Can unstable blood sugar lead to sugar binges?

Ask Bitten Jonsson

Can blood sugar swings lead to sugar binges?

This and other questions (do antidepressants increase hunger?) are answered this week by our food addiction expert, Bitten Jonsson, RN:


What effect to antidepressants have on appetite – and is IF an option for sugar addicts?


I am completely new to this site but have been investigating IF after reading Dr. Fung’s book “The Obesity Code”. I am a 57 year old woman, 5’6″, 220 lbs (167 cm, 100 kg). My concern is with the effect of antidepressants on appetite. I have always been sensitive to carbs (took me a while to figure it out) but now my cravings seem to have even more intensity.

I am on 200 mg sertraline & 60 mg buspirone. I have tried going off them in the past with the result of worse symptoms and harder to treat, so I’m not considering that an option right now… I also experience severe daytime fatigue on a regular basis. Would IF be a good option for me? Any insights or suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.



I understand your concern. Some antidepressants can cause insulin resistance and overweight as a side effect in some people. There is always a choice between symptoms and effect with these pills. Since you have tried to go off them and felt worse I understand that is not what you should do at this point. If you are a sugar addict I do not recommend fasting since it usually creates overeating afterwards. The on-off eating is not helping then. I suggest you look for a professional food-addiction counselor with expertise in neuro-nutrient therapy. They can help with tailored amino acids to counteract the side effects of antidepressants and a meal-plan that will assist you in losing the weight. If you cannot find one where you live, please email me and I will refer you to someone I have trained in Sweden that can work through mail, telephone and/or Skype.

Best regards,

Can a volatile blood sugar cause sugar binges?

I’m female, 51 years old, have had life-long progressive sugar/starch addiction. Decades ago it was sugar binges, eliminating sugar brought great relief and rapid weight loss until I snapped, then I’d mentally crash and regain more rapidly. Many times a year, every year, all my life. Progressed to having to eliminate pretty much all carbs, all seemed to trigger uncontrollable sugar/starch binges.

During the latest episode I gained 35 lbs (16 kg) in 10 weeks, exhausting and mentally debilitating. Doing LCHF for 2 weeks, got some definite relief with cravings but feel hypoglycaemic most of the time, shaky, weak, sweating, mental fatigue etc. It seems to be worst when I wake up, I have great difficulty getting up.

Is this just an adjustment issue? A few times I’ve felt like fainting and anxious. I’m eating three meals at approximately 4-hour intervals but feel ill.

I’ve been in OA 10 years, never had more than 9 months continuous abstinence, only had that once more typically 3 to 6 months. Today, the tiredness triggered the mental obsession, as if my brain is screaming for glucose?

Thank You Bitten for any attention you can give this issue,

Dear Lorraine,

You are not alone, so many of us have a terrible struggle for years to find stabile recovery, do not give up. There are a couple of things I see directly that you can change. First of all, I think you have a condition known among addiction specialist called ”volatile blood sugar”. Addicts’ brains are wired differently than others. We are much more sensitive and thats why traditional knowledge/medicine is not working so well on us. We need special knowledge.

Volatile blood sugar means it is dropping extremely fast and it can cause a myriad of problems, all of which you describe and many more. I usually re3commend eating every 2 hours to begin with. Some of the meals can be 1 tbsp of glutamine powder in half a glass of water together with 1 tbsp coconut oil in warm water.

Another trick I use for my clients is this: mix kidneybeans with feta cheese, chopped red onions, olive oil and lemon juice. I know you might think I am crazy suggesting beans – carbs! But this will be used as medicine until your blood sugar stabilizes. Eat only 1 dl (<1/2 cup) of this as some of your meals. You also might have to increase veggies into your meal-plan. It is hard to eat every 2 hours but do your best. Also you might take some probiotics. If your intestinal flora is out of balance your body have even worse chance to create neurotransmitters. This is what I call biochemical repair and it is very important help for us addicts. Try this and let med know how it goes. You might need some supplements, amino acids, but I can't suggest which without knowing more about your health status. Abstinence and recovery first, Bitten

How do I stop carb cravings?


I can’t believe I can talk to a food-craving expert! I never knew someone like you existed as I have always felt isolated and alone. Thank you so much for this amazing website and for caring, it’s something I never thought I would ever have!

This is my 3rd week on the LCHF programme. I lost 1.8 kilos (3 lbs) in the first week no weight loss in the second week and so far nothing in the third week!

I am eating the LCHF recipes and have been cooking like crazy but loving the food. I always cooked before but now I’m loving it even more.

My question to you is that because I have not lost any more weight my mind is beginning to want carbs! Carbs are my downfall and I have been on a vicious cycle for 20 years unable to control my cravings so I have been unable to stick to any weight loss programme!

Please help me to know what to do to stop these ridiculous cravings which make me break any type of weight loss programme I am on. I do not want this to happen on LCHF.

I would appreciate any help you can give.

Many thanks,

Dear Caroline,

I do recognize this pattern very well. You need much more knowledge about this illness, addiction. One book I recommend you start with is Food Junkies by a Canadian doctor, Vera Tarman and my colleauge Phil Werdell at Food Addiction Institute in Florida, it is a good beginning.

Addiction is a complex illness and it affects all areas of our lives. Physical, psychological, social and spiritual and therefore we need to get tools to recover in all those areas, not only food wise. A new food plan is not enough to deal with this brain illness, as you have already learned. You will forever yo-yo with weight, cravings and binges if you do not learn all other skills necessary.

I wonder if you have sought help from someone trained in addiction medicine? My suggestion is that you look for an expert on food addiction and contact a self-help group such as Overeaters Anonymous or Food Addicts Anonymous. If there are no live meetings where you are located there are many telephone, Skype and internet meetings world wide today. I do have trained professionals in Sweden that work through Skype in English. You are welcome to contact me at my mailaddress and I can refer you.

My very best,


Earlier Q&A with Bitten

What Sweetener Should You Use Instead of Sugar?

Dealing with Emotional Eating

Losing Willpower at Night and Eating

Addicted to Nuts?

More Questions and Answers

Read all earlier questions and answers – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Bitten Jonsson, RN, About Food Addiction – for members (free trial available)

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