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Are you addicted to sugar? Physical and behavioral signs

Updated on February 28, 2014

Is it possible to be addicted to sugar?

Addiction is something we normally associate with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. We see it as a weakness and we see it as something suffered by only a small percentage of the population. Addiction is never something we see in ourselves.

But what if you are wrong? The truth is: if you’ve struggled with your weight and your diet, then something is wrong. That is a fact. You aren’t fat because someone is sabotaging your efforts to be thin. You aren’t fat because greedy profit-hungry corporate executives are slyly feeding you bad food. You are fat because of you. And if you have an addiction to food, then you need to recognize that you are an addict and that addiction needs to be addressed before you resolve your weight issues.

These articles I write concentrate solely on sugar consumption and its effect on our weight and on our health. So in this article, I’m only going to concentrate on sugar addiction. So if you are struggling with your weight and suspect you might have a problem with sugar, see if any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar:

Some physical signs to look for

  • You would describe yourself as someone who often feels tired. Typically, you feel at your most tired in the afternoon.
  • You often feel full of energy after eating sugar, and you use that energy to help you get things done or to lift your mood.
  • You have more tooth decay for your age than would be expected. Your dentist might have even lectured you about not eating sugary foods.
  • You have a tendency to mood swings
  • When a sugar craving hits, you often feel nervous, shaky or just on edge.
  • You feel too lethargic to exercise.
  • When you eat sugary food, you find it difficult to stop, even if you are full, and tend to eat far more than you planned to.
  • If you see sight of sugary food – whether on an advert, in a restaurant, or when with a friend, thoughts of that type of food trigger a craving
  • You feel hungry again 30 minutes after eating sugary food

Some behavioral signs to look for

  • When you go out to a restaurant, you look at the sweets menu before you order your main course. If you don’t get a sweet after the meal, you feel deprived.
  • You hide evidence of your sugar consumption from friends and family, or you lie about what you’ve eaten
  • You feel out of control when you eat sugary food, and have a feeling of guilt after you’ve eaten.
  • If you limit a certain type of sugary food from your diet, you overcompensate by eating other types of sweeter foods e.g. fruit
  • Sugary food is typically the thing that breaks your latest diet plan
  • If you have sugary food in your house, you will eat it.
  • You can’t open a family pack of cookies/chocolate/cake without eating the whole thing.
  • The idea of quitting sugar for the rest of your life fills you with fear.


What to do if you feel you have a sugar addiction

Here’s the tough news. If you have an addiction, you will have that for life. The truth is, it takes time for someone to become an addict. It takes, in many cases, years of conditioning to make you equate sugary food with all things great in your life. So it isn’t something you can just undo.

Now here’s the good news. You can beat an addiction, and an addiction to sugar is far easier to beat than an addiction to a drug or to cigarettes. However, to be successful you have to firstly be honest with yourself. If you know you are the type of person who has cravings for sugar then you cannot diet by simply reducing your calorie intake and still have sweet food on occasion. You know that you will just overeat and break that diet and you’ll be back to square one. To really quit sugar, you need to remove it from your diet. And not just the obvious culprits like cookies and cakes. You also need to check the nutritional labels on some of your so-called savory foods to see if they contain sugar. You might be surprised at how many do and I’ve listed some surprising ones in this article.

There is life after sugar. For a sugar addict, the idea of quitting can feel depressing. But you will surprise yourself. What you will discover is that you have more energy, more focus, and you won’t experience those awful mood swings. You’ll enjoy food and enjoy dining out, and you won’t feel disappointed to leave a restaurant without dessert. You’ll look better, your skin will improve, your health will improve, and you’ll lose weight. And it’s those things that will keep you going when times get tough. You’ll feel too good in yourself to go back to those dark days of a sugar addiction.


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    • Katieannrose profile image

      Katie Rose 3 years ago

      I'm exactly the same. I just don't buy those things anymore because I know I will eat them!

    • THarman7 profile image

      Terry Harman 3 years ago from Lacey Washington

      Interesting hub! I have had a sugar addiction all my life and have to watch very closely at what I eat. If I eat 3 cookies in a day then the next day I crave them badly and the next day and the next. It takes about 4 or 5 days for me to get over 3 cookies. So I dont buy sweets and bring them home I purchase low fat yorgurt and replace my cravings with that. Thank you for sharing!