Are Food Hangovers Real?

Is it possible to experience a full-blown hangover from eating sugar and flour? How does this happen? Hear my answer in this week’s vlog.


  1. Jacki Morgan

    I’m currently doing the 14 day challenge. For the most part I’m enjoying the freedom and accountability. My main issue with going forther is the cost. A lot of us can’t afford $500 and the instalment plan not only makes it almost $600 but is still a lot of money each month. I’ve come to the conclusion that this a program for the most well off. And actually a lot of the poorer people are the ones who fill up on sugar and flour. This program is not accessible to them and this saddens me

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  2. Karen Orell

    Another support group for overeating and food addictions is Overwaters Anonymous – no dues/fees required – just a desire to stop eating compulsively. Go to for more information and to find a meeting near you. You can find meetings worldwide! It has been the answer for me.

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  3. Jenna C Reed Livingston

    The way you describe how sugar and flour are created identically to cocaine and heroin is fascinating. It really hit home how addictive sugar and flour really are. Thanks Susan.

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  4. Linda Pollock

    Susan, have signed up for boot camp primarily for my husband but he no longer wishes to participate so would like to request our money back 399.00. Thank you so much. You are doing a great service for so many!

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  5. Carla Fleming

    Susan, this makes total sense about how differently (and more strongly) our bodies would feel the hangover (or carb crash as we say at my house) when we’re eating cleanly! Thank you for this insight, and thanks to Annie for asking the question! Grateful for you!! xoxox

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  6. Maggie Gough

    Well, I would like to tell you doubting Thomases BLE works very well. The food hang overs can be very real. At Easter I thought I could have 1 bite of a chocolate bunny, but in the end I ate the whole thing. My God I was so very sick for about 24 hours. I have not touched sugar or chocolate since.
    I am not at goal weight yet Sky ring that my thyroid has stopped working. But I have lost cons and tons of inches . The support you get from the community is priceless. So if you wonder if BLE will work for you, do the susceptibility quiz. Then get on board with bright line eating. To some it may seem extreme but it is not. Happy, thin and free. That’s what you get plus many of your illnesses will improve or disappear. Promise you this, Maggie

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  7. Sarah

    This is such a difficult area for me . . . as someone who has struggled with an eating disorder (anorexia/bulimia) for many years I have finally reached a place where I am comfortable eating enough food to maintain healthy body. However, there are certain foods (high sugar/fat/flour) that I find trigger me and I still don’t have a good relationship with . . . I stay away from them because otherwise I find myself falling into an unhealthy binge/restrict cycle. I really feel like these foods are addictive for me, but everyone tells me I am not “normal” or truly “healthy” (i.e. I still have an eating disorder) because I avoid them.

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  8. Esther

    I follow your vlogs and enjoy learning about the bright lines. If one can eat poppy flowers and not get a reaction/addiction to them versus refined essence of poppies, would you say that people can eat sugar cane and not get the addiction as they would if they ate the refined essence of the sugar cane? Sugar cane is just a plant. I’m very curious about that. It just seems so sweet. I have seen children eating the stalks of sugar cane many times in Africa where we worked. I guess it would just be a lot of natural sugar.?

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  9. Andreia

    Hi Susan, this has been happening to me more and more over the past few months ( I seem to be getting in tune with the world around me) but everything that I need to know comes to me in the perfect time space sequence. And today it happened with you.
    Again, I must applaud you for your honesty and your heartful speech! I have been “clean” for 2 months and the day before yesterday I was “forced to eat a sandwich and I had insomnia that very night. What you’ve said about getting smth outsider our system and, on top of that, a druglike ingredient, made so much sense to me. So thank you for all your efford and hard work. It’s great to see and hear you!
    Andreia Portela (Portugal)

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  10. Stacey Stokes

    I really appreciate this vlog because 5 years of plant based eating has made me so sensitive that even a few bites of chocolate, too much fruit or too much air popped popcorn sets me off on both a binge and a hangover.

