Is Your Body Addicted To Sugar?
Taking note of how your body reacts to certain foods is important when reaching toward better health. Cravings can tell you a lot about your health, and one important craving to pay attention to is sugar. It’s no secret that refined sugar is highly addictive, and many people struggle with breaking the habit. But, how do you know if your body is actually, physiologically addicted? Read on to learn the signs and symptoms of a sugar addiction.
What causes a sugar addiction?
Sugar becomes addictive because of the way it makes us feel in the short term, leaving us wanting more and more of it. When we consume sugar, it triggers neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, that signal our pleasure and reward systems. We feel happy and want to continue to chase after this feeling. This creates the addictive behavior of eating more sugar to get the same rush, also known as a “sugar high”. Since our bodies naturally adjust in order to avoid being overstimulated, we have to eat more sugar next time to get the same effect. And so on and so on, until we’re caught in a vicious cycle.
Signs you may be addicted to sugar -
Craving sugary foods
When you start to crave foods with higher sugar content, it’s a sign that your brain is trying to find a sugar high from anything it can find. This isn’t only for refined sugar food cravings though. Eating a lot of starchy foods with refined wheat and other grains, or drinking more sweet drinks can be feeding the sugar addiction as well. Other cravings for salty and fatty foods can also be a sign of addiction, pointing out that your body is trying to balance out all the sweetness.
Using sugar as a reward
Another sign is that you use sugar as a reward for doing something good, whether it be going to the gym or doing something kind for a friend. Motivating yourself can be a helpful way to change your behavior, but try to find a better reward that isn’t related to food.
You overeat sugary foods, even when you don’t want to
You may find yourself eating sugar past the point of hunger or even when you don’t really want something sweet. If you’re addicted to sugar, your brain will ignore the physical symptoms of sickness like fatigue, nausea, headache, and bloat because it’s so focused on achieving that release of dopamine.
You experience withdrawal symptoms
If you go without sugar for even a few hours, do you find yourself experiencing withdrawal? This could look like headaches, fatigue, mood swings, shakiness, and brain fog. These strong reactions to lack of sugar can indicate you’re addicted to it and have become dependent on it for energy. In the long run though, this source of energy isn’t sustainable and can cause a lot of problems.
What to do if you’re addicted to sugar -
If you’re reading this and relating to these signs of sugar addiction, it’s a good idea to start reducing your sugar consumption. Start by just checking in and becoming more aware of how much sugar you’re actually consuming. What feeling, or feelings come with this? Remember there is a huge difference between sugar, and refined sugar - for instance, fresh fruit will naturally contain sugar, but our bodies process that much differently than a candy bar. Try swapping out the sweets that contain refined sugar, and replacing them with fruit, or even yogurt with fresh fruit. Cutting this type of sugar out cold turkey can cause massive withdrawal symptoms and could have you running back to the sugar before you know it.
Slow and steady wins the race, even if it’s small steps each day for a month! Once you’re able to gradually wean yourself off of refined sugars, you’ll find it much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you have any questions, or would like more guidance on taking the next step - I’d love to connect with you to schedule a complimentary consultation!