Sugar doesn't just taste good. It can turn into a real addiction—as real as a drug or alcohol addiction.
The average American consumes 32 tsps of sugar every single day, while the World Health Organisation recommends women stick to just 6 tsps per day.
This means most people are eating over five times the recommended amount of sugar every day.
But just because you have a sugar addiction doesn't mean you're stuck with it. We've put together this guide to help you spot the subtle signs of sugar addiction, and how you can start to cure yourself. Let's get started!
How Does a Sugar Addiction Work?
Breaking free of sugar addiction is difficult because, like most addictions, there are two types of dependence your body forms with sugar- psychological and emotional. Here's a closer look at each one.
When you eat sugar, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel good. Sugar stimulates the exact same areas of the brain as many drugs, like cocaine or heroin.
Because of this, your body will start to crave more and more sugar to replicate those good feelings. If you stop eating sugar, you'll even experience withdrawal symptoms - headaches, disrupted sleep, lethargy, and more.
Sugary foods taste good. People enjoy eating sugar, which means it's often the first thing they reach for when they're feeling stressed or upset.
The result? Sugar serves as a “quick fix” for problems, or when you need to feel comforted. It takes your mind away from the stress of the day and gives you something enjoyable to focus on instead. Using sugar as a comfort creates an emotional dependence on sugar, which makes it even harder to quit.
Why Being Addicted to Sugar Is a Problem
Overindulging with sugar can lead to several serious health problems.
When you consume large amounts of sugar, your body can't process it fast enough. Your body is forced to store the extra sugar as fat, which can lead to obesity. If you keep eating large quantities of sugar for an extended period of time, it can even become toxic.
But that's just one of the adverse health effects of too much sugar.
You can also develop metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, and it can increase your risk for several other conditions, including heart disease, depression and cancer.
This is especially true if you're eating refined sugar, which is more dangerous than natural sugars.
Enjoying a sugary treat every once in a while isn't usually a problem, but habitual overindulgence can pose a real problem.
Signs You Have a Sugar Addiction
There are a few simple ways you can tell if you have a sugar addiction. If you fit any of these signs, you may need to start avoiding sugar and choosing healthier options.
Hide How Much You Eat
Are you embarrassed by the amount of sugar you eat? Do you try to hide it from other people? Feeling shame about your sugar consumption is a sign you're eating too much.
Have to Eat More and More
If you have to eat more and more sugar to satisfy your craving, you're eating too much. As your body gets used to the amount of sugar you're eating, you'll have to increase your sugar intake just to get those same good feelings.
Eat Sugar When You're Bored or Stressed
Is the first thing you reach for when you're bored a sugary treat? You're eating sugar even though you aren't hungry. This “sugar default” can also be the reason you eat sugar when you're stressed or upset.
Start Craving Salty Foods Instead
If you eat too much sugar, your body will start to lack the nutrition it needs. As a result, you may find that you start craving salty foods as well. If you notice your cravings are turning saltier, your body might be trying to tell you that it’s becoming desperately undernourished.
How to Cure Your Sugar Addiction
Cutting sugar out of your life can be more challenging than you might think. It’s increasingly insidious, and hiding in places you wouldn’t expect. The first step is to make a conscious decision to avoid sugar (and then to follow through).
Here are a few other things you can do that'll help you stay away from sugar.
Clean out Your House
Start by finding all the sugar treats in your home and getting rid of them. Please don't buy other sugary snacks to replace them with, either! Look for healthy, sugar-free options, and keep your pantry stocked with them for when cravings strike.
Distract Yourself When You Get a Craving
When you get a sugar craving, do something to distract yourself and take your mind off sugary treats. You can do some chores, turn on a movie, go outside, journal, or strike a few yoga poses.
Working out is an excellent distraction strategy since it releases endorphins, which will make you feel good without the sugar.
Eat Healthy, Filling Meals
Do your best to eat regular, healthy and filling meals every day. This will prevent you from getting hungry outside of mealtimes, which means you won't be as tempted to eat sugary snacks.
If you’re not sure how much sugar your healthy options contain, try this simple formula: take the amount of carbohydrates on the ingredient label and divide it by 4. The resulting number is how many teaspoons of sugar are actually in the product.
Choose a Healthy Option Instead
If you do get hungry during the afternoon or evening, choose healthy options instead of sugary snacks. For example, fruits, berries, and sugar-free gum often satisfy the craving for sweets, and Smart Vine is your healthy alternative to sugary wines.
Always Be Alert
Sugar can pop up in foods where you might not expect to find it.
For example, many wines are full of refined sugar. Make sure you read the labels of the foods you buy to avoid accidentally feeding your sugar addiction.
But this doesn't mean you have to give up wine too.
We make delicious wines that only contain one (very lonely) gram of sugar in the entire bottle. This means you can keep drinking wine and stay away from sugar at the same time.
Are you ready to keep the wine but lose the sugar? Check out our delicious red, white and rose options today!