It is hard to avoid all types of sugar entirely because it’s not just found in sweets. Fruits, milk, and starches contain sugar too.
When you become so dependent on it that you do not even want to avoid it in the first place, it qualifies as sugar addiction.
At the mentions of addiction, most people think of hard and soft drugs. Yet, one can be addicted to sugar too. In fact, this study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests it is stronger than some opioids like cocaine.
Sugar intake causes the brain to release the feel-good hormone, dopamine. When its effects wear off, you might be tempted to take more and more.
In this process, your brain’s sensors for when you have enough sugar become weaker. Thus eventually paving the way for addiction.
Here are some sugar addiction symptoms and signs:
Obvious Sugar Addiction Symptoms
1. Hiding the sugary foods
If you find yourself hiding sugary foods in your closet, in your desk at the office, among your clothes, and under your pillow – you might just be addicted to sugar.
You do not get the urge to hide things you should be rightfully having. Hiding veggies would be strange, but you may find yourself hiding your sugars if you are having too much in order to ward off scrutiny.
2. Loss of control
This ranks high among the most obvious sugar addiction symptoms.
If you take out a scrap of ice cream with the intention of taking a scoop or two, but cannot seem to stop until you have licked the tub clean – that is a sure sign of sugar addiction.
If it happens as an isolated case, then there is no cause for worry. However, if you consistently lose control, it is a sure red flag.
3. Feelings of guilt and remorse
Do you feel guilty, mad, and disgusted with yourself once you have gotten through yet another whole box of cookies? And it happens every so often? That there is one of the sugar addiction symptoms.
It is the same response as in drug addicts – they are not exactly proud of the fact that they are hooked to drugs but can’t just seem to stop.
4. Eating lots of starch
Sugar addiction does not just apply to eating candy, ice cream, and cookies. If you feel the need to eat starches like bread, bagels and the like so often, it could denote sugar addiction.
Remember, most of these starches are broken down into simple sugars and give you that energy spike that sugar brings about. You will just be responding to your body’s need for sugar by taking it in a different form.
5. Eating sugar when not hungry
Taking sugar to calm the hunger pangs is to some extent understandable – that is just your body needing some energy to drive its processes.
However, craving sugar even when you are perfectly full and after a big meal, shows a gap in your system that only sugar can sufficiently fill. That too is one of the sugar addiction symptoms.
6. Going out of your way to consume sugar
If you find yourself going out of your way, and doing things that are otherwise unreasonable to get sugar, that is one of the key sugar addiction symptoms.
This includes going out in search of sugary foods late in the night and spending your last coin on sugary snacks.
7. Inability to stop the craving
It is one thing to eat a large amount of sugar in one sitting. But if no matter how much you take you seem to want more, that is one of the sugar addiction symptoms.
This shows that the part of your brain that is supposed to signal the body when it has had enough has been overwhelmed by your massive sugar intake.
8. Weight gain
Excessive sugar intake and weight gain are almost directly proportional. Eating too much sugar and starch results in a calorie surplus.
The excess calories have to be stored somewhere if you don’t make efforts to burn them through exercise. Thus, they are turned into fats and deposited around the belly and thighs.
9. Constant dehydration
Perpetual dehydration is one of the most common sugar addiction symptoms. When you take too much sugar and your blood sugar is constantly high. As a result, you visit the washrooms more frequently.
Frequent urination is the body’s mechanism of getting rid of excess sugars. However, you also lose a lot of water in the process, thus resulting in dehydration.
10. Using sugar as a coping mechanism
If the first thing that comes to your mind after a long, hard day is sugar, you might be addicted to sugar.
If sugary snacks and foods are your main way of coping with heartbreaks, getting fired from work or any other loss, you should get concerned.
11. Frequent energy surges and dip
Energy surges and dips are normal at different times of the day. With sugar addiction, you find that the energy spikes and dips are more frequent and very obvious.
This is caused by your body becoming so dependent on sugar that without it, your energy goes low when the effects of your last sugary snack wear off. In order to restore it, you get more sugar and it becomes an unending cycle.
12. Withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms occur when you are addicted to sugar, just like it does when you get off on drugs and alcohol cold turkey.
Headache, extreme mood swings and dizziness are common sugar withdrawal symptoms. Luckily, these symptoms fade away after a few days.
The Bottom Line
Avoiding sugar addiction in the first place is much better than having to combat it and dealing with the grueling sugar addiction symptoms.
It is thus best to keep a strict eye on your sugar intake before it morphs into an addiction. Also, learn to take natural sugars like dried fruits and vegetables instead of foods with added, artificial sugars.
If you want to overcome your sugar addiction and lose weight at the same time, join this 28-day weight loss challenge.