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- The Bottom Line
We all look for a sweet fix now and then. Whether you prefer candy, chocolate, sugary drinks, or desserts, a sweet tooth craving once in a while is relatively common. But how do you know when your cravings for a sugary treat are too much? Here are some common signs your body is addicted to sugar. Some of them you may already know, but others may surprise you.
What is sugar addiction and why should I be concerned?
In simple terms, a sugar addiction is the psychological or emotional reliance on sugary foods and drinks. When you eat sugar, your brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine and you can get a short-term general good feeling and boost of energy.
The addiction comes into play when you begin to rely on those feelings. And over time, your brain adjusts so that you need to eat more and more sugar to recreate that fleeting high.
While sugar when consumed in moderate amounts is generally little cause for concern, recent studies have shown a growing trend of excessive sugar consumption in America. For many, this can lead to multiple health and psychological issues such as heart disease, obesity, and depression.
So how do you know if your body is addicted to sugar? Let’s take a look at some common indicators:
You consume large amounts of food or drinks loaded with sugar
Eating this way is one of the most obvious telltale signs of sugar addiction. Here’s just a small sampling of foods laden with sugar.
- Juice or juice drinks
- Fruit (fresh, dried, canned or packaged)
- Sports, vitamin or energy drinks
- Protein, cereal or snack bars
- Sauces (tomato, spaghetti, barbeque)
- Condiments (ketchup)
- Salad dressing
- Low-fat processed foods
- Chocolate milk or hot cocoa
- Flavored coffee
- Iced tea
- Breakfast cereal or granola
You need to eat or snack all day
It’s not just cake and chocolate you crave. All carbs, including the carbs in fruits and vegetables, turn into sugar in your body. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, intense cravings throughout the day for bread, pasta, chips, and baked goods could be a sign of sugar addiction.
You make excuses
If you find yourself coming up with reasons to justify why it’s ok to consume specific sugary foods or drinks, it could be a telling sign you have a sugar addiction. Here are a few common excuses you may notice yourself using to explain why you’re eating or drinking sugary foods.
- It’s organic.
- It’s calorie-free.
- It’s low-fat.
- I’ll just have a little.
You hide the sugary goods
Do you hide the sweets in the back of the cupboards or the far corner of the pantry so no one can see them? Or sneak around to eat your sugary treats and desserts? Do you lie to yourself or others about what and how much you eat? These are typical signs of an addiction.
You can’t get enough
Every time you eat something sweet, your body craves more. You need more and more sugar over time to satisfy a craving, and your sugar cravings increase the longer you go without it. It could be a sign your brain has become desensitized, and you’ve built up a tolerance for sweets which can happen over time.
You’ve tried to quit and went through withdrawal symptoms
If you’ve attempted to quit or cut back before, but experienced headaches, nausea, mental fog, involuntary shaking, or mood changes when you didn’t have your typical treat, it could be signs of withdrawal. Other symptoms to look for include cravings, insomnia, muscle pain, lethargy, gas, and bloating.
More telltale signs of sugar addiction
Here are other symptoms that may indicate a sugar addiction:
- You crave sugary food and drinks or high-carb foods.
- You think about and want sugar every day.
- You eat when you’re bored or stressed, become hyper then crash or feel sluggish or fatigued.
- You’re overweight and carry excess fat around your abdomen.
- You have tooth problems.
- You have gut issues.
The Bottom Line
If any of these resonate with you, it may not necessarily mean you’re doomed to live a life with sugar addiction. But it makes you think, don’t you agree?
Now that you know some of the common signs your body is addicted to sugar, I’d love to hear from you. Can you relate to any of this? How has it affected your life and the people around you? Let me know in the comments.