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Overcoming Sugar Addiction

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Can people really be addicted to sugar?

Although the words sugar and addiction are not often seen together, yes, people can become a sugar addict. Rosalie Moscoe, RHN, RNCP, suffered from an addiction to sugar. When her kids were little she would bake them a batch of cookies and half of the batch of chocolate chip cookies would be gone by the time they got home from school.

She loved cheesecake and chocolate (she still likes chocolate, but now she gets the healthy kind). You can get to a point when you can't do without it.

What are some sugar addiction symptoms?

* You know you are a sugar addict if:
* You have your own private stash of candy, chocolate or g oodies
* You have to have a muffin or donut every day
* You go to a party and you are the first one at the dessert table, and you just can't wait until it comes
* You can't live without chocolate
* You need to have a sweet cereal every morning

There are some people who believe sugar addiction is akin to alcohol addiction. Rosalie has known people who have conquered their alcohol addiction only to become addicted to sugar. Really they are both carbohydrates- it's a carbohydrate addiction.

A general test for any type of addiction is, if you can't live without it, you are probably addicted.

What are some health problems associated with sugar addiction?

Sugar addicts can have a variety of health problems can include hypoglycemia, which is a low blood sugar health issue. What happens is you eat the sugar which gives you a hit to the brain, which influences a nerve transmitter serotonin and makes you feel really good. That's why people reach for something sweet, because it gives them a hit to their pleasure centre in their brain. The problem is that when you reach for a simple sugar like a candy, you only get that "high" for a short time and then you start to crash. By half an hour you may not be feeling so good and 2 hours later you may feel like you need another sugar hit.

Dr. JJ sees a lot of people in his clinic who, when he asks them about their energy level, say that by three or four pm, they feel like they are in a slump, or have mental fogginess. Then if Dr. JJ pulls them off of any carbohydrates or sugars, those patients tend to coast through the afternoon with plenty of energy.
Depression is another potential health problem for sugar addicts, as they are trying to bring their mood back up by reaching for something sweet.

Sometimes sugar can deplete your body of vitamins and minerals. Plus after eating a lot of sugar, your immune system can go down, so if you are eating a lot of sugar you can get a lot of colds.

How can you overcome sugar addiction?

Overcoming a sugar addiction is possible! To break sugar addiction, you need to:

Reach for complex carbohydrates, like whole grains or apples or berries (fruit that are not too sweet).

Have protein, like nuts or seeds, handy and eat this when you get a sugar craving or are going into sugar withdrawl. Protein is a good stabilizer for your body.

Exercise (it can help decrease your cravings and burn calories)

Take Vitamin C, B Vitamins and chromium to help reduce sugar cravings

To watch the video, click here.

What's Dr. JJ taking today?

Dr. JJ is taking a Multivitamin for blood sugar control (indirectly). Multivitamins contain B Vitamins, which are very good for carbohydrate metabolism, and minerals that help to manage your blood sugar levels, like chromium.

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for providing interesting beneficial and essential information. Really today people, especially teenagers have become sugar addict. Teenage child take the lots of chocolates in a day which is very harmful. Well no doubt that sugar in high quantity invites so many mentally and physically problems. This is really nice post.

September 21, 2011 - 2:29am
EmpowHER Guest

One way that I beat my need for sugar was to drink plenty of water. I took it one day at a time, it was a gradual process for me. Everyone is different and you have to find out the real reasons why you are consuming so much sugar.

Sugar addiction can be beat. It's just like any other addiction out their.

August 22, 2010 - 5:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

Water. I was drinking a cup of coffee, a glass of orange juice and a cup of tea everyday then realized that that was all the fluid I was intaking all day. I was told my sugar cravings were often triggered by thirst! Turns out after I started forcing myself to drink glasses of water periodically throughout the day, I stopped craving muffins, candy bars and donuts as much. Now I can actually go a day, or two, or three without even wanting candy. That's huge for me and the Snickers bar a day I used to eat!

January 23, 2010 - 3:05pm

One difficulty with sugar addiction is avoiding all the many foods that include it.

Foods with simple carbs -- white flour, for instance -- act exactly as sugar in the body. And just avoiding all the products with fructose or corn syrup seems impossible sometimes.

Does a sugar addiction act like other addictions after you quit? Meaning, with smoking or drinking, one cigarette or drink can take you back to all your addictive habits.

Is there a halfway point? A "moderation" point? Or is it all or nothing with someone who's truly addicted to sugar?

December 30, 2009 - 8:26am
EmpowHER Guest

I was definitely addicted to sugar. As a child, I would eat sugar until I felt sick. When I was in college, my cravings for sugar even led to bulimia, where I would binge on massive amounts of sugar and simple carbs. Ugh.

A few years ago, I committed to giving up sugar for good. I was tired of obsessing about food, the up and down weight, the shame and self loathing, the sadness about turning into witch mommy from the sugar (and then lashing out at my kids,) and hiding from the world because I was recovering from another sugar hangover.

I live a joyful sugar free lifestyle right now, and am amazed at how differently I feel.

Giving up sugar takes a lot of commitment - particularly in the beginning; my first week without sugar was pretty tough! But once you stop eating sugar it's amazing how the cravings disappear.

For more help, I strongly recommend reading Kathleen des Maisons' book, Potatoes not Prozac, which explains the science of sugar addiction, and why some of us are so sensitive to sugar while others are not. (If you're someone who can bake cookies just to eat the dough, you're probably sugar sensitive.)

I also wrote a book on how I gave up sugar, Overcoming Sugar Addiction, which you can download for free at my website, www.firstourselves.com I also have a sugar support program to help you find peace and joy in sugar abstinence.

If I can give up sugar, anyone can. I honestly can't imagine going back to sugar, nor do I miss it. I enjoy the freedom I know have to live a life of love and service - instead of being fixated on my next sugar hit.

Warmly, Karly Pitman

December 29, 2009 - 12:12am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi Jennifer,

Increasing protein intake is definitely a great way to curb sugar addiction because it provides the amino acids that are necessary to produce the neurotransmitters that the addiction is based on. A great book on this topic is "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross.

For additional tips on curing sugar addiction, you might enjoy my article about eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet.

May 20, 2009 - 9:13am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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