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  11. Mercedes (from Argentina)

    Susan, up to January 3 2016, that is when I discovered you, I woke up every morning full of pain in all my body. I felt I was the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. I´m 53, so I thought it was because of my age. Anyway, I saw several doctors but none of them could tell me what happened. After starting BLE my life changed completely. The pain went away. I think this had to do with a kind of poisoning because of food. Whenever I leave the brightlines I have stay in bed, I feel awful. Because breaking the brightlines for me is like becoming a monster. You are the only person who can understand this, and the only one who found a solution. God bless you. Mercedes

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  12. Stefi

    Hello Susan, Wonderful vlog, makes a lot of sense regarding being clean inside as to why such a hangover effect if one goes away from the bright lines. I’m like your old you with the coffee at present but will work on that. I find certain foods more my villains that I don’t let up on . Thanks again & I just LOOVE that blue dress!! ?

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  13. timo

    you cover so many import core points in this video!
    probably nothing else would be able to jumpstart my BLE program as well as this talk.
    I miss the mothership! hugs from here!

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  14. lynn

    i made popcorn night before last. it’s not on my food plan but i thought i’d ‘try it’. it was delicious….organic popcorn, organic coconut oil, mineral salt. i felt TERRIBLE for most of the day. i had not had enough sleep which could have made it worse. i did finally start feeling better in the evening…after having three ‘on plan’ meals.
    lots of learning.

    i’m in one of joan ifland’s food education intensives. the food plan is balanced with whole foods only with common triggers excluded (dairy, nuts, corn, soy…). i think it might be similar to ble.

    high five, everyone, who are making positive changes to their lives (food “plus”)….and for those who want to…and for all who are still suffering.

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  15. Virginia Bennett

    I used to get hangovers every year on the morning of January 1st because I would stay up late eating chips and dip, cookies, M & Ms, and other sweets in a family New Year’s Eve celebration. Even when I planned to eat healthy, I could not resist those foods in those days. And the lack of sleep combined with the overload of sugars and chips gave me a tremendous headache the next morning. It took me all day on the 1st of January to wake up and I didn’t feel very good until the 2nd or 3rd. It was solely from the food-like substances I ate and the lack of sleep because I didn’t and still don’t drink alcohol.

    I have not felt like that for a long time now, because I don’t eat that way any more. However I am still susceptible to addiction to sugar and flour.

    Your first video I saw connected to a The Truth About Cancer email, came when I was looking for more support and solutions to following my food plan. At that time I had not given up sugar and flour. I have now.

    The first time I was invited to a family picnic after I started Bright Line Eating, I was afraid I would get sucked into eating things that are not good for me with them. I texted a friend, asking her to pray for me and telling her what I planned to eat there. I discovered at the event that my belief that my family induced me to overeat or to eat unhealthfully was false. It was probably me that sucked me into it before. I no longer feel susceptible to overeating with them because I planned ahead, brought a big salad and my own dressing to share and some fruit, and I weighed my own 3 oz. burger and brought it to be put on the barbecue. I was not tempted to overeat. Instead I enjoyed the company with all the little children in the family. I visited with my nieces in-law and gave their kids hugs and encouragement. That was what nourished me. Actually that fills a greater need for me than food ever could because I was never able to have children, and I love children.

    There is a different dynamic in my extended family today than there was previously because my parents have both passed away and most of my siblings and I are in our 50’s and my younger sister’s 5 boys are grown up and many of them are married with little children.

