If you’re reading this, you or someone you care about is likely battling a sugar addiction and want to learn how to break it.
Why be concerned?
Because more and more science is revealing that sugar addiction is pervasive throughout society and can be extremely dangerous.
Not until recently have we begun to fully understand that sugar addiction shares many characteristics of classic drug addiction. It’s even been said that the brain chemistry of those addicted to sugar and those addicted to drugs are virtually identical.
Come learn the fundamentals of sugar addiction, why you should break it and how you can successfully defeat it for good!
What is Sugar Addiction?
Sugar addiction is a real problem – it is not something that you imagine. If you are addicted to sugar, you probably understand that the sugary foods you eat are damaging to your health.
You may wake up in the morning feeling tired, restless, listless, and down, but that doesn’t stop you from binging on all of the foods that you know you shouldn’t. Having a loss of control over your intake of sugary foods can affect your life tremendously.
In a similar way as when you get a new job or fall in love, consuming sugar triggers reactors in your brain that releases floods of dopamine and endorphins.
Have you ever met someone who will hide or sneak boiled fish or vegetables? Probably not! However, when it comes to sugar, we are inclined to do so. Sugar contains properties that have the power to change your brain chemistry.
The word “addiction” comes from the Latin word addicere, meaning “enslaved”. This is when you lose control and something else is ruling you. Just like with other psychoactive drugs, a sugar addiction causes you to lock in to your target.
Once you’re hooked on it, you will do almost anything to get it. People steal to get sugar, people lie about eating it, and they experience tremendous consequences as a result of over-eating it.
Of course, being overweight is unhealthy and uncomfortable. If you try to lose weight while being addicted to sugar, the outcome might not be as successful as you want it to be.
One of the signs of addiction is being unable to stop yourself from partaking in it (for example, if you want to lose weight yet you continue eating sugary foods and gaining weight).
If this describes you, it does not make you a bad person or psychologically sick. You simply have a very potent brain chemistry due to the chemicals found in processed foods. There is no need to feel ashamed or hide at home; instead, learn what you need to do to fight this addiction.
This article will explain why you experience sugar addiction, and what you can do about it.
Let’s dig a little deeper!
A day in the life of a sugar addict
You wake up in the morning, and you are full of resolutions. You promise yourself that you will not eat any kind of junk food all day, and you will even skip breakfast.
Around ten o’clock in the morning, the thought of cinnamon rolls and danishes will not leave your mind, but you think, “No, I’m not going to do it.”
Then, around lunchtime, your blood sugar is so low that you’re ready to hit somebody. You start rationalizing with yourself, and by the time you go out for lunch you end up ordering pizza, McDonald’s, or some other junk food. You know it’s not good, but it’s better than ice cream or chocolate.
Then, around two o’clock, you’re ready to go to the convenience store looking for some kind of snack. You feel like you NEED this snack, but you can’t explain why you feel this way.
Now you have a latte and two cinnamon buns, because you know one is not going to be enough. You think to yourself, “I will eat a healthy dinner and nothing more tonight.”
Of course, after that you feel the initial rush of energy and endorphins for around thirty minutes or an hour before you start crashing again. Now you’re feeling very bad – restless, irritated, and sorry for yourself. You might wonder why you can’t eat the things you want to eat without feeling bad.
Now you start thinking about dinner. “I’ve already ruined this day with pizza and cinnamon buns, so I might as well eat something I really like just for tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll be good again.” So you go to the store and start picking up the foods you really like.
Then, another thought comes. “I should eat dessert today, because tomorrow I’m going to start all over and not eat any junk foods.” You go home, and you eat these things.
Now this day is really ruined, because you didn’t do what you initially set out to do in the morning. You have eaten junk food all day long.
Now another thought comes, “Why don’t I splurge tonight, and eat whatever I want and however much I want? I’m really going to start all over tomorrow.” You rush back to the store and stock up on pastries, candies, ice cream, and whatever else your heart desires.
You start eating and eating and eating, and after a couple of hours you are feeling sick to your stomach. You’re in pain, you’re miserable, and you feel guilty. But the thought in your head is, “Well, I already decided I was going to do this today, because tomorrow I will start all over.”
