If we want to know if sugar addiction is a thing then we first need to know what classifies as addiction.
Addiction is typically defined as using a substance for rewarding effects, which provides a compelling incentive to repeat using the substance even if there are detrimental consequences.
Let’s take a look at some signs of addiction and how they relate to a sugar addiction:
- There is a strong urge (also known as craving) or desire to use the substance. When it comes to sugar we often tell ourselves we have a “sweet tooth” and it’s like that’s just part of who we are. Ironically, it doesn’t have to be part of who we are. We’ve just stimulated the pleasure center of our brains when we eat the sugar that now our brains consider sugar to be necessary for us.
- Continuing to use the substance occurs even though an individual knows it causes physical or psychological problems. Have you ever just felt sick after eating something sweet? You tell yourself you should stop but you just don’t seem able to? It’s part of the addictive quality of sugar.
- The individual requires larger doses of the substance to feel the desired effect. We see this when we decide to have “just one” doughnut and end up eating six. Sometimes we call this bingeing.
- The individual uses the substances longer than they had originally intended. We’ll have birthday cake and then the next day decide it’s ok to go out for milkshakes because we’ve already had birthday cake and messed things up. It’s a sneaky way that we reinforce our addiction to sugar.
- Withdrawal occurs (typically physiological withdrawal symptoms or doing something else in order to distract from the withdrawal). Maybe you can relate to trying to give up sugar as a New Year’s Resolution? You do well for a day or two and then feel horrible – headache, fatigue, slightly depressed even? These are common withdrawal symptoms. When our bodies become used to a certain amount of sugar and then that changes it’s natural for our bodies to have to go through a deconditioning phase.
- The pursuit of the substance takes up a significant amount of time. Some people will go out of their way to get dessert when they feel a craving.
Simply put, yes sugar addiction is real but it’s not impossible to manage or overcome.
We can help you kick your sugar addiction and take back control.