    I actually have an easier time eating healthfully when I am at family occasions now than I do when I am home alone around a holiday. I had a wonderful 4th of July, walking down to Main Street for the first time to watch the parade in my town. My husband had to work that day. I enjoyed the people and the parade immensely. After my husband came home from work, though, with the hot dogs planned for dinner, he didn’t want hot dogs any more because his work had had a special lunch with hot dogs. So he went to KFC and bought a bucket of chicken while I cooked the hot dogs and cooked corn on the cob and boiled an egg to go on a green salad. Unfortunately, while he was gone and while I was waiting for 2 hot dogs to cook, I ate 3 others because I love hot dogs and they feel like a fun holiday food. The next day I ate the other 3 hot dogs at breakfast, weird as that sounds.

    I am not sure what I can learn from this yet, but I have gotten back on track with my food. I just notice that I have a lot more food cravings on holidays than at other times lately.

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  16. Lee

    I find that yeast is a big factor for me when I binge and get that “Hangover”. Sugar, especially fruits and fruit juices – like apple juice can really spike the yeast populations in my system. Humus and bean based products can ferment easily and when thrown into a yeasty system can spike a “yeast bloom”, if you will. The by product of all that yeast is alcohol. It’s like my body becomes a little brewery during those times and then starts turning the sugars and such into alcohol. This is a big part of the Hangover symptoms I believe. It would be great to have you do a presentation on this – as the yeast factor was missing for me in this particular Vlog. Thanks for all you contribute to us!!!

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    1. Stefi

      I agree with you 100% Lee especially the longer a person has been eating poorly ( sugar & flour)

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  17. Sally McKellip

    When I break my bright lines I not only have a terrible hangover (headache, dullness), but I am “high” and out of it while the food is going through my system. I broke the bright lines in pretty dramatic fashion at a family get together two days ago. Almost instantaneously, I was fuzzy and collapsed on the couch. “Food coma” jokes were made, but someone actually said, “God, Sally…you don’t look good. You look like you went on a bender…” My face was itchy, I was in pain, my head was spinning. It was awful. I experienced a little bit of “What the hell” effect the next day, but this vlog reminds me…I experienced such horrible effects because I was so clean inside. And, guess what? One meal at a time I will resume and get clean again. Thank you, Susan!

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  18. Natalie

    Hi, how do you classify bread made from whole grains? I currently buy organic wheat and rye grains, stone mill them and bake my own bread using just the ground flour, water, Celtic salt, olive oil and yeast. Would you consider this process too refined? Thanks

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    1. Crystal Wilson

      Buy Ezekiel bread made from sprouted grains. There is no flour.

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      1. Mashael

        Ezekiel bread has whole wheat flour, it has been added from the original formula 🙁

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    2. Agustín Vicente

      I ask the same question. Susan speaks about flour, but is it all kind of flours, mainly refined flour, or even organic flour that causes addiction?

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    3. Ruth Kerr

      That sounds excellent! Whole grains, known ingredients and fresh!

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  19. Patricia Buccheri

    I would love to do Bright Line Eating, but I am afraid that it is just another program that I cannot succeed at.

    I do need help and have tried every program and I am going to be 60 at the end of September and have failed at losing and gaining back my whole life.

    I just don’t think I can afford the Bright Line Program, only to fail again.

    I would like to thank you for all the research you have done. It totally makes sense that the food is in our heads.

    All my best.


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    1. Jean

      Hi, Pat. I just turned 60 last month & like you, had failed my whole life to lose weight and keep it off. I’m in the June 2016 boot camp, & am now at Day 8. Please consider BLE! So much support and excellent info. In the past week I have come to see the boundaries–the Bright Lines–as the giidelines I have always sought. Free at the grocery store to only purchase food on the plan and nothing else for me. Have omnivore, slim spouse so prep meals differemtly for each of us. Evem that has mot deterred me this far. Go for it! BLE will work for you!

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      1. Rhonda

        Hi Pat, I am 63 and this past January I made the decision that I didn’t want the last 1/3 of my life to be like the middle third where I gained and lost the same 50 lbs many times. It is possible to lose weight at this age and to follow a food plan.

