How do you know if you are addicted to sugar?
Addictions are tricky to define; there are both physical and psychological addictions. Proving something is an addiction is a bit difficult, but the test below is a test that would work for any addiction. Give it a try:
- Have you ever used sugar as a reward for something? Was sugar the treat you gave yourself after you completed a task or a job well done?
- Have you ever used sugar to change your mood, like when you felt sad, tired, or when you needed a lift?
- Have you ever eaten sugar even when you weren’t hungry? You just finished a meal and are very full, but still you order dessert or go to the fridge and pull out the ice cream.
- Have you ever tried to stop eating sugar and couldn’t? You tried a diet like Atkins or South beach, but felt endlessly drawn by sugar and foods that act like sugar and couldn’t stick to the diet.
- Have you ever taken a small bite of something sweet and felt compelled to finish the whole thing? You thought you were just going to have a bit of something, but then you at the whole thing. Sugar foods count here too: have you ever started to eat a bag full of potato or corn chips and finished the whole bag?
- Have you ever quit eating sugar and when you started eating it again, couldn’t stop binging? When you took sugar out of your diet and then returned to it, did you binge on sugar and sugar foods?
If you answered yes to one or two of these questions, then you probably have a sugar problem. If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, then you are guaranteed to be addicted to sugar.
The signs of addiction are typically:
- Using the addiction for a reward
- Using a substance to change a mood
- Feeling compelled to consume the addiction even though you don’t need it
- Binging, especially when the addicted substance is removed for a while
Sugar has all characteristics of an addiction and the scientific community is just beginning to wake up to that fact. But before you dismiss the addiction as just as a funny thing we all do, you need to realize that sugar addiction ultimately means harm to your body. Sugar consumption is associated with increased weight and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and potentially many other diseases.
Getting off your sugar addiction can be hard, but you can do it with the proper support and help.
By the criteria in this list, I can also “be guaranteed that [I am] addicted to” Thanksgiving turkey, my mother’s chicken soup, green pepper steak, hiking, and driving. The “test” may be just a wee bit over-inclusive.
John – I don’t think the test is over inclusive. Do you crave and can’t stop eating “thanksgiving turkey” every day of your life? Are you cooking “thanksgiving turkeys” every day and binge eating them? Overindulging occasionally is one thing, but being repeatedly drawn to eat the same sugar laden foods over and over again is a problem. It is definitely a problem for me. The recent 60 Minutes story and its brain scan showing that just a sip of soda created a response in the brain similar to that of cocaine and other drugs was finally the proof in the pudding.