Do you have the urge to eat something sweet after every meal? Do you often crave sugary drinks like soda or sweet tea? You may be showing signs of sugar addiction. Sugar addiction is more common than you think and can be as addictive as alcohol or any illicit drug.
How is Sugar Addiction Developed?
Eating sugary snacks causes us to have a spark of energy and a short-term high. Our brain views sugar as an award, making us want it more and more. If you consistently eat sugar, you are reinforcing that reward which can lead to an addiction.
Being addicted to sugar will make it very difficult for you to make the dietary improvements needed to improve your health. Sugar addiction also puts you at risk for various health problems, such as:
- Type II Diabetes
- Weight Gain
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Higher triglycerides and bad cholesterol
Signs and Symptoms of Sugar Addiction
There are various signs and symptoms that your daily sugary treats may be causing you to be addicted. Symptoms of sugar addiction include:
- Craving sugary drinks like soda or sweet tea
- Binge-eating sugary snacks on a regular basis
- Eating sugary sweets even when you’re not hungry
- Making excuses to have sugar
- Eating sweets after accomplishing any goal
- Hiding your sugar habit
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you don’t eat sweets for long periods of time
How to Break The Addiction
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average person eats about 77 grams of sugar a day which equals to about 60 pounds of sugar a year. For most American women, AHA recommends no more than about 100 calories of sugar per day or 24 grams. For most American men, they recommend no more than 150 calories of sugar per day or 36 grams.
Breaking a sugar addiction is hard but not impossible. There are many ways to do it, such as:
- Getting more sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to cravings.
- Know the difference between a craving and hunger. Ask yourself, “if the only thing I had to eat right now was an apple, would I eat it? If the answer is “no,” then it’s probably a craving and not hunger.
- Replace a craving with a healthy substitute
- Increase water intake
- Avoid condiments that have added sugar, like ketchup, mustard, jarred salsa, and marinara sauce