        I have done a program like BLE through Overeater’s Anonymous a 12 step program. I eliminated all my trigger foods (chocolate, ice cream, cake, candy, cookies, chips, Italian food) to establish my bright lines. I found it wasn’t sustainable because at some point there is a very strong probability that you will break your bright line. I found that when that happened my binges were more ferocious than prior to the bright lines. I think for me establishing such a restrictive food plan (and I didn’t eliminate all starch and allowed myself rice and potato) worsened my disordered food thoughts soo that when I slipped I couldln’t get enough of my trigger foods and ate far more of these things than I ever had before.

        I’ve taken a slightly different approach now. I’m workign with a therapist who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT for short, which examines the thoughts I have where I give myself permission to break my bright lines. Unlike a 12-step program where you count days of abstinence and if you slip you go back to day 1, I don’t count days I count my successes. Success is eating healthy, it’s losing weight, if I slip it’s getting back to my healthy eating quickly. I’m finding that when I have the thoughts that say “well you went off your diet anyway so might as well eat as much as you can and start again tomorrow” I can challenge them by saying to myself, you can keep binging but you’re going to gain 5lbs if you stop now you may only gain a pound or two, and this helps.

        All low calorie food plans will help you lose weight the key is to pick a food plan that you think you can live with for the rest of your life. Then while following that food plan work with a therapist once or twice a week to explore the thoughts youhave that prevent you from achieving your goal. Binge eating is now covered by many insurance plans so you might get reimbursed for the sessions which will help defray the costs. Before we binge we have thoughts about food and at some point we think “oh f it” or “tomorrow will be easier I’ll eat my trigger foods today” etc. A therapist who is CBT trained will help you challenge these thoughts and identify what kinds of people places or activities tend to trigger the food thoughts.

        Hope this has helped and good luck. The main thing don’t give up – keep on plugging at it there is a solution out there for you.

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        1. Stefi

          Very interesting Rhonda- will have to look into that 🙂

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    2. Sarah

      Pat, there’s a lot of people who have succeeded with Bright Line Eating. You can check out the Goal Weight Gallery in Susan’s vlog under the Archives from the end of December 2015 on this webpage to hear stories of some who have succeeded. There are many more who have reached their goal weight and are maintaining their weight since that vlog. For me, I’ve been doing BLE since October and have lost over 50 lbs so far. This program provides a lot of education and support to help you succeed. BLE isn’t for everyone, but many who haven’t found success with other programs have done well here. If you have addictive tendencies toward food and want a program that can instill habits around your food to the point that it’s just about automatic, you will be successful. Whatever you choose to do, it’s got to be a life-long commitment to follow through.

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    3. Caroline

      Wow yes it’s out of my reach…and I take anti-rejection medication every 12 hours to obviously not reject this kidney.Often I wonder how much my liver can detox naturally…and I notice the foods that leave me feeling gross and tired…???? Just turned 60 too in May,maybe I should forget the dream of being slim again after defeat for the past 8 years.

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    4. Kelli

      Hi Pat,
      You should most certainly trust your own judgment on whether you are ready to join, but I will definitely second that this is not like any other program I’ve been involved with. It is much more about a way of thinking and about a life change around food. There is no question that it can be difficult and can be some big changes for those of us with real life-long food issues, but I know for me it’s been incredible to be a part of. There are some excellent tools I have learned that will benefit me for the rest of my life. I do still struggle at times and am glad I have a structure to turn to that makes sense long term for me. It may not be for everyone though, and that’s okay. I hope you will keep watching and learning from Susan in all of the free content she offers in the meantime… There is no rush. ?

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    5. Claudia

      Pat I am older than 60 and this program is so working for me. For whatever reason I have stuck with it and You can do it to. And if you put your heart into it you will not fail.

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  20. Claudia

    I love bread but I am determined to do bright line eating. What’s the alternative to refined flour so that I can make healthy bread?

