I have loved sugar my whole life. Sweet things always tasted so good and made me happy. But the whole sugar thing was a love-hate relationship. That first bite was absolutely delicious, then it was an upward high for about 15 minutes, until sadly I crashed. Knowing that I would crash, I wondered why I kept dying to eat sugar? I don’t do other things that I know end badly. My cravings were so intense sometimes. I wanted the sweets but I also needed the energy. One day I finally wondered, am I a sugar addict?? That question lead to an online query, and after some serious Google searching, I came up with a resounding YES! Wow, I am a sugar addict!
My “aha” moment resulted in abstaining from added or processed sugar (not whole fruit) and losing a significant amount of weight. Almost 3 years later, the weight has stayed off, I have gone without sugar, and I felt better every day. People love to talk about weight loss. “How did you do it?” they ask. That’s a funny question because the answer people seem to be looking for is the latest fad diet. My real answer would be too long winded so I just respond with, “I gave up sugar.” They ponder that for a minute and usually say something like “Really! Hmm.” Then the losing weight conversation is over and we move on. Does that mean the idea of giving up sugar is unthinkable to them? I realize that not everyone has an issue with sugar but I also know that I am not alone.
Added Sugar is an American Issue
The reality of sugar is a much bigger discussion. As a society, we are exposed to more than we know. It is hard to get accurate figures but more than 70% of processed foods have added sugar and the average American consumes between 20-40 teaspoons of sugar daily. We can’t always taste it because we get used to the taste. We all know that desserts contain sugar but it’s in marinades, sauces, salad dressing, canned soup, salty crackers, whole wheat bread, yogurt, granola, baby formula, etc… I am not even addressing the fact that a lot of the foods we eat (chips, french fries, pasta) turn into sugar in the bloodstream, which is like eating sugar anyway. Hopefully nothing I am saying here so far is news to you.
Are You a Sugar Addict?
Here’s the real kicker – the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you crave. Is all of that hidden sugar is making you crave cake and candy? Sugar addict – is there really such a thing? Picture this, you are stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the sea and you drink the only water that is available, the ocean. Then you become thirstier. You crave water desperately. Are you a water addict? Of course not. You had salt that made you crave water. Is it possible that the sugar you eat makes you crave more sugar? I can tell you from personal experience that it does.
Food manufacturers know that sugar will make you crave more sugar. In fact, they have something called the Bliss Point, which is the point where something is as sweet as possible before it becomes too sweet. They also do a balance of sweet and salty in foods because they know that’s the ultimate addictive snack. Salted caramel anyone? Companies try to take advantage of the fact that we are genetically wired to like sugar.
When I stopped sugar, initially I was craving it like crazy. But those cravings died down. Now the smell of sugar is disgusting. Did you know there’s a smell of sugar and furthermore that bakeries pump it into the air outside their shops? The smell that used to attract me now repels me. The taste of sugar can be overwhelming. I tried to eat Wheat Thins the other day but they tasted like sugar crackers. Corn bread, which I knew might have a slightly sweet taste, tasted like cake. Not only do I not crave sugar, I really don’t like it anymore. Back to my original question – am I a sugar addict? I think not.
What should you do with this information?
Nothing if you don’t want to, however, if this is hitting a cord with you, ask yourself this:
- Are you often tired?
- Do you get a mid-day slump?
- After you eat, do you have brain fog?
- Are sweet things calling out to you and begging you to eat them?
- Do you weigh more than you want to?
- Would you like to be free of the grip that sugar has on your life?
If you answer yes to these things, you may want to consider a change. Here are some of the things I did to get started:
- Start reading food labels or better yet, eat whole unprocessed foods. I avoided anything with more than 6 sugar grams.
- Go cold turkey if you are serious and really want a change. It is much easier to suffer through complete abstinence than it is to try and wean off.
- Eat fruit like fresh berries to help with sugar cravings, no fruit juice though. Fruit juice is an excessive amount of sugar.
- Try not to substitute sugar with things that turn to sugar like pasta, chips and fries.
The first week is the hardest. Within a month you will notice days where you don’t even think about it. Feel free to post any questions in the comment section. We are happy to answer them. You can definitely be free from a life as a sugar addict.