Sugar Addiction is in the health and weight loss industry news a lot these days. Everywhere you look people are giving advice and kicking sugar addiction. I’m very suspicious of their advice.
A recent article let me know the author had no clue about what the word “addiction” means when coupled with the word, “sugar.”
Among this doctor’s five suggestions was eating the type of sugary treats you love in small quantities. She was obviously never a real sugar addict or at least never had the level of sugar addiction I did.
Are You Addicted?
To suggest that someone really addicted to sugar use the tactic of eating less is like suggesting an alcoholic just drink less alcohol or go for their favorite alcohol in small quantities.
The dictionary defines addiction as having “a strong and harmful need to regularly have something.” Having less sugar does not work unless you are not addicted.
Most giving advice about what they term sugar addiction are not really talking about sugar addiction. They are giving advice about cutting down the harmful effects of eating too much sugar. Not everyone who eats too much sugar is addicted. For some it’s simply a matter of education and behavior modification of how much they should eat.
Is Sugar In Charge?
However, if sugar has become your life, your go-to source for entertainment, emotional security, comfort, protection and even, companionship, you cannot just modify the amount you eat. It is in charge of you. To break the cycle you must stop altogether. There is no in-between. You are a REAL sugar addict.
Paul addressed this when he said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me but I will not be mastered by anything.”1
For me, I had to stop eating all refined and processed sugar. After five years of doing this I can tell when something has added sugar. I’m rarely caught off guard because I am on the lookout for the substance that I can easily allow to overcome me.
Freedom Tastes Good
I’m finally free of the sugar I felt I couldn’t live without. By cutting out refined sugar, by God’s grace and by His power,2 I am no longer wallowing in lack of control and have lost over 260 pounds. However, when I went back to eating a gooey treat, I became just like an alcoholic who took another drink.
However, I was able to get back on track because I had a mentor and an accountability group to pull me back. Today, I coach a similar group, Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching Group, because I know the near impossibility of walking this journey alone. I needed a mentor, others on the journey with me and God to guide my way.
When one bite would trigger my cravings again, confession to the group would pull me back. Having a mentor to help me process a plan of action to not get caught again was vital.
Not everyone is like me. Some do not have the overwhelming desire to eat sugar constantly. Those individuals can follow the advice of doctors telling them to curtail their intake.
For those who are true sugar addicts, though, here are my five ways to kick sugar addiction.
- Eat regular meals with good protein and good fats. Sugar addicts have unstable blood sugar and we are usually the ones waiting until supper to eat a huge meal and then snacking all night. Eating regularly with protein snacks and adding good fats, such as avocados, in between helps regulate blood sugar.
- Cut out all refined and processed sugar. When you are really addicted, it is impossible to cut down. You must stop completely. When you stop and tell yourself you cannot go back, your cravings will eventually go away. For me it took a year. For others it will take less time depending on the level of addiction. I knew this was my last resort. I stayed with the plan and it became easier as I was consistent.
- Cut out diet sodas and diet foods. No artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners simply mimic sugar and make your brain want it all the more. It sets up the craving mechanism. This is why many times people will drink a diet soda while eating a candy bar. They are fueling their craving mechanism. Raw leaf stevia or raw monkfruit are not artificial sweeteners and can be used by most individuals. Test yourself to see. If you crave it, stop!
- Eat whole fruit instead of refined sugar. Fruit, not fruit juice, has fructose but it also has fiber and water content. This type of fructose is released slower into your bloodstream and does not spike your blood sugar making you crave it again in a few minutes.
- Stop and think. When cravings for sugar begin, stop and ask yourself what is going on. Are you thirsty? Drink water. If that doesn’t satisfy and you are hungry, eat protein. If that doesn’t satisfy, ask yourself, “What am I really feeling?” Do something positive to deal with your emotions instead of eating sugar.
Implement a few of these changes and before you know it, your body will thank you for treating it better and sugar’s control will be kicked to the curb!
1 1 Cor. 6:12 NASB
2 2 Cor, 12:9 MSG