How many times have you heard someone say, Im addicted to chocolate! Or maybe its cupcakes or hot cocoa or cookies or, if you are like one woman from my SkyLab boocamps, Swedish fish.
While all of these seem different on the surface, they are all different forms of sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction is as real an addiction as alcoholism or drug abuse. Its just more socially accepted (and even encouraged!). Like most drug or alcohol use, sugar gives you a high, and can help to mask negative feelings like loneliness, depression, resentment, or fear.
In fact, sugar has opioid or narcotic properties, meaning it acts like an endorphin in your body. But, like any drug, this lift is short-lived, and soon you need more and more sugar to achieve the same effect.
There is also physical withdrawal from sugar. In a study published in the June 2002 issue of Obesity Research, scientists deprived rats of food for 12 hours, then fed them a glucose solution for the next 12 hours. Withdrawal was then induced using either 24 hours of food deprivation or the withdrawal drug naloxone.
In both cases, the rats showed signs of withdrawal, including teeth chattering, shaking, and tremors. Researchers concluded that withdrawal from repeated, excessive sugar intake created symptoms that were similar to those of withdrawal from morphine and nicotine.
Ive seen this first-hand in humans. During the SkyLab bootcamps that I run, we break sugar addictions from the onset. And within four to five days, many of the participants experience sugar withdrawal. This can take the form of shaking, anxiety, low energy, