Could you be addicted to sugar?

I grew up in a house filled with tasty baked goods being blessed with a wonderful mother who is a talented baker. She would bake us pies, cakes, cinnamon roles, baked cherry cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes, cobblers, and pretty much everything except candy.

I developed a sweet tooth very early on and while I didn’t have a weight problem until after high school (I thought I did in high school but I wasn’t overweight), I still craved the sweet stuff. My first memory of the sweet stuff is when I was in kindergarten when each week the school had a cupcake day.

Right now I can remember looking up in the window (it was a window opening in the wall with a rolling cover for the window that when closed looked like the cover for a roll-top desk) at all of the cupcakes in a row on the shelf and how I chose a chocolate cupcake with white icing and some brightly colored candy sprinkles on top. (Funny because as I write this I can see the connection between my baking of these same types of cupcakes with the sprinkles as an adult!)

If I Could Have Just One

Now if I could eat just one sweet then I wouldn’t have a problem with either overeating or weight gain, but today when I indulge in refined sugar or white flour it sets off a chain of events – I either end up overeating, binging (overeating until stuffed), or I keep eating this way for days or weeks because I continue to have sugar cravings followed by sugar lows that want more sugar to come “up” again.

I knew early on that I was addicted to sugar, knew it as a teen, but I didn’t do anything about it until 2004 when I learned how to eat whole, real foods sans the refined sugar, and for the first time I didn’t miss it.

The reason I learned a different way of eating however was for weight loss, because my sugar addiction hasn’t worked well for me when it comes to my weight. Since then I’ve had my relapses back into the sweet stuff but I feel 100% better when I’m off of it like I am now. I don’t have the cravings and life is much more peaceful without the refined sugar.

How Do You Know If You’re A Sugar Addict?

So how do you know if you’re addicted to sugar? Believe it or not, Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons compiled a list of 10 easy questions you can ask yourself to find out if you’re addicted to sugar. These are the same questions that she poses to her patients in order to help them with their sugar addiction. Here’s an example:

“Do you feel cranky or irritable if you don’t get your regular fix of sugar?” For example, if you’re a big Coke drinker, do you start to feel cranky if you haven’t had any for a couple of hours? Or, do you find that you can’t get through the day without your sugared Starbucks or the seemingly healthy granola bars that after checking the ingredients you see are filled with sugar? These could be signs that you’re addicted to sugar.

What about this one: “Have you ever tried to cut down or control your use of sweet foods?” Have you ever tried to tell yourself that you’ll have just one of those cookies but you end up eating half or even the whole bag?

— by JoLynn Braley