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8 Clear Signs You're Addicted To Sugar

Sugar has qualities that are on par with other addictive substances, like alcohol and tobacco. But just because you enjoy a little sweet treat now and then, it doesn't mean that you're necessarily addicted to sugar.

However, if you are addicted to sugar, there are key signs that you can look out for to better understand your body's needs.

Because eating too much sugar can lead to significant health issues down the line (and even in the more immediate future).

Eating too much sugar can possibly lead to:

  • weight gain

  • difficulties losing weight

  • unstable blood sugar levels

  • mood swings

  • difficulties falling or staying asleep (1)

  • increased feelings of anxiety or depression (2)

  • increased risk of insulin resistance / Type 2 Diabetes

  • increased risk of heart disease (4)

  • and more

So, knowing the signs of sugar addiction will help you determine whether or not you need to take a break from sugar or greatly reduce your intake in general.

Scroll down for the signs!

sugar addiction signs

1: Energy crashes throughout the day

When you experience sudden energy highs and crashes throughout the day, this can often be attributed to riding a blood sugar spike and fall.

Unstable blood sugar levels are typically the result of eating too much sugar or not enough protein (or a mixture of both).

When the sugar intake is reduced and instead replaced with blood sugar stabilizing protein, it helps to balance out blood sugar levels and therefore our energy levels as well.

So if you are experiencing highs and lows throughout the day rather than a steady energy level, then you likely are eating too much sugar in your meals.

Ideally, we want to stick to carbohydrates that are low to medium glycemic load instead of simple sugars so that we can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and feel energized all day long.

2: Need something "sweet" after most meals

It's okay to occasionally want a little sweet treat, but if you find that you need something sweet after every meal (or perhaps after certain meals, like lunch or dinner), then you might be stuck in a bit of an addiction spiral.

For example, if everyday after lunch you need to eat a bit of chocolate in order to make the meal feel complete, then you might have a slight sugar addiction.

The goal with every meal should be to eat enough protein, fat and low-medium glycemic load carbohydrates so that you can adequately raise satiety hormones and literally shut off feelings of hunger and cravings (including sugar cravings).

Getting adequate high quality protein is a key component to this strategy, so knowing what type and how much protein is key to your success.

3: Headaches or nausea when you go without sugar

The unstable blood sugar levels that can result from eating too much sugar can lead to a lot of not so great side effects.

The low blood sugar that results from a rapid spike in blood sugar can cause feelings of nausea or lead to headaches.

If you skipped your usual sugar intake at a meal and start to feel a bit queasy or headachey, then you could be experiencing this dip in blood sugar levels.

4: Mood swings or "hanger" between meals

Another not so fun side effect of blood sugar crashes is intense hunger, cravings and irritability - aka "hanger".

If you find that you always need to have an emergency snack in your purse or bag at all times in order to avoid these swings, then you might have some level of sugar addiction.

5: High A1c or high fasting blood sugar levels

Eating too much sugar over time can lead to consistently high blood sugar levels.

The blood tests that can alert of these high levels are A1c (also known as hb-A1c) and fasting blood sugar levels.

A1c is typically performed by a lab or you can get a finger-prick test done at home with services like Everlywell.

Fasting blood sugar can also be done at a lab or at home with a blood sugar testing kit like Keto Mojo.

6: High triglycerides, low HDL or high LDL

Studies have found that eating too much sugar can result in high triglycerides, low HDL and/or high LDL.(3)

These are all typically markers of increased heart disease risk as well.

7: Weight gain around the belly

Studies have also found that eating too much sugar results in an increased waist circumference.(3)

You can take this measurement by wrapping a flexible tape measurer around your belly, just above your hip bones.

Research has found that ideally men should have a waist circumference of 40 inches or less and women should have 35 inches or less, although this can differ based on a variety of individual health and lifestyle considerations.(4)

8: Having a "sweet tooth"

One of the best indicators of possible sugar addiction is if you self identify as having a "sweet tooth".

If you find that you often crave sugary items (even if those items are "healthier" sugary treats), then you might possibly be experiencing some degree of sugar addiction.

Although the occasional sweet treat isn't going to derail progress or likely won't cause detrimental health issues, frequent sugar intake can.

What we consider to be "occasional" is also important.

Some might consider having one sweet treat a day an "occasional" treat. However, if you find that you need (or desire) a sweet treat daily, then this is likely a sign that you might be addicted to sugar.

Final Thoughts

You don't need to get rid of the sweet stuff forever if you suspect that you're addicted to sugar.

However, a sweet tooth can certainly halt, derail or reverse any weight loss or wellness goals you might be looking to achieve.

With my clients and community, I've found following a 1-2 week "clean slate" can be incredibly beneficial for resetting cravings.

Once cravings are reset, you can slowly introduce a sweet treat that's significantly lower in sugar (and less frequent) and be able to enjoy that treat rather than needing to have it.

You can checkout my free sugar detox food list HERE for those details.

Or if you want more of the step-by-step, meal-by-meal guidelines for how to remove sugar while also adding in foods that help to shut off sugar cravings, you can checkout my 7 Day Detox HERE.

Pssst... check out my 7 Day Detox to help you kick your sugar cravings while jump starting your weight loss or wellness goals!

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This is the communities favorite program, especially when starting from scratch or after a holiday/vacation when you might need a little reset.

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You can find the 7 Day Detox program HERE.



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