The reality TV show "My 600-lb Life" has been instructive on many types of weight loss issues. The recent issue of Marie Claire underscored the value of Dr. Now's gastric bypass diet for treating obesity and diabetes. The article "Sugar High" likened sugar to heroin in addictive property and showed how rehab strategies, such as patients undergo on the TLC show, may be more effective than eating disorder clinic methods.

Sugar gives heroin-like high and low

Eating sugar, like shooting up, releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which tickles the brain's pleasure receptors.

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But that's with the first bite. Successive bites produce less dopamine so as with opioid drugs, it takes more sugar to get the same buzz. The spike and drop in blood sugar mirrors the effect of heroin too. "My 600-lb Life" viewers saw that when addict Steven Assanti was up, on food or drugs, he was way up. And when the morbidly obese TLC star was down, he spiraled into depression, anxiety and rage.

Traditional sugar addiction treatment fails

The usual diet methods wean off sugar but still allow some consumption.

Eating disorder clinics try to get people to self-regulate by treating obesity like anorexia. Patients at both ends are made to make friends with food and control it. But as with heroin, researchers are finding that a sugar addicts may never have a good food relationship. Doctors aren't sure if reintroduction of sugar may work later, but for now, patients quit all sweets. "My 600-lb Life" uses this type of elimination approach in with bariatric surgery patients on reality TV.

New research suggest detox vs. moderation

Doctors at an Iceland center for food and drug abuse have found that hardcore sugar addicts respond better to detox type sugar dry-out like those used with drug addicts.

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In rehab, they go through intense withdrawal as heroin users do. Sugar addicts get irritable, irrational and suffer cravings such as "My 600-lb Life" patients describe. But Dr. Younan Nowzaradan proves to patients like Laura Perez (now Angelika Pacheco) that food addiction is surmountable.

Dr.Now goes rogue in gastric bypass diet

The beloved surgeon of "My 600-lb Life" has been preaching these extreme methods for years. He treats people who are 450 to 800 pounds overweight in disastrous health, riddled with diabetes, cellulitis, hypertension, lymphedema, heart failure and other deadly conditions.

Reality television stars have one foot on a McDonald's wrapper and the other in the grave. So the good doctor's diet may seem harsh but desperate times call for desperate measures. And like the success of rehab on sugar addiction, Dr. Now gets the killer obesity down to size.