A loaf of bread plus a slice of cake plus a cupcake with an equal sign at the end

Sugar Cravings and Obsessions

When Posy was first diagnosed, she was warned about the side effects of dopamine agonist medicines. At each subsequent appointment, she would be asked if she had developed any obsessive behaviors.

She was obsessed by her inability to fall asleep, but she was not gambling, over-spending (well, no more than usual) or standing on street corners.

Soon she was moved on to Madopar (and 1 rasagiline in the morning). The sleep issues persisted, but she was not really acting out any obsessions.

A love of sugar

Hm ... but what about Posy's love of sugar? Even though Posy has always had a sweet tooth, it is becoming evident that now, in her 5th year of Parkinson's, she is addicted to and is actively seeking out sugar.

"Did you honestly eat all this chocolate?" splutters her husband, on returning from a bike ride and seeing lots of wrappers in the trash. Is cake a reasonable favorite food for an educated person?

Posy would happily forgo a starter or main course, and just have dessert with clotted cream. Her favorite food is strawberry pavlova (meringue, strawberries, and cream), no contest!

Her mother made the most delicious meringue in the world. On reflection, it is just as well Posy can't cook, or she would weigh a lot more.

Is there a connection?

Do you think Posy can blame her sweet cravings on Parkinson's itself? Do the medications mess with one's taste buds? Perhaps the craving for something sweet and juicy is a consequence of a permanently dry mouth?

Posy fears that her lifelong love of carbohydrates and lack of protein was a major factor in developing the disease in the first place. She detests cheese, any strong flavors, most meat, and pickles/vinegar (yes, Posy is an annoyingly fussy eater!)

She feels the obvious answer is to "go keto." But, as with exercise, Posy lacks the motivation to diet right now. It takes all the focus, self-discipline, and energy she has just to get out of bed and crack on with her day.

Are good intentions, just intentions?

Posy has always thrived on self-discipline. When she has to do something, she works hard to accomplish it, even though now it means she will "crash" at some point.

She still has the willpower to practice the piano for hours and she continues to knock herself out keeping the house spotless (some might say, obsessively so.)

Getting up at 6:00 AM for work was grueling, and she felt absolutely terrible for years. Still, she always managed to smile and make other people feel god about themselves, however bad she was feeling inside.

When she was at her worst, after her hospital stay for pneumonia, and exhausted by the effects of morphine, Posy somehow forced herself to get out of bed to cook breakfast for her daughter every day. She knew it was the only nutritious food her teenager would eat at 7 AM.

Relationship with food

Does Posy just have an unhealthy relationship with food? As a child, and until her 20s, Posy wished that food could come in pill form. She hated sitting at the table, listening to chewing sounds, and smelling the unpleasant aroma of cooked meat and vegetables.

One Sunday lunch time, as a joke, her Dad laid her place at the table with a full loaf of bread and some butter. Posy was genuinely delighted!

Images of meat, raw or cooked, have always made Posy feel sick. Vegetarianism should have been a viable, healthy option, had Posy had any interest or talent for cooking. However, her daily choice was a tomato (or egg) sandwich, sometimes with a side order of crisps (chips).

Digestive issues

Energy slumps were (temporarily) medicated with chocolate. Fried bread and French toast were Posy's treats for a hotel breakfast. Vegetables she has always found slightly boring, but mostly edible in small portions.

Fruit, other than the sweetest strawberries, is all too sharp, and gives Posy indigestion together with a sore mouth.

Maybe there is a genetic factor at play. Like her father, Posy has irritable bowel and other digestive tract issues. Onions, pickles, and other strong tasting food make her sick.

Could I have avoided Parkinson's?

Our bodies are intelligent - so does one's mind subconsciously crave only what the body can tolerate? Posy would gladly live on bread alone! And bread seemed to be doing her no harm ... Unless Parkinson's is related to a lack of dietary protein?

Did these anomalies create the breeding ground for a disease such as Parkinson's, or were they signs and symptoms of a disease that is developing independently from birth?

It would be fascinating (and helpful to mankind) to know with certainty if Parkinson's is a disease that Posy (or perhaps you, yourself) could have avoided?

I wonder if hypnosis would work? Does anyone have any suggestions?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ParkinsonsDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.