Sugar addiction is at an all-time high. The American Heart Association recommends that the average woman eat a maximum of six teaspoons (or 30 grams) of added sugars per day and the average man, nine teaspoons per day (or 45 grams). Unfortunately, people are consuming closer to 20 teaspoons (100 grams) per day.
Sugar is linked to obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, depression, headaches, and fatigue. Nevertheless, many people might not even know they have a problem. Here are the top five signs that you might be addicted to sugar.
1. You eat sugary foods past the point you intended.
When you have an addiction to sugar this is a common occurrence. You intend to eat only one piece of something, but once you finish the first piece you think, I want more. That wasn’t enough.
Before you know it, you've consumed 10 pieces and you still want more. Like a morning-after hangover, you have feelings of regret immediately afterward.
Ask yourself: Why do I actually want this chocolate? Is it to enjoy one piece of chocolate? Or is it because your co-worker just snapped at you? If you find that your intention for having the chocolate is to soothe yourself, it might be best to step away from your desk and go for a 10-minute walk outside the office instead.
2. You crave simple carbohydrates.
A sneaky way for your addiction to manifest itself is by your body craving simple carbohydrates. After consuming them they turn into sugar very quickly and can feed your body’s addiction to sugar.
Croissants, white bread, pasta, white rice, and pastries are the most popular simple carbohydrates that sugar addicts will crave.
Start adding more sweet vegetables to your diet like yams, beets, sweet potatoes, and carrots. The addition of these types of vegetables will help curb your cravings because of the naturally occurring sugar.
3. You crave meat or salty foods.
According to Donna Gates and Linda Schatz, who wrote The Body Ecology Diet, “a healthy body always strives toward balance, too much expanding food creates a craving for contracting food, and vice versa. For example, if you eat too much salt or animal foods (meat products) you will crave sweets to make a balance.”
You can see that it works both ways. So if you find yourself craving a lot of meat or salty foods this may be a sign that your body is seeking balance due to your large intake of sugar.
If you can regulate how much salt you are eating, it's likely that you won't crave sugar as often. Remember that salt hides in processed, canned, and restaurant foods. So reading food labels is very important in curbing sugar cravings.
4. You eat sugary foods even when you don't really want to.
Has this ever happened to you? You see a candy bar and you take a moment and ask yourself if you really want it and you say no. Ten minutes pass. The candy bar is calling your name.
You're salivating but you know it’s not a good idea to eat it. You start rationalizing why it would be okay to eat it. You tell yourself you ate healthy today and you'll skip dessert for the next two days. So you go for it and tell yourself it will only be this one time.
It’s a good idea to always have fresh fruit on hand so you can combat these cravings when they come on.
5. You eat sugary foods until you don’t feel well.
Have you ever eaten so many cookies that you experienced one or more of the following symptoms: headache, gas, bloated, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, or sleepiness? If so, those are symptoms of a sugar hangover.
If you're a sugar addict you probably do this a few times a week if not every day. You know that bingeing on sugar will make you feel this way but you do it anyway. The short-term benefit of eating the cake, cookie, or chocolate is worth the unpleasant aftereffects to you.
Try making an agreement with yourself not to keep sugary foods in the house, and when you're at a restaurant order only one dessert and fully enjoy it. The act of eating dessert in public often creates accountability.
If you identify with some, if not all of the signs of sugar addiction, you aren't alone. The good news is you can beat it! How do I know? I did it myself. That's why I understand this addiction and know what it takes to free oneself from it.
The first step is awareness. You might realize that you're sick and tired of your eating habits being controlled by sugar. There are plenty of resources and professionals that specialize in sugar addiction to help you overcome this. Remember: If you want it, you can do it!
Want more tips on conquering your sugar addiction? Start here:
- 7 Steps To Eat Way Less Sugar (For Good!)
- Why Food Addiction Isn't Your Fault + 7 Ways To Curb Cravings
- Why You "Need" Chocolate + 5 Ways To Beat Cravings
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