What is sugar addiction? (beat it with 7 rules)

What is sugar addiction? Is it putting four spoons of sugar in your coffee? Maybe driving to the next town for your favourite cookie?

I’ve actually done both those things, driven by an addiction to sugar that is stronger than my addiction to tobacco was.

Sugar addiction is strong as tobacco addiction

I gave up cigarettes 20 years ago. I chose a day and a time, smoked right up to my deadline and then went cold turkey.

I suffered, and the first few days were a nightmare, but I knew I had to do it. I knew I would die if I kept smoking, and I didn’t want the wheezing or the smell or the coughing anymore.

I also didn’t want to continue to feel like a slave to my addiction.

Ever hunted through your house for a cigarette late at night? I’ve been there. I’ve eyed the butts in the ashtray, wondering if any were long enough to re light.

There’s nothing pretty about addiction. It ruins your health and your self-esteem.

So, all said, I needed to stop and I did stop.

But here’s the really shocking thing, and what I want to talk about here:

I had (and still have) an addiction even more powerful that I have struggled my entire life to overcome. An addiction just as real as a tobacco addiction and just as damaging to health: Sugar.

Sugar Addiction

What is sugar addiction?

Sugar: the white stuff that was going in my coffee, my tea, on my cereal and just about everywhere else.

Plus the sugar hit that came with eating carbohydrates. Even the sugar free pastry that I loved could fuel my addiction by converting into glucose in my body.

So my days were spent dreaming of pies, hot buttered toast, cookies, cakes, piles of pasta, heaps of rice….

Pure sugar, or high carb soon-to-be glucose food. I loved it all, and ate it all.

I thought I was a lot of things; greedy and weak willed were two words that were used a lot, by me.

What I never seriously considered was that I had an addiction. I was quite simply hooked on how sugar and high carbohydrate foods made me feel.

Make no mistake, this is a powerful addiction, and it will wreak havoc on both your weight and your heath if you don’t get a handle on it.

And once I’d given up cigarettes, I turned to my favourite sweet drug more than ever.

Further, I’ve learned what all alcoholics learn:

You can stop using your favourite drug, but you will always remain an addict.

I can go weeks, and sometimes months without sugar, but then try “just one” cookie.

It can trigger a sugar binge that can last weeks without serious efforts to stop it in its track.

The single most important piece of advice I can give you here is never, never think you can have just taste or two of sugar. You can’t.

I’ve learned that to deal with my sugar addiction, I need to treat it just the same as my cigarette addiction.

Cold turkey is the only way to go.

Why is sugar addiction so powerful?

What is sugar Addiction?

Scientists have discovered that when you eat pure sugar, or a high carbohydrate food, areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward light up.

Over time, this habitual firing of the brain´s pleasure areas will lead to food cravings and increased hunger.

This study looked at the brain and its reaction to the ingestion of refined carbohydrates.

They found that the part of the brain that lights up is also triggered by substance abuse and dependence, which raises the possibility that certain foods may be addictive too.

Further, when a high carb meal is eaten, there is a corresponding sharp rise in insulin levels, followed by a crash after about four hours.

This crash in blood/glucose levels triggers excessive hunger and intense activation of the nucleus accumbens, a critical brain region involved in addictive behaviors.

These addictive behaviors are what you and I refer to as cravings.

When you give into a craving, YOU release a big hit of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the brain’s feel good chemical.

If you repeatedly do this, you will strengthen this pathway and make the addiction worse.

This study sought to highlight the connection between food and addiction and to compare this type of addiction to that of drug addicts.

It is already known that rats can become addicted to certain foods. The neurological pathways between food and addiction were found to be the same as those between drugs and addiction. (1)

The study concluded by saying that addiction to food was a real addiction, and it may be helped by using some of the same techniques used to help drug addicts.

How to kick your sugar addiction

What is Sugar Addiction?

Rule 1

Take your sugar and carbohydrate addiction seriously. It’s real, and its powerful. It will also ruin your health.

You haven’t got a sweet tooth, you have an addiction.

Rule 2

Go cold turkey and never kid yourself that you can manage just one cookie. We both know the whole packet will be eaten.

Plus the cravings will be back in full force.

This means walking away from sugar in all its forms.

Don’t use white flour, ready meals, most sauces, soft drinks, fruit or fruit juices.

Eat and above ground vegetables.

The fewer carbs you eat, the more stable your blood/glucose levels will be during the day.

This has been shown to reduce hunger and lessen cravings.

Rule 3

Don’t buy the foods you crave. Don’t store them in your house, your car or your in your desk at work.

They will shout your name until you go into your kitchen/ purse/locker and eat them. All of them.

Rule 4

Work hard at finding something that you can enjoy instead. Something that at the very least take away some of the craving.

Spicy low carb foods such as bacon seems to help some people. Others find exercise, or going for a walk helps.

Get creative, and find something that works for you.

