Lifestyle   Wellness
By Lifestyle Team | 20 May 2019

Do I Have a Sugar Addiction?

Sugar Addiction slug Do I have a Sugar Addiction

Whether you have an affinity for cookies, cakes, or sodas, they all contain a fair bit of sugar. The same applies to many of the foods and beverages we consume on a daily basis. However, avoiding sugar altogether can be difficult if you're trying to lose weight or have a desire to eat healthily. Further complicating matters, sugar can also be addictive for some people.

According to harvard.edu, it is not uncommon for some people to have an emotional or psychological dependence when it comes to sugary foods and beverages. The Harvard study also found that more than 75 percent of Americans consume an excessive amount of sugar and are believed to be addicted to this delightful sweetener. It is, however, worth noting that sugar in moderation is fine. And best of all, it can help keep your favorite foods and beverages from tasting bland. In this article, we take a closer look at what constitutes a sugar addiction and steps that you can take to overcome one.

DO I HAVE A SUGAR ADDICTION?

The signs of sugar addiction are not always immediately apparent. However, the most recognizable sign that signals a problem with sugar is an unyielding compulsion to consume large amounts of foods or beverages that contain it. This compulsion is not too dissimilar from binge eating whereby an individual will eat large amounts of food, typically in one sitting despite the health risks involved in doing so. This desire to consume sugary foods and drinks is often fueled by cravings or as a way to cope with stress or other negative feelings. In some cases, the desire to consume these foods and drinks is nothing more than a way to combat boredom. Regardless of what drives the addiction, consuming large amounts of sugar can adversely affect both your physical and mental health.

SUGAR ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH

It is not difficult to recognize the parallels between substance use disorders and sugar addiction. After all, many people will reach for these substances as a means of distracting themselves from the struggles in their lives. The biggest difference between sugar addiction and other forms of addiction is that being addicted to sugar is rarely seen as life-threatening. Despite being seen as harmless, sugar addiction is often linked to anxiety, binge eating, and emotional eating. It is also worth noting that many people need help when it comes to breaking their addiction to sugar, which is no different than needing help with overcoming any other form of addiction.

HOW SUGAR AFFECTS THE BODY

From a physiological standpoint, sugar affects every cell in the brain, particularly the reward pathways. Consuming large amounts of sugar further reinforces those feelings of reward and often culminates with addiction. Additionally, consuming too much sugar can lead to a spike in blood glucose levels, which, in turn, can result in hyperglycemia. Some of the health problems commonly associated with hyperglycemia include heart disease, vision problems, and kidney disease. Sugar addiction also has a genetic component in that it can be passed down from parent to their children, according to Scientific American, a well-regarded and popular science magazine. That said, some people may be more at risk than others when it comes to developing a sugar addiction.

SUGAR ADDICTION AND WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

Whether you choose to go it alone or seek help for your sugar addiction, you will be faced with a number of withdrawal symptoms once you have given up sugar. Some of the more common symptoms include

  • Lack of energy

  • Mood instability

  • Cravings

  • Irritability

Of course, the severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person. The more sugary foods and drinks a person consumes, the more intense these symptoms will become once they have stopped consuming them. If you recognize that you have a problem with sugar, it is best to seek the help of a dedicated treatment specialist, preferably one that specializes in co-occurring disorders to help you end your relationship with sugar.

However, if you choose to go it alone, it is in your best interest to slowly wean yourself off of sugary foods and drinks as this will help minimize withdrawals symptoms. The best way to start is by substituting sugary drinks with cold, refreshing water. Also, it would be a good idea to forgo candies, cookies, and pastries as well. The first step toward recovery should start with asking yourself "do I have a sugar addiction?" and then being honest with yourself when you come up with an answer to this question.

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