Sugar addiction manifests in every facet of our health, from the psychological to the physical. With one study showing populations across over 60 countries are consuming more than 4x the recommended intake of sugar, it’s more important than ever to look out for the signs of addiction.
The debate on whether sugar is addictive is a heated one, but researchers have found an overlap in the symptoms of drug addiction and sugar addiction. Some of these crossovers include:1. Binging on the substance.
2. Craving the substance.
3. Withdrawal symptoms.
4. Stimulation of the reward system.
That’s right – you’re not imagining it, the intense cravings and mood swings keeping you hooked on sugar are real. Sugar lights up the reward system in the brain; it works by triggering the release of dopamine and, in turn, it causes us to keep coming back for more. Excessive consumption over a long period of time puts people at especially high risk for these addictive behaviours. Here are a few signs you’re hooked on the sweet stuff:
You’re secretive about your sugar habits.
If you struggle with shame and guilt around your eating habits, this is a clear sign of an unhealthy relationship with sugar. You may hide chocolate wrappers and keep your groceries private – this can indicate an awareness of a reliance on sugar for emotional comfort, but an inability to curb the cravings can lead to shame and secretive behaviours. After all, no one would hide spinach in their wardrobe!
Binge Eating Disorder (BSD) can also be a major cause of shameful feelings around food, with 5.5% of adults struggling with the condition. Ditching sugar is especially hard for people with BSD, but help is out there – counsellors and psychologists can provide resources to help manage the symptoms.
You crave salty foods.
You may be surprised to hear a craving for salt-heavy dishes can be a sign of sugar addiction. This is because you may be lacking the proper nutrients that can be found in savoury foods. This can be a sign that it’s time to switch up your diet and cut down on nutritionally void, sugar-packed products.
Sticking to whole foods and cooking at home are easy ways to keep your intake low, and if you’re buying pre-packaged products, inspect the labels and ingredients with an eagle eye to make the healthiest choice.
You go the extra mile for sugar.
It’s midnight and you’ve woken up with a craving for a sugary snack. Do you go back to sleep and try to ignore it, or do you sprint down to your nearest supermarket to buy some chocolate? If the latter sounds like something you’d do, the signs point to addiction.
You experience unexplained symptoms.
If you suffer from headaches, fatigue, bloating and muscle pain regularly – and especially within a day of eating sugary foods – this could be a sign of addiction. While these are common symptoms with a variety of possible causes, if you find they frequently occur when you eat sugar, or even when you withdraw from sugar, this can be a tell-tale sign of an unhealthy relationship with this substance.
Do any of these signs of addiction resonate with you? If you’re ready to finally kick sugar to the curb and reclaim your life, join us for our 8-Week Program. You don’t have to fight this alone, here at I Quit Sugar we’re dedicated to supporting people on their health journeys. Check out what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to exchange tips and support.
- Guidance from our program ambassadors.
- Access to a program recommended by 94% of graduates.
Sound good? Find out more HERE.
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