You would not expect sugar, a commonly found and natural sweetener, to be an addictive substance for some people. Sugar is found in many of our foods that we eat each and every day. While we expect to find it in foods such as cakes, cookies, candy, and other sweet treats, many manufacturers add it into foods without us even realizing it is there!
While many of us have probably been told at some point in our lives “no sweets before dinner” or “too much is bad for you”, we often do not realize just how bad too much can do to your health. When we have too much or too little sugar in our bodies, our body begins producing and changing the levels of insulin it creates, which can cause changes in your blood gluclose levels. This can greatly affect the amount of energy you have, what types of foods your body craves to eat, and even cause you to feel irritable or agitated!
The signs of being a sugar addict will vary from person to person. In general, here is a quick list of signs of addiction:
Craving sweets, even when not hungry
Going through periods of the day when you feel very energetic and also very lethargic
Having difficulty resisting urges to eat sweets
Feelings of irritability or anxiety if no sugar is consumed
Symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst, but gluclose tests indicate no diabetic problems
Physical symptoms from withdrawal may also include headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other problems.
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Overcoming your dependency on sweets can sometimes be compared to overcoming other addictions. It may be very difficult to resist temptations and the first few days for many is very rough. However, many people after just a few days can already notice a change in their mood – and many people find as an added benefit after a few weeks or months they have started to also lose weight!
If you think you may be addicted to sugar, there are some things you can do to help. The first thing to do is to cut out all added sweeteners from your diet. Not only does this mean no more foods such as cookies and cakes, but you will also need to start reading food labels rather carefully, since it is often added to many foods you would not suspect to find it in. Switching to drinking water or diet sodas may also help. You will also want to start eating more whole grains such as whole wheat bread, whole grain rice, and whole grain pasta, as the refined grains used in white bread and regular pasta can also be processed in your body as sugar.
You will also want to speak to your physician about your concerns, as there may be underlying causes for your symptoms of addiction, such as depression, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, or other health conditions and diseases. Your doctor will be able to help assist you in finding the right diet and exercise program for you to help overcome your dependency for good.