Are you constantly reaching for sugary treats? Is sugar addiction destroying your life?
No matter how much you resolve to cut back, as soon as you eat something sugary, you just can’t stop!
Is it Possible to be Addicted to Sugar?
The surprising answer is yes…
…sugar addiction is just as real as any other addiction.
And although you may consider sugar as harmless, it actually triggers the release of ‘dopamine’.
This chemical messenger is responsible for your feelings of pleasure.
And it plays a significant role in how people become addicts.
In fact, according to research, the dopamine rush caused by sugar gives you a very real “high” by stimulating the same area of the brain as heroin.
And it only gets worse:
Consuming too much sugar is linked to:
- Liver disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Autoimmune disease
- Heart disease
Sugar Addiction is Out of Control
The average adult ingests a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar each day.
Yet the latest guidelines from the ‘American Heart Association’, recommend adults should consume no more than 9 teaspoons a day (6 for women).
And health officials now advise giving children water, rather than fruit juice.
Everything in Moderation?
This message is bad advice if you’re a sugar addict.
An alcoholic is not encouraged to drink ‘in moderation’.
So if you’re obese, or suspect you may have sugar addiction…you should eliminate sugar from your diet.
Only abstinence will conquer your sugar addiction for good.
Clearly then, one of the best things anyone can do for their health…is to quit their sugar addiction.
The good news?
You’ll feel awesome, avoid the artificial highs and lows, lose weight, have more energy and lower the risk of metabolic disease.'Everything in Moderation', is bad advice for sugar addicts. Alcoholics can't drink ‘in moderation’.Click To Tweet
How to Quit Your Sugar Addiction
Firstly, don’t go cold turkey…you need to give your body time to adjust.
Any sudden attempts can cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, and even headaches.
The answer is to gradually reduce your intake of sugar over the next 7 days.
15 Ways to Quit Your Sugar Addiction
1. Cut Out the Sugary Drinks
Start breaking your sugar addiction by cutting out sugary drinks.
Most people don’t realize how much sugar they’re drinking.
For instance, a 12 oz. can of Coke contains 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar.
That single can alone is a third more than the recommended limit for adult women.
Instead, opt for water, herbal or fruit teas and unsweetened tea and coffee instead.
Replace sugar in your tea and coffee with natural flavorings such as vanilla, lemon, mint, stevia, chicory, ginger or cinnamon.
And try adding lemon, mint or cucumber to liven up water.
Tap to Read: 14 Foods That Burn Fat
2. Artificial Isn’t Any Better
Artificial sweeteners may be calorie free, but at what cost?
Many experts believe artificial sweeteners actually increase sugar cravings.
Because unlike natural sugar, artificial sweeteners contain no calories
This means that your hunger isn’t satisfied, and you end up craving more.
In addition, chemical sweeteners are more intensely sweet than natural sugar.
This can de-sensitize your taste buds, meaning that you require greater amounts of sugar just to satisfy your cravings.
3. Cleanse Your Home of Junk Foods
You need to stop eating those cookies, cakes, and candies if you’re going to quit your sugar addiction.
But unlike many hidden sugars, these offenders are easy to spot.
Make it easy by clearing your home of those sweet junk foods.
If you don’t stock them, you won’t be tempted to eat them.
Related: The Best 25 Foods for Diabetics
4. Stop Eating Simple Carbs
Carbs like white pasta, crackers, and white bread are all simple carbs.
And while you may not think of them as sugary, they actually act like sugar in the body and can fuel cravings.
Trade them out for veggies, whole wheat pasta and whole grains.
5. Figure Out Where Sugar is Hiding
You’ve eliminated the sugary drinks, junk foods, and simple carbs.
However, sugar can hide in the most unlikely places.
Root out where sugar is lurking by reading food labels.
Even if the label doesn’t specify “sugar,” it can be added to foods in many different forms.
Condiments, salad dressings, and sauces can be sneaky sources of sugar that may surprise you.
Ketchup, for instance, usually lists ‘sugar’ as its second or third ingredient!
A single serving can, therefore, contain as much as a teaspoon of sugar.
Look at the labels for the following terms, particularly if they’re listed within the first few ingredients of the food product:
- Cane sugar
- Agave syrup
- Corn sugar
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Golden syrup
- Glucose solids
- Turbinado sugar
- Brown sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Corn sweetener
Keep reading those labels. If it’s not a whole food, assume there’s some form of hidden sugar.
Even something as harmless as a slice of bread contains as much as ¾ teaspoon of added sugar!
See also: 10 Low Carb Food Swaps for Weight Loss
6. Do a Better Job of Managing Stress
You may unconsciously turn to sugar when you’re stressed.
So, if you’re working to kick the sugar habit in a week, work on managing your stress.
When things feel overwhelming, it’s easy to turn to that “feel good” power of sugar.
Find other ways to deal with stress like doing yoga or meditating when you start craving sugar.
Related: Stress Relief Remedies: How to Avoid Stress
7. Get Plenty of Sleep
Research suggests that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to crave sugar.
Not getting enough sleep sends your hunger hormones into a tailspin.
