In dieting culture sugar addiction is a thing.
The diet industry sells you the idea that the more carbs/sugar you eat, you can become the victim of them and you develop addiction to them
And the addiction shows up in some forms like:
- “falling off the wagon,
- “can’t stop eating”,
- “I am crazy around sugar and carbs”,
- I feel out of control around sugar”,
- “sugar is a trigger food”
But there is a huge difference between addiction and compulsion and I suggest that we have developed compulsive behavior around sugar, not addiction itself.
The reason for compulsion (not addiction) is the fact that you restrict sugar in the first place. And when you restrict sugar, you often end up losing control around it because you try to control it.
You are NOT feeling compulsion around sugar because you are addicted to it but because of the emotional compulsion around sugar that has been created.
When you claim sugar addiction, here is the thing: Sugar doesn’t cause the crazy binges but restriction is.
The reason you have compulsion with sugar is because of the diet/binge cycle you are in when you diet and then binge.
ON a different note sometimes we just want the sugar hit because we are tired, stressed, happy or hungry. And if you eat sugar alone, whether that is pasta, rice, candy bar or chocolate, you can absolutely experience sugar cravings for more sugar.
Your blood sugar spikes and crashes, so often you will want more BUT eating sugar can only cause or lead to physical cravings NOT toward binge eating, overeating and being insane around sugar.
The answer for sugar crash is not more sugar but get some fat or protein to stabilize bloods sugar level.
If you think about cutting out sugar completely (being in diet brain mode) so you wouldn’t crave it at all, think twice. Because you might succeed for a while but when you fall off the wagon so to speak, you will binge and not just a little.
If you choose to restrict sugar or stay abstinence, you are setting yourself up for a binge. You are building a momentum for a binge. You are building a momentum to make sugar as your “trigger food”.
Treating sugar (trigger food) as addiction that requires complete abstinence will make you feel wanting sugar even more.
Feelings of addiction to sugar are rooted in some type of restriction like for example “off limits food”. Once the restriction (the underlying fear, guilt, shame) is eliminated, the trigger can be diffused.
How to move forward?
If you look at the science for every study there is going to be another study that says the opposite. Forget science and trust yourself instead! Trust your personal experience. Addiction to sugar is only a popular way to sell diets.
Critical thinking is important because there is so much information about sugar and the vast majority of us who live in “diet land” are definitely not relaxed or sane around sugar.
If you are still struggling around sugar you not only have to stop restricting it in order to stay mentally okay around sugar but first and foremost let go of the delusion that you have control around sugar.
Questions to ask from yourself:
- Does cutting out sugar permanently helps or hurt me mentally?
- Does legalization and allowance of sugar is diminishing the crazy binges or enhancing it?
- Which helped more to stay sane around sugar, legalization or abstinence?
Hint: Always think long term
Remember, when you think you are out of control of sugar, you never had control to begin with.
I know it is hard because even though intellectually you understand why restriction of sugar can only lead to binges, it is still hard to get it because you are emotionally attached to the idea, belief that sugar is bad.
The reason you are attached to the idea of abstinence because it seems like an easy pill to take to solve your problem with sugar and you don’t have to work on your relationship with yourself.
The problem is that if you don’t deal with the root issue – the lack of connection with yourself the Band-Aid you put on a bullet wound will not work. The blood will come out eventually.
Sugar only compulsive and seductive and if you are emotionally attached to the thought or belief what sugar can do to you. (make you fat, losing love, job and friends)
What if you accept that you really don’t have “control” about how much sugar you want to eat a given day and also understand that sugar is something that can spike your blood sugar sometimes, mostly when it is eaten alone so you can crave more.
Sugar as “addictive trigger food” can be neutralized when you overcome the emotion behind the restrictive attachment.
Here is my earlier post on how to do just that: