Unsuspecting Addicts: Why Many of Us Probably Have an Addiction to Sugar

Unsuspecting Addicts: Why Many of Us Probably Have an Addiction to Sugar

We’re all partial to a dessert from time to time. Sometimes, a meal isn’t quite finished without a tasty sweet treat. We’re a nation of sweet lovers, devouring 7,560 bars of chocolate in our lifetime. Our national holidays are centred around eating calorific sugary treats. Christmas is a time for overindulging on hot chocolate, marshmallows and gingerbread whereas Easter sees us tucking into chocolate eggs.

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Sugar is addictive, and unlike alcohol, cigarettes or even drugs, we dismiss our sugary habits as simple gluttony. The truth is that sugar is responsible for a lot of damage and without control can lead us down a slippery slope of ill-health.

Unfortunately, avoiding cakes and biscuits doesn’t always suffice. Sugar is present in almost everything we eat, from cereals and ready meals to yoghurts and fizzy drinks. Adults should be eating no more than 30g of sugar (7 sugar cubes) and no more than 24g (5 cubes) for children. It can be difficult to maintain this healthy balance when a simple can of cola has almost 9 cubes. Not only does sugar contribute to tooth decay, but it plays a huge part in obesity and it’s important that we address these issues.

Mental Health

An increase in dietary sugar has been associated with depressive symptoms and several studies have found this to be true. The short-lived buzz from a highly processed meal tends to lead to an even bigger crash, something that scientists believe contributes to mood disorders. Sugar also creates a lot of inflammation which researchers have found to play a huge part in depressive disorders.

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So how do you know if you have an addiction to sugar? If you have a particularly sweet tooth, that’s not necessarily an indication that there could be an issue but if you get headaches, nausea, muscle aches and lethargy when you’ve not had sugar for a while, then there might be a real issue there.

Sugar doesn’t just come in the form of a chocolatey cake, sugars are a type of carbohydrate and you may find yourself craving other carbs such as crackers, pasta and bread to satisfy your urge. Natural sugars may also not taste the way you’d like them too. Your taste buds can become used to refined sugars over time, making natural sugars found in fruit seem dull-tasting.

Fatigue is also another sign of a sugar addiction, if you’ve been without chocolates and sugary treats for at least a day and your energy feels super low, chances are you’ve become a little too reliant on processed sugary food. Sugar does solve that problem with an initial boost, but a crash will soon follow leaving you feeling worse for wear. People who have a healthy relationship with sugar tend to have steady energy levels throughout the day with little urge to snack on something unhealthy.

Can’t stop, won’t stop

Ever bought a large share-size bar of chocolate from the shop, only intending to have a few pieces after dinner? You make a start but before you know it, the whole thing has gone. Sound familiar? This is a form of addiction, you’ve become so entranced by the sugar that you’ve eaten way more than your body needs to the point where you’ve probably made yourself nauseous. Your brain is having way too much fun and you’re hooked on that feeling so you continue. All treats are good in small doses, but eating to the point of nausea is a concerning trait.

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If you’re someone who is susceptible to addiction, then your brain can often struggle to know when enough is enough. People who regularly crave the buzz of a sip of alcohol, drag of a cigarette or sweetness of a donut will see themselves forming unhealthy habits. As this action becomes repetitive, the addiction forms. Sometimes it can be inherited and other times it can be behaviour created in response to trauma. If something feels good, the brain will hold on to that feeling in the hope of recreating it.

Although sugar isn’t as addictive as drugs like nicotine and alcohol, too much can still have devastating effects on health. Obesity and diabetes are two of the most common issues that arise from having too much sugar but cardiovascular disease, liver disease and dental decay can also be caused by an increase in the sugary stuff. Obesity alone can lead to many more comorbidities that wipe years off your life which is why it’s important to monitor your diet and ensure you’re getting enough of what you need and not too much of what you crave.


If you’re thin, don’t always assume that you’re healthy. You don’t need to be overweight to develop type 2 diabetes and you certainly don’t need to be obese to be at risk of cardiovascular disease. Plenty of thin people have lots of visceral fat packed around their organs and shockingly high blood pressure. Just because you’re not putting on weight while you tuck into your 5th slice of cake, doesn’t mean it’s not having an impact. Give yourself a fighting chance and adopt a healthy, balanced diet with as little processed food as possible.

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Sugar is impossibly addictive in that it can be difficult not to crave more once you’re done. Fast food chains and takeaway restaurants capitalise on this addiction by driving up desire for their products. Almost every item across most popular chains is bursting with salt and sugar. Food engineers know the perfect recipe to drive up demand and make their food addictive and we as the public buy into this. We might not necessarily identify with having an addiction but we are naturally drawn to food high in sugar and salt and the world is quickly adopting this ‘western diet’ of highly processed, sugary fast food.

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Governments are striving to address this dependency by introducing sugar taxes and funneling money into awareness campaigns. Sugar content is now labelled clearly on most UK supermarket products and quantified relative to the daily recommended allowance. There is more to be done to raise awareness amongst the general public and we are moving in the right direction in terms of general education, but it is up to us to address our own eating behaviours and make sense of what our bodies are trying to tell us. If you would like to help reducing the obvious items that contain large amounts of sugar such as chocolate, sweets, fizzy drinks etc. We recommend you try out "Control Sugar Addiction Hypnotherapy". The therapy session is currently half price and has been a proven way to help people cut out some of the sugar from their lives, feel healthier, lose weight and inflammation. Click the link or photo below to learn more. 

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