Every day many people add a little, seemingly harmless, white substance to their coffee, tea, cereal, and smoothies. Sugar sweetens our food and brings us pleasure. You wouldn’t criminalize eating sugar. After all, sugar is legal and part of the average diet, right?
The truth is that in the past few years several studies have concluded that the pleasure centers in our brains that process sugar are the same ones that process opiates, and these studies have proven sugar to be equally as addictive as cocaine. According to the USDA, Americans now consume 130 pounds of sugar per person. Whereas in the 1700’s, it was only 4 pounds per person. Sugar addiction is real and rampant, and while you may joke about enjoying your sweets a little too much, you may not realize how addiction to sugar has insidiously overtaken your ability to give it up for good.
Here are 5 signs that you are addicted to sugar:
- Symptoms of withdrawal. This is a telltale sign of any addiction. Do you experience headaches, irritability, or cravings whenever you try to go without sugar for a few days? If so, your body is probably hooked on sugar and suffering the effects of withdrawal.
- Going on the wagon. If you try to quit eating sugar and then go back on your decision time and time again, you’re probably addicted to the sweet stuff. Many people give up sugar for health reasons, and that’s a good thing; but those who try to quit repeatedly are usually going back to it due to physical and emotional addiction.
- One is never enough. People who aren’t addicted can eat one and be satisfied. Those addicted to sugar can’t stop at one. For the sugar addict who lacks self-control, “moderation” is an elusive myth.
- Sugar binges. Spending the evening in front of the TV with a pint of ice cream, a pan of brownies, and a bowl of popcorn (gotta have salty with the sweet) is the sugar addict’s idea of fun. But bingeing until you’re stuffed or feel sick is a sign of a serious problem. The health risks of bingeing on sugar are many, and the effect on one’s self-esteem and social life can be devastating.
- Lying about how much you’ve eaten. People who aren’t addicted to sugar enjoy dessert once in a while. They don’t head-trip about it! Sugar addicts, on the other hand, feel a twinge of guilt every time they eat sugar. They are ashamed of their sugar intake (usually because they can’t control it) and end up lying about it to their friends and family. Addiction causes some pretty strange behavior; sugar addicts eat all the goodies in the fridge and then sneak out to the store to replace them, hoping no one will notice. Or they go through the drive-thru and tell the check out guy that they’re purchasing for several people.
Excessive sugar consumption is a major cause of health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. It has also been proven to contribute to belly fat, depression, migraines, poor eyesight, and premature aging.
Getting free from the vice-grip of sugar isn’t as hard as you might think. Getting support as you begin your journey will make it much easier. There are also many delicious, sugar-free alternatives to the foods you love, and great recipes that will make you happy as you nourish your body.
You deserve to feel good and look good, and kicking the sugar habit will help you do both!