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6 Warning Signs You’re Addicted To Sugar

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6 Warning Signs You're Addicted To Sugar

Sugar addiction is at an all-time high. The average American eats about 20 teaspoons of sugar a day (aka 80 grams). That might sound like an obscene number – and you’re right, it is! – but sugar lurks in more places that most people realize. Even foods we think are healthy, not just doughnuts, sodas, and candy bars…so if you’re not careful, you may find yourself unintentionally bingeing on too much sweet stuff.

I want to give you a better view into just where sugar can be hiding.

Below is an example of someone that is trying to eat healthier, but might end up eating more sugar than they planned by the end of the day:

  • You wake up on a Monday morning and are rushing around to get out the door, but you gotta have breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day right? So you have a packet of Quaker’s instant oatmeal (12g of sugar)
  • Then you get to work and realize you’re still hungry, so you grab a healthy granola bar, say a Kashi Crunchy Granola Pumpkin Spice Flax bar (10g of sugar)
  • Lunch time is here, and you brought a Healthy Choice Golden Roasted Turkey Breast frozen meal (16g of sugar)
  • Now you have that 3:00 feeling and you’re looking for a boost, but still want to be healthy, so you hit up the local Smoothie King and get an Immune Builder Mixed Berry Smoothie (58g of sugar)
  • Ahh work is over, you got a good sweat in at the gym on your way home, and now is dinnertime. Grilled chicken with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce and steamed vegetables (32g of sugar)
  • It’s 8:30, it’s been a long day, you deserve some ice cream. You skip the dairy and go for just 1/2 cup of Mint Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk ice cream (15g of sugar)

That’s a total of 143g of sugar or nearly 36 teaspoons, and that person didn’t even have any candy, soda, or pastries in their day. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6 teaspoons (or 24 grams) daily for women, 9 teaspoons (or 36 grams) for men.

It’s definitely scary to think that you might be addicted to sugar and not even realize it. One of the biggest health tips I can give you is to always read labels! Look to see what the serving size is of the product, how many grams of sugar are in each serving, and read the ingredient list to see where the sugar is coming from.

6 Warning Signs You're Addicted To Sugar

Sugar is linked cause or increase risk for obesity, hypertension, inflammation, liver damage, hormone imbalances, dementia, osteoporosis, 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.

Are you addicted to sugar? Here are my top 6 signs that you might be an addict:

1. You crave simple carbs.

Simple carbohydrates are foods like white bread, rice, and pasta. They are super processed and have had most of their nutrients and fiber removed, and what’s left is very starchy. They actually turn into sugar the moment you put them in your mouth, meaning your body reacts as if it has just eaten sugar. They’re a sneaky way for your sugar addiction to manifest itself and can feed your body’s addiction to sugar.

Start adding more sweet, complex carb vegetables into your diet like yams, sweet potatoes, squashes, and carrots. The addition of these types of vegetables will help curb your cravings because of the naturally occurring sugar.

2. You need dessert.

Eating something sweet after a meal is expected. You might not even think much about your dinner because you are too focused on your sweet treat you’ll eat afterwards, or get angry if dessert isn’t offered. Some people actually get to the point where they can’t finish a savory meal without a sweet treat, which is an even bigger problem to have on their hands! When you get used to having sugar after a meal, the craving it feels totally normal, even though baked goods and sugary treats should be an exception, not the rule.

Start to ween yourself away from a processed sugary treat with a bite of fruit (goldenberries are my favorite thing because they’re sweet but also sour, nature’s Sour Patch Kid).

3. You’re tired all the time

Feeling tired after a long, hard day is normal. Feeling tired when you wake up and dragging yourself through the workweek is not normal. While there are numerous reasons for this, one of the biggest changes I notice when I host 30-Day Nutrition Challenges (no sugar is allowed) is that when people cut out refined sugar, they get an immediate energy boost!

You may have an addictive relationship with sugar if you suffer extreme fatigue or have trouble concentrating without having it regularly in your day. Dr. Barry Sears (author of The Mediterranean Zonesays “One of best signs that you are addicted to sugar is that you are constantly fatigued. This indicates that insufficient glucose is getting to your muscles due to insulin resistance. As a result, you are unable to produce enough chemical energy. A new surge of glucose coming into the blood stream gives you temporary energy. This glucose can come from sweetened sodas, fruit juices, adding excessive sugar to coffee, bread products and any food product made with refined sugars.”

6 Warning Signs You're Addicted To Sugar

4. You eat sugary foods past the point you intended.

Picture this: You buy a candy bar. You definitely don’t want to eat the whole thing at once, so you tell yourself you’ll only eat half then save the rest for later. Next thing you know, you’re finishing off the last piece and think “I want more! That wasn’t enough!”

Like a morning-after hangover, you have feelings of regret immediately afterward.

Ask yourself: “Why do I actually want this chocolate?” If your answer is emotional (you’re sad, bored, mad, frustrated, etc). and you’re turning to sugar to soothe yourself, it might be best to remove yourself from the situation and temptation, and go for a 10-minute walk outside instead.

5. 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. 10 minutes pass. The candy bar is calling your name.

You know it’s not a good idea to eat it, yet 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. Sugar’s got a hold on you! It’s a good idea to always have fresh fruit on hand so you can combat these cravings when they come on.

6. You keep eating sugary foods, even after you’re full.

Have you ever eaten so many cookies or so much candy that you’ve gotten a headache, gas, bloated, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, or sleepiness? If so, you’ve experienced a sugar hangover.

You probably know that bingeing on sugar will make you feel this way but you do it anyway, and it probably happens more than once a week. Try to not keep sugary foods in your house to avoid the temptation and make it harder to have this happen. 


How did you do with this list? If you identified with some of these, know you’re not alone, and that you can beat it. I did.

I remember a time when I tried to stop myself from finishing off a bag of M&M’s so I threw them in the trash…only to go back into the trash and fish out the bag, and eat the rest of them!

The first step is awareness. You might realize that you’re sick and tired of your eating habits being controlled by sugar. Let me know if you’d like some help taking control of your sugar addiction, and replacing it with an addiction to healthy foods instead.


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