Fortunately, you can restore dopamine receptors in your brain. As with other addictions, the healing begins the moment you stop eating refined sugars. If previous attempts to wean yourself off sugar haven’t worked and you find yourself in a yo-yo battle to achieve moderation, then it’s time to make a clean break; but keep in mind that, with fewer receptors in your brain right now, going cold turkey may make life rough for a while. When put in detox, animals that are addicted to sugar experience withdrawals, anxiety, and even shakes and tremors. Peeke says it takes “three to four weeks to detox off the false fixes (sugar, salt, fat), and it takes no less than six months to a year to repair damage to the prefrontal cortex.”

In addition to reprogramming your brain, cleaner eating changes your taste preferences, so you’ll enjoy and even prefer healthier foods. There is little scientific evidence to demonstrate these changes, but anecdotal support is widely available. A client of mine who has eliminated refined carbs and sugars for two years shares her experience: “Recently we went out to dinner to my favorite Italian restaurant where I always finished my meal with the most heavenly cheesecake. When it came, I looked at how beautiful it was. I smelled it, and it had that wonderful smell I remembered. I took my first bite expecting to enjoy it immensely. I was very surprised. I really did not like the taste anymore. I ate the fresh strawberry off the top. It was delicious. I took a couple more bites of the cheesecake, just to be sure, but then put down my fork. I really did not want it.”