In short, lack of sleep lowers your ‘satiety hormone’, leptin, whilst increasing your ‘hunger hormone’, ghrelin.
This makes it twice as likely that you’ll experience hunger pangs if you’re low on shut-eye.
Grab 7-9 hours of sleep each night and you’ll find it easier to resist sugar.
8. Add Self-Care While You Sugar Detox
While you’re detoxing your body from sugar, add some self-care to your life.
When you’re eliminating something from your life, you need to add something good back.
Fill that void with self-care and self-love.
Add a hobby, spend some time pampering yourself, and nourish your body with something that gives you pleasure and helps you relax.
9. Keep Blood Sugar Levels Stable
Keep your blood sugar levels stable by making sure you eat protein and healthy fats with each snack and meal.
This may be difficult if you’ve been conditioned into thinking that fat is bad for you.
However, healthy fats and proteins will keep you feeling full for hours and provide you with abundant, clean energy.
Best of all, stable blood sugar levels will prevent you from craving sugar.
Start the day right and ditch sugar-laden breakfast cereals.
And don’t be duped by those marketed as healthy.
Granola and muesli are amongst the worst offenders.
Even high-fiber cereals such as bran flakes contain as much as 5 grams per serving.
That’s more than one teaspoon of sugar.
Instead, enjoy a healthy breakfast of whole foods such as eggs, avocados, oatmeal or Greek yogurt.
View: 20 Ketogenic Recipes for Losing Weight
10. Chew Sugarless Gum
When those sugar cravings come on strong, try chewing sugarless gum.
Some studies show that chewing a piece of gum can reduce cravings.
It keeps your mouth busy and has a bit of sweetness, making it easier to resist sugary treats.
**UPDATE** Sugarless no longer has to mean ingesting harmful chemicals such as aspartame.
You can now get hold of many 100% natural sugar-free gums. Check out this article for 8 of the best.
11. Curb Cravings with Exercise
There’s no way to sugar-coat it:
That first week will be the hardest as you work to break your sugar habit.
So when you have a craving, get up and go exercise!
Just a 10-minute walk and a change of scenery can take your mind off the sugar craving.
And if you’re trying to lose weight, that extra exercise will triple your results!
Related: 13 Exercises That Burn More Fat Than Running
12. Make Sure You’re Eating Regularly
You may already know the importance of correct meal frequency when quitting your sugar addiction, but it bears repeating.
Eating every three to five hours and choosing healthy options, is good for both your blood sugar levels and your will-power.
If you wait too long between your meals, or skip one entirely, you’re much more likely to reach for sugary foods to satisfy your hunger.
Worse still, this recent study, reveals the modern-day trend of meal skipping can lead to obesity and type II diabetes.
Related: 18 Low Carb Meals for Weight Loss
13. Drink Plenty of Water
Sometimes, when you’re craving sugary snacks, it’s actually an indication that you’re thirsty.
Try drinking a full glass of water when those cravings hit.
Keeping your body hydrated can make a huge difference.
14. Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
Make sure you keep healthy snacks handy.
Bags of veggies, a piece of healthy fruit, and other wholesome snack choices can curb hunger fast and quell the threat of a sugar binge.
See also: 15 Zero Calorie Foods for Weight Loss
15. Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done
Promise yourself a reward if you successfully break your sugar habit in a week.
Just don’t make it a food reward!
It will reward you for eating unhealthy foods just as equally as healthy foods!
Make it something you really want, such as a massage, a new pair of workout shoes, or tickets to a show you’ve been wanting to see.
The Bottom Line
In this culture of confusion, the real culprit of weight gain – the development of triglycerides – often goes unnoticed.
And for decades, dietary fat was blamed for obesity and heart disease.
But fresh, new evidence is pointing to the increasing role of sugar in raising triglyceride levels…NOT fat.
Here’s the deal:
Your body does not need added sugar.
There is not a single aspect of added sugar that is healthy.
It provides only ‘empty’ calories (energy) without offering any nutritional value.
What your body does need, however, is glucose. And it’s able to convert this easily from any healthy carbohydrates that you eat.
Remember that many so-called ‘health’ foods are in fact, swimming in sugar.
Always read the labels, especially where claims of ‘low fat’ are made.
What do you think food manufacturers are replacing the fat with?
And don’t forget this handy guide when you’re reading food labels:
Four grams of sugar, equals one teaspoon of sugar.
If a food contains sugar in the first 3 ingredients, or more that one type of sugar (see above list), then you should avoid it.
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This post is very helpful and insightful. The side effect of sugar in the body is bad but if well used is resourceful to the body too. Thanks for sharing this great post.
Hi Rawlings! Thanks for sharing. Glad you liked the post.
Good article but I disagree with #10 as sugar free gum usually contains aspartame.
Hi Pete. You’re absolutely right and make a good point. There’s plenty of sugar-free gum now available without all the hidden chemical nasties such as aspartame if you do a quick Google search. I’ll update the post with a link thanks to your comment. Cheers, and keep on reading and commenting! Peter. 8 Best Chewing Gums (Not Packed With Chemicals)