Sugar addiction is commonly misconceived as a sweet tooth, or sugar cravings, but the fact is that sugar can be very addictive. One of the major problems in the western diet is that sugar is everywhere and in many foods, which makes it extremely difficult for those who simply cannot get enough sugar. While sugar addiction is certainly not considered a physical dependence it may very well be a psychological dependence. There is much more research that needs to be conducted in order to find out the reason some people fall into sugar addiction.
The major problem in consuming too much sugar is that it can affect health negatively, cause obesity, tooth decay and diabetes. Interestingly, a study conducted by the Society for Neuroscience showed that the same area of the brain affected by drugs is also affected by sugar. This area is known as the opiad receptors and the preliminary study suggested that consuming sugar has the same potential to be addictive just like opiates that drug abuse users suffer.
Signs of Sugar Addiction
Some of the most prevalent signs of sugar addiction are very similar to those of drug addiction. The following signs can be used for a self-assessment to determine whether or not you may have a sugar addiction.
- If you do not have sugar for a specified amount of time, do you find yourself becoming irritable?
- Have you tried to cut down on your sugar consumption and found yourself right back where you started almost immediately?
- Do you crave sweets and become more irritated the longer you wait to get them?
- Have you noticed yourself craving more and more sugar as time goes by?
- Have you ever eaten an entire box/package of sweets/cookies and tried to hide evidence of your overconsumption?
- Have you ever binged on sweets to the point where you literally felt sick to your stomach?
- If someone offers you a cookie or a sweet, do you have a hard time saying no
- Has your mind ever been so fixed on a specific sugary sweet that you went far out of your way to get it?
- Does your mood change depending on the amount of sugar you have consumed?
If you answered “yes” to 5 or more of these questions, it is likely that sugar addiction has taken hold.
Sugar Addiction Treatment
One aspect to keep in mind is that addiction and sugar addiction should not be taken lightly especially when you consider the negative affects it has on health. When it is true, you probably are not going to find a treatment facility for sugar addicts or even a 12-step program, the truth is, the addiction has serious consequences. Still many people have described sugar just like a drug user describes his or her drug abuse.
It is vitally important to realize that once you rid your body of the sugars, you will not continue craving the sugars as you do now. Therefore, the first week may be your most difficult. The longer you are away from sugar the less you will crave it and the healthier you will become. Here are some tips for quitting sugar:
- Make sure you drink plenty of water in order to flush the sugars from your system. Avoid drinking fruit juices since many of these are loaded with sugar, which will only feed the addiction.
- Avoid eating out at restaurants until you have the addiction under control, because many of the foods contain sugar. Therefore, make your own foods, using no sugar. Find substitutes such as honey which is very sweet and has many health benefits.
- Do not eat any foods that have sugar, high fructose corn sweeteners, or anything that has been processed.
- Alcohol is loaded with sugar, so you need to give your system a break from any alcoholic beverages because this will just fuel the sugar addiction.
Benefits of Breaking the Sugar Addiction
The health benefits of breaking your sugar addiction are stunning and include anxiety relief, hormonal stabilization, help with ADHD, lessens heart disease, fewer yeast infections, decrease risk of spastic colon, reduces body pain, and helps eliminate fatigue.
Once your body is cleansed of the sugars, you may be able to have a sweet every now and again. Sugar in and of itself is not harmful, but massive amounts of sugar is detrimental to your health.