Now you need to take a break. You may decide to throw away all of the junk food you have left in your kitchen. You tell yourself that after you throw this food away, you will never touch anything like it again.
Then another hour or two passes and you start thinking, “It was stupid of me to throw that food in the garbage! I should’ve eaten it now, while I still can.”
So you sneak out, hoping nobody is around to see you, and you retrieve your junk food from the garbage can. You start eating again, until you feel even more ashamed, guilty, sick and miserable. Finally, you fall asleep.
Do you think this is a strange day for a sugar addict? Well, it’s not. In fact, most addicts repeat this same cycle on an almost daily basis. If you can relate to this, you will benefit from reading this article and learning about why this is happening to you, and what you can do about it.
It’s Not About Willpower
When you think about people who are addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, or gambling, you know their addictions are not easy to break.
These people may have a lot of willpower and determination regarding other things, but these addictions are about the brain’s reward system.
Once a drug hits the brain’s reward system, it can be hijacked. The drug itself is rebuilding, or rewiring, parts of the reward system, so that you lose your willpower and you do things that you don’t want to do.
You keep getting fooled by yourself, thinking, “Tomorrow I’m going to stop,” yet you keep doing and eating the things you know you shouldn’t.
A problem with addictions is that the outcome of what you’re doing is not what you want. For example, you want to lose weight, but you continue eating the things that cause you to gain weight. You have lost control.
Most of us wouldn’t like to admit when we’ve lost control over something, but that’s what is happening when you have an addiction. Once the reward system is rebuilt and the transmitters that make you feel good are rewired, you have lost control.
You need many specialized tools in order to stop this behavior.
Are You Addicted to Sugar?
Many people view sugar addiction as a bad character trait, a psychological disorder, a social disorder, an emotional problem, a way to cope with trauma or relationship problems, or even a sign of poverty.
If you are an addict, there is no other reason for this other than that your brain has become addicted to your drug of choice.
A normal eater can be overweight or have some physical problems from eating, but they are not obsessed with food, they are in control of their diet, and they don’t hide, sneak, or lie.
An emotional eater will eat more when they are stressed or under some sort of emotional strain. But still, they are not obsessed with food and they do not have the loss of control that is seen in addictions.
One of the most important things is to know what kind of eater you are before you start trying to turn your diet around. It’s important to know what kind of problem you have if you want to get the correct treatment for it. A useful tool to help you figure out if you have a sugar addiction is the UNCOPE screening test.
It will not give you a diagnosis, but by answering the questions truthfully, you can gain a clearer understanding of your situation. If you answer “Yes” to four or more of the questions in the UNCOPE screening test, that is a good indication that you may have an addiction. The next step is to learn more about what that means to you.
Many sugar addicts have already tried the common ways to cure their addiction, such as WeightWatchers, intermittent fasting, or any one of the hundreds of modern diets. Despite trying all of these methods, failure is a common outcome due to using the wrong methods.
Before you understood that you had an addiction, you may have thought it was any number of other problems. Perhaps you sought treatment for those problems, and felt discouraged when they were unsuccessful. One of the hardest things is to be honest with yourself, but it is vital to do so if you wish to receive the proper treatment.
When you recognize your addiction for what it is, you will be in the position to seek help from the right professionals and use the right tools that will put you on the fast-track to a healthier lifestyle.
How to Get Started on Freeing Yourself from Sugar Addiction
If you have related to the things in this article and you want to change your ways, what are you going to do about it?
First, get online and join support groups. There is a whole world of knowledge on the internet that will help you avoid learning things the hard way.
Next, clean your pantry. Throw out junk food, and put boundaries on yourself to avoid being around junk food. We can’t totally avoid these foods, but you don’t have to expose yourself to it.
Additionally, make a shopping list. Be aware of all of the healthy foods that will help you fight cravings and wean yourself off processed foods. Again, ask your support group for advice.
Take a walk and enjoy nature instead of keeping your head stuck in a cloud of sugar. Drink plenty of water and take plenty of breaks to rest.
Go one day at a time, one step at a time, and join the large group of people who are out there fighting your same battle with sugar addiction.