It’s been seven years since I’ve had a soda. But there was a time when I was ravenous for Mountain Dew. It was cold, it was fizzy, and it tasted damn good. Whether I was slaving away in the lab, poring over science journals in the library, or even teaching organic chemistry, nothing stopped me from drinking it. I was hooked. Little did I know, I had developed a biochemical addiction to the sugar in Mountain Dew that could have led me to an early grave.

Do you have an addiction to sugary sodas? If so, pay careful attention. I’ll reveal what you need to do to save your health.

In a study comparing the addictive properties of sweeteners, sugar proved more addictive than cocaine. When consumed, sugar increases serotonin levels within the brain. This increases the production of endorphins. Like drugs, these brain chemicals trigger opioid receptors, thereby eliciting the sensation of happiness. This artificial increase in serotonin levels causes the body to down-regulate its natural production and release of serotonin. Addiction begins to creep in.

Serotonin is responsible for controlling mood and appetite. Without serotonin, a person gets depressed and craves more sugar. This forges an emotional bond between happiness and sugar (or soda sweetened with sugar). Sugar addicts become dependent on it to increase serotonin and therefore make them feel happy. That explains why, no matter what I was doing, I would drop it to get my Mountain Dew fix! By leveraging this biochemical addiction, soda manufacturers are making a fortune.

The problem with sugar addiction is that it leads to obesity and Type II diabetes. Not only was I an honorary member of The Fat Cow Hall of Fame (I weighed 205 lbs with 30 percent body fat; off soda today, I’m 170 lbs with 10 percent body fat), I was boosting my blood sugar to dangerous levels. One soda per day increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent, which can reduce your lifespan by 11 to 20 years.

The addiction can be totally overcome in about three weeks. To do it, you need plenty of exercise and sunshine, along with L-tryptophan from grass-fed beef and whey isolate. Natural sweeteners like stevia and agave can help you ease off the soda (use them to make a natural soda from sparkling water and lime), as can herbal teas (like Yerba Mate).

[Ed. Note: Shane Ellison’s (www.thepeopleschemist.com) entire career has been dedicated to the study of molecules – how they give life and how they take from it. He was a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his research in biochemistry and physiology. He is a bestselling author, holds a master’s degree in organic chemistry, and has firsthand experience in drug design. Take advantage of his knowledge and insights to look and feel your best in 90 days.]

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