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  21. Catriona

    Susan, you hit the nail on the head, for me! I’ve often wondered why I feel sluggish, nausea, and extremely tired, if I’ve been eating poorly. It’s almost like my body is trying to eliminate all the bad toxins in my body, through headaches and digestive angst. I Was seeing a nutritionist, and she’s stated that there is no such thing as ” food addiction”, that I should eat 6 small meals a day. I know she’s wrong, because as soon as I eat anything, it’s like my brain goes into eat more, don’t stop, I’m starving. So eating three meals a day is hard enough to stick to my bright lines, adding more just defeats me for the rest of the day.

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    1. Paula

      I experienced a horrible “hangover” after eating high sodium foods recently. I had not been eating foods with added salt for a while, and I indulged in some store-bought hummus. SPT has a valid point that we can experience this kind of discomfort if our system is “clean.” My system was not used to that level of sodium. I learned my lesson!

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      1. Rose

        I also try to avoid salt, I seem to be sensitive to it.
        For my birthday my husband took me to a new place, and the foods tasted good. However at maybe 2am, I woke up with a parched mouth….terribly dry…dry…dry! I had to get up and drink a large glass of cold (not icy) water. Even then it was dry. Brushed my teeth and mouth and that helped some. Maybe eating a banana or something else would have helped more. We will never eat at that place again…since we know they include lots of salt. I almost felt salt poisoned !

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    2. Mark

      I can totally relate to this blog today. yesterday my brain convince me to go buy some corn chips because it’s not wheat chips it’s cold and I also made a dish with rice noodles yesterday instead of egg noodles migraine that Critter in my brain that’s deceiving me that once these drugs this addict with in my brain that wants to eat whatever it wants was consumed with a binge yesterday and today I’m feeling The Hangover big time. the good news is I guess my system is clean before yesterday LOL. But I tell you I’ve been trying this for about 4 months now and I lost 15 pounds 20 pounds I can’t get below 2:40 I have been hovering around 2:40 ever since I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but I keep falling out of my bright lines about once a week I’ll get done around 2:37 and next thing I know I’m up at 2:42 I can’t seem to get below this 240 barrier and it’s driving me crazy I don’t have a support system. I tried to get under some Facebook for bright line eating group so I can get some support and they want to charge me $20 a month I didn’t agree with that I guess I haven’t found value in that yet or the attic in me is telling me don’t do it don’t do it don’t do it something is awry obviously. thank you Susan I wish that Congress in Washington DC could study everything that you’re sharing with us all here and that we could experience over the next several years the trickle-down effect of all the addictions institutions that deal with addiction and so on and so on and so many people that need to be aware of this process and how it affects our brain and how it affects our lives so negatively. my name is Mark and I’m at markmcd4@yahoo …I hope to hear back from you

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      1. Robin Wheatfall

        Mark – there is no need to pay for support. There is a free program open to anyone. You can find a free meeting near you to attend. NO fees. No dues.

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    3. Mercedes (from Argentina)

      Oh, Catriona, I couldn´t agree more. If the nutritionist says that there is no such thing as food addiction, it is because they haven´t been there. And yes, 3 meals a day is the greatest idea ever.

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    4. Carmen

      Your nutritionist was seriously ill informed! Would she deny alcoholism? What is alcohol but food, just in another form? Food is addictive from either a physiological or psychological standpoint. For many, a childhood association with certain foods creates an inordinate appeal, which when indulged, creates an addictive response. For some, the way food “feels” when first ingested tends to addiction. For others, the mere taste is addictive, so folk go to great lengths to reproduce that taste. But ALL food causes a chemical reaction of some form, for good or ill. . Those reactions either destroy life, or sustain it. If food can cause an addictive response for ANYONE, is it not, to them at least, a drug?

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      1. Carmen

        PS: A nutritionist shouldn’t have to “be there” to recognize addictions as valid! Is a doctor (or nutritionist) required to have cancer, to understand something of treating that disease?

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