The subject of sugar addiction

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“Eating sugar in front of a sugar addict is like doing tequila shots in front of an alcoholic.” This is what a friend of mine said today. “Sugar is a drug. It makes me think, there is crack in the house and I want it.”  This is a powerful message if I’ve ever heard one. The sugar subject is a controversial one even among paleo peeps. Lately I’ve seen more and more posts pop up from people saying that we demonize sugar, although there really is nothing wrong with it. It is said, that there is no such things as sugar addiction. It’s certainly not declared a drug. And it’s in everything. Read any label in a grocery store, and chances are you’ll find some type of sugar in there. 

Why, then, do about 80% of the women I talk to, confirm that they are absolutely addicted to sugar? And how can they say with certainty that they are, in fact, addicted to it? 

Look up the word addiction in the dictionary you’ll find this: 

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physicallyhabit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

Sound familiar? No? Well, ask yourselves a few questions.

Do you find that one piece of chocolate is never enough? You have to have the whole bar!

Do you find that while eating sugar you feel absolutely wonderful… you let the sweet chocolate melt in your mouth, and when it’s gone, you have to have more?

Do you sneak candy (chocolate or other candy) whenever you get a chance… after all you just have to get the salt, the bowl, the shredded coconut from the pantry and you just so happen to run into the chocolate when you’re there?

Do you hide the wrappers from yourself and your family?

Do you feel horrified after realizing that you just devoured the whole bar of chocolate? 

Do you beat yourself up over eating the whole bar of chocolate?

How long have you been doing this? 

I can say yes to most of these questions. Yes, this is me. I’m a sugar addict. I don’t care if it’s a recognized addiction. I don’t care that others say sugar is harmless. I don’t need someone to confirm, what I know to be true. 

Sugar addiction may not be like alcohol addiction, in that it doesn’t make you drunk. It’s not like marijuana or heroine, in that it doesn’t make you feel high to the point of being unable to function in everyday life. 

Sugar addiction is sneaky. It may not have any immediate side effects on some. But it may cause headaches, bloatedness or other symptoms in others. Ultimately it will cause you to gain weight, which of course has a load of its own side effects. And the withdrawal of it causes you to crave it even more. You may find yourself walking into a store and buying that milk chocolate you swore you would never eat again, and you reason with yourself that it’s going to be okay this time. This time you’ll be better. This time you’ll have just that one piece and then put it away. 

Yes, we do need some sugar in our diets. It is the smallest form of carbs and our bodies use it for energy. It occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, and the body converts it to simple glucose. BUT refined sugars will do you no good. There is no health benefit in consuming refined sugar. Most food items containing refined sugar have little to no nutritional benefits. They are simply empty calories and therefore absolutely useless. 

I do believe that the only way to kick the “sugar habit” (ADDICTION) is to give it up for good. I know just how difficult this can be, when you are busy, and can’t always check every ingredient of every food you eat. Honestly, you probably don’t want to know what’s in restaurant foods. In some places simple French fries have more than 20 ingredients with several forms of sugar and taste enhancers of some sort. It would be close to impossible to avoid sugar 100% of the time. 

But you can largely avoid it when you shop for foods at home. If you think you are addicted to sugar, then it’s the one and only thing that will truly help you kick your habit. 

 

As you may know I’m in the process of writing a book, and it has taken on a whole new direction. I find I’m focusing much more on sugar addiction. If you have a story to tell about your own sugar addiction, I would really appreciate to hear from you. You can contact me here in the comments or send an e-mail to grokettesmusings @ gmail dot com. 

 

 

4 thoughts on “The subject of sugar addiction”

  1. Oh, guaranteed its addictive and I cannot believe anything else. I am addicted, I do fine with complete abstinence (after the couple days of discomfort –read:hell). But let me eat ONE chocolate chip & it’s all over. I’m fighting it Right Now.

    I’m amazed that people still think its completely innocent.

  2. Great post! I used to joke that I had a sugar addiction. But I don’t think I realised how true it was until I watched the West Wing, and heard the following descriptions of alcoholism:

    Leo: The problem is I don’t want one drink, I want ten drinks.
    Karen: Are things that bad?
    Leo: No.
    Karen: Then why?
    Leo: ‘Cause I’m an alcoholic.

    Leo: I’m an alcoholic. I don’t have one drink. I don’t understand people who have one drink. I don’t understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don’t understand people who say they’ve had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer?

    If you replace the words drink/glass of wine with candy/chocolate/cake/donuts then that describes me exactly. I don’t want a donut – I want a dozen. I don’t want a piece of candy – I want the whole bag. I don’t understand people who can eat a piece of chocolate and put the rest of the bar down.

    People think I’m so disciplined and healthy because I’m always turning down cake and chocolate at the office. What they don’t realise is that it’s not that I don’t want to eat them – it’s that I want them too much! I don’t take a piece of cake because I know I’ll be frustrated when I can’t have a second and third piece. I don’t dip into the huge bowl of candy in the kitchen because I know I’ll end up eating half the bowl, and there is no privacy in the workplace to purge once the sugar high wears off and the guilt arrives. If I was alone I would probably eat the whole bowl, then spend the next half hour with my head down the toilet. Harsh, but true.

    Sugar addiction may not be as obviously life-destroying as alcohol or drug addiction, but it can have some pretty awful consequences. It has caused me to develop an eating disorder – to the detriment of my physical, mental and emotional health. It has wreaked havoc on my social life, as I have to decline invitations to gatherings involving sugary food – especially if it is buffet-style (i.e. all-you-can-eat), there are no non-sugary options (e.g. kids’ parties, birthday morning teas), or eating sugar is an integral part of the exercise (e.g. meeting friends for “coffee and cake”).

    I really wish people understood this. Nobody accuses a recovering alcoholic of being “no fun” when they refuse to go drinking with their mates. But if I turn down an invitation to a “pancake party”, or pass on a piece of birthday cake, I get accused of being “a health nazi” or told I don’t need to diet and should loosen up. My poor husband gets accused of being overbearing when he tries to rein in my sugar consumption (if I have weakened and indulged), knowing that if left to my own devices I’ll make myself (literally) sick.

    Anyway, enough ranting. Thank you for doing your bit to raise awareness of sugar addiction! And thank goodness for the primal/paleo template for showing me how to eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet that (mostly) does not trigger my addiction!

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