrients. 2021; 13(2):500.