Are longer fasts a good idea if you are addicted to food?

Ask Bitten Jonsson

Are longer fasts a good idea if you are addicted to food? Can you start tapering off your antidepressants? And what to do if guilt is holding you back from dealing with your food addiction?

These and other questions are answered this week by our food-addiction expert, Bitten Jonsson, RN:

Are longer fasts a good idea if you are addicted to food?

I have been water fasting for 7 days. What would happen if I ate for 3 days and then began fasting for another 7 days.

My end outcome is to lose 90 lbs (41 kg). I don’t want to gain them back and it seems that by fasting for a week, eating for a few days and then fasting again would establish a good foundation so that I would lose the weight and not gain it back, and on top of that would have “control” over the food addition I have been dealing with all my life.

Any suggestions/advise/information would be helpful.

Thank you very much,

Hi Anaka,

When you are a sugar addict, and that’s what I specialize in, I think this tough regime should be tried only if you have been in recovery from sugar addiction for at least 6 months.

Starting out like that without other tools, a food plan, lifestyle changes, stress management, support groups and such is a setup for relapse. And food addiction can not be “controlled”. The more you try to control the easier it is to relapse. And if you have been struggling with it all your life it is probably time to learn new tools. Welcome to join our closed support group on Facebook, “Sugarbomb in your brain” and learn how to.

My best,

Can I start tapering off my antidepressants?

Hi Bitten from New Zealand!

I just watched all your videos and while doing that, made my first cup of coffee with a knob of butter instead of some almond milk, which I had changed to from cows milk as it has fewer carbs. I feel great!

Have had sugar cravings for weeks despite eating very low carb and now realise that it must be the almond milk which is triggering me!

But my main question is about the antidepressant meds I am taking. As I feel better cutting out sugar, it makes me wonder if it was contributing to my symptoms and if I could now wean myself off sertraline.

Do you have experience with clients with chronic depression and anxiety? My GP doctor does not support me eating a ketogenic diet because of the fat so I can’t ask him. There wouldn’t be any medical support for this where I live.


Hello Laurie from NZ,

Most of my clients struggle with depression and anxiety and it is very difficult to know how and when it started, often years ago, knowing that sugar and flour also robs our brain of “feel-good-chemicals”. What is the hen and what is the egg if you understand.

But I always work with the client and the client’s doctor on tapering off SSRI. They can be very tough to quit and withdrawal symptoms can be light to severe but so not let that stop you. The trick is to go very slow. So I do not advice you to do it yourself.

I have a doctor in Sweden specializing in this and we work together. He tapers off the SSRI and I do the biochemical repair. I suggest that you contact my colleague in Australia Monica Colmsjo, she probably know someone (meaning a doctor) that understands “food psychiatry” and can guide you. I do not have any contacts in NZ. I think it is great that you quit almond milk.

Good luck now,


Hello, I’m in the UK.

I’m home alone most days because I feel a bit reluctant to go out. I hand two dogs who I exercise and feel guilty about leaving.

I’m sugar addicted I answered 5/6 on the questionnaire, only missing neglected. I’m lapsing & snacking because of loneliness but trying to deal with guilt of leaving dogs. I know this an odd question but it’s holding me back. I just need some help not using dogs as my reason for staying in and snacking I think…


Hi Jackie.

Yes your craving for the “food drug” is holding you in it’s grip. This is very common. We are so adjusted to our way of living that it feels like moving a mountain to start doing new things. First I think it is very important that you learn about our addicted brain by reading Food Junkies by Dr. Vera Tarman, second join our closed support group on Facebook “Sugarbomb in your brain“, there you find many tools and support how to apply them in your daily life.

We talk about baby steps. First do not take home any food that does not belong to your healthy food plan, second plan your meals and do not snack in between. The start by taking on small step out of the house every day and make sure you do something good for yourself.

There are many 12 step meetings for food addicts online/telephone so just look for them. Doing it alone is not the way to go. Get support and talk to others with the same problem.

Best of luck with starting a new way of living,


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