Dextrose. Fructose. Galactose. Corn syrup solids. Dextrin. Crystalline fructose. Maltodextrin. Barley malt. Brown rice syrup. Carob syrup. High-fructose corn syrup. Evaporated cane juice.
What’s the drug that’s more addicting than cocaine? Yup, you guessed it!
According to a study conducted in 2007, the intense sweetness can surpass a cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and addicted individuals.1 When we feel the nightly urge to reach for the gallon of ice cream, leftover birthday cake, or call in a Crumbl cookie delivery, we might be powerless to the biological cravings in our bodies. Many 12-step groups have summarized an addiction as a physical compulsion and a mental obsession.
Are you physically and mentally addicted to sugar? This basic questionnaire can be a roadmap to see if you might need outside help with breaking the sugar cycle.
- Do you feel sluggish or tired throughout the day?
- Or do you think of sweets as a reward or a treat for good behavior?
- Do you feel guilty after eating sweets?
- And do you eat sweets even when you are not hungry?
- Do you get moody if you do not eat them or after you do eat them?
- Is one never enough?
- Will you lie about needing them, minimize the amount eaten, or sneak to get more?
- Are you powerless over the need, want, or amount you eat?
If you answered “yes” to four or more, you might be at risk for sugar addiction.
Like many other 12-step groups, admitting you have a problem is Step 1! Afterward, finding a trusted community, personal trainer, health coach, registered dietician, Overeaters Anonymous group, or licensed counselor can be a significant next step in seeking recovery.
In the meantime, check out these tips to break the cycle with sugar:
- Drink water regularly and aim for 60-100 ounces per day (8 glasses of 8oz cup). This can control your hunger cravings!
- Eat 1 serving of fresh fruit or 1 square of dark chocolate during a craving
- Eat more protein and complex carbohydrates to stay full all-day
- Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a day
- Reward yourself with ‘non-food rewards’ (time with family, a spa day, clothes, tools, fishing gear, etc.]
- Go sugar-free for drinks, snacks, sauces, dressings, and other foods you eat regularly.
- Leave the area when a trigger is happening. Go for a walk, do chores in another room, visit a friend, or reignite a hobby.
- IDENTIFY your emotions at the time of a trigger. Do you feel stressed? Bored? Sad? Frustrated? Keep an emotional log for 1 week.
- Start with small goals first. Try enjoying “One Treat a Week” to begin with!
- Lenoir M., Serre F., Cantin L., Ahmed S.H. Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward. PLoS One. 2007 Aug 1;2(8):e698. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000698. PMID: 17668074; PMCID: PMC1931610.