Other suggestions include increasing the protein in your diet or taking a drink of cold water.

If your carb/sugar addiction is covering up some painful issues for you, seek counseling or find a friend with whom you can discuss things.

If you have some serious issues, love yourself enough to do the work that is required to manage them. You deserve to help and support.

You are worth more than hiding your feelings beneath a pile of dangerous sugar.

You’ll still have those issues after you’ve eaten that pile of pancakes, and now you will have weight and health issues too.

Rule 5

Educate yourself about the sort of carbs you should be eating.

Learn which ones to enjoy, and which ones to avoid. Read How many carbohydrates do you need everyday?

Remember, there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Go as low as you need to reduce or cancel your cravings.

Read here for more details of which carbs to walk away from

Rule 6

Give serious consideration to following the keto diet. This amazing low carbohydrate diet is not only great for weight loss.

It has been proven to help manage or eliminate cravings for sugar.

Add Intermittent Fasting to increase the benefits of the diet and further help to reduce sugar cravings.

Consider that your sugar addiction may be due to bad gut bacteria. Follow the advice here if you believe this may be an issue for you.

Personally, the keto diet, intermittent fasting and complete abstinence from sugar has eliminated my craving completely.

But I remain an addict: just one mouthful and I’m back to square one.

Be kind to yourself and don’t even think about having just a mouthful or two.

Rule 7

Congratulate yourself. Give yourself a big pat on the back and take note of how great it is for your health and your self-esteem to be free of endless cravings.

However, I get it: You’re human. You’re going to slip up from time to time.

If this happens, move on. Don’t beat yourself up. If you can figure out what went wrong, great. Learn from it. You’ll be better able to deal with the situation the second time around.

If you can’t figure out why you ate that pack of cookies, just forget it. Tomorrow really is another day, and tomorrow you can do better.

The more you practice, the better you’ll get at managing your addiction.

Finally, as the extra weight and health issues fall away, the fact that you feel so much better will be all the motivation you need.


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  1. Hi. I have a sweet tooth! In the past, I love to go for hi-tea and eat all those pastries, ice cream and dessert and even to replace a proper meal. I know it’s not good for health but I just love sweet foods and cannot resist them when I see them.

    But now I’m different. I can don’t eat them or just eat abit when I see them although I do feel tempted. But I can make myself walk away and forget about it. I believe what help me change is meditation. I will feel bad after some times when I’m not treating my body, mind and soul well. And I will choose to listen to my inner voice and do something about it. This is amazing.

    I think other way can try is replace it with a healthy snack when we start to have the crave for sugar.

    1. Hi Janet,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I love your suggestion for meditation as a way to help with sugar cravings. This can be an amazing way to relax and draw the inner strength that is needed when faced with temptation.

      Heathy snacks can certainly help too, and tangy meats such as bacon often help.

      Best wishes,


  2. This was an interesting read. I’m not that much a sweet tooth, never been, and I don’t really eat that much sugar at all. I put it in my coffee and that’s it. But I do agree with you, it’s an addiction that could lead to bad health and it needs to be treated just like every other addiction. Thanks for sharing this post. I learned a lot from you.

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Pleased to hear that you don’t have an addiction to sugar. It’s much more harmful than most people realize and causes a very long list of health issues.

      It’s good to know that you enjoyed the article. Hopefully you’ll be able to share it with any friends or family that do have an issue with sugar.

      Best wishes,


  3. I really appreciate this article, that’s so much truth people do not take this addiction seriously and actually that’s why there are many people out there having so many problems. Crazy to see how is society focused on for example alcohol or tabacco addiction and this one is still not taken seriously.

    1. Hi Olga,

      Thanks for your comments.

      It is surprising that sugar addiction is still not taken as seriously as other addictions.

      Hopefully more people will become aware of this problem, and take the steps needed to deal it. Giving up sugar and/or dealing with this serious addiction is the single most important thing we can do to improve our health.

      Best wishes,


  4. What is sugar addiction really is full of information we all need to read and take more seriously, and manufacturers know how addicting sugar is so they pile it on in their products so we will crave them and buy more.

    I can’t and shouldn’t consume products with sugar, so I use cinnamon but I am wondering is this any healthier than sugar?


  5. This is an amazing article about how to beat sugar addiction. I must say, I’ve recently started to have this problem ever since I started to the white rice. As soon as I finish my meal I got to have something sweet to give me the satisfaction of a meal. I have been looking around to find a way out of this but never have found it until I landed on your website. Thank you so much!

    Best wishes

    1. Hi Habib,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I’m pleased that you found the article informative. White rice (and any rice) will cause your blood/glucose levels to quickly rise.

      When this drops within a few hours, you will feel the need to eat again, and can often want to have something sweet.

      By lowering the amount of carbs you eat each day, you will find that your sugar cravings lessen, or go away altogether

      Best wishes,

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