Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to the Coronavirus
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit


Is Sugar Addictive?

Taylor Larson, RD, CSSD, LD
McCallum Place St. Louis

Despite efforts to “eat better,” “get healthier,” and “stop eating junk,” many people find themselves drawn back to the sweet treats they are trying to eliminate. Some scientists have hypothesized that sugar has addictive qualities, similar to drugs like cocaine; that sugar ingestion lights up the pleasure centers of the brain, and more and more sugar is needed over time in order to produce the same pleasurable response. But does research support that sugar addiction is a real affliction?

Let’s examine this common diet cycle from the viewpoint of basic biology: when food is restricted, our brain circuitry changes and we experience more pleasure from food than we did when we had free access to it. In ancient times when food was scarce, this increased drive to eat helped us become more motivated to find food in order to survive, but in our current culture where food is generally plentiful, this phenomenon feels like a loss of control.

This idea parallels the current research on sugar addiction (most of which comes from animal studies), which has found that rats only developed signs of sugar addiction and binge eating after being forced to fast before being provided with food and sugar. Rats with unlimited, round-the-clock access to food and sugar did not develop these tendencies.

These findings tell us something really important: that limiting food intake, whether that be from a diet, an eating disorder, or a misguided “lifestyle change,” might disrupt our ability to self-regulate our intake of sweet foods and make us feel more out-of-control or “addicted” to them. It seems entirely possible that under periods of food restriction, our primal instincts drive us to eat more of the tasty, sweet foods that satisfy our taste buds and provide our brains and cells with valuable glucose to keep our organs running and our energy levels high. Our bodies have such incredible survival mechanisms! But this is very different than a food being physiologically addicting.

Instead of avoiding sugar, which often leads to increased desire, eating a variety of enjoyable and nourishing foods—including the sweets you enjoy— in adequate amounts is the best recipe to avoid feeling out-of-control around any food. When we listen to and honor our body’s needs, stop moralizing food as “good” and “bad,” and allow ourselves to enjoy any food within a balanced and adequate diet, we can be free to appreciate food as a valuable and delicious part of life instead of feeling trapped and consumed by it.

Of course, this is a very challenging journey to begin without proper support and guidance. If you struggle with food restriction, chronic dieting, binge eating, or feelings of being out-of-control around food, a Registered Dietitian with experience in eating disorders and disordered eating can help you restore your relationship with food and find balance and pleasure in eating again.

1. Carr, K. D. (2011). Food scarcity, neuroadaptations, and the pathogenic potential of dieting in an unnatural ecology: Binge eating and drug abuse. Physiology & Behavior, 104(1), 162-67. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.04.023
2. Westwater, M. L., Fletcher, P. C., and Ziauddeen, H. (2016). Sugar addiction: the state of the science. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(Suppl 2), 55-69. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1229-6
3. Corwin, R. L. (2011). The face of uncertainty eats. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 4(3), 174-81. doi: 10.2174/1874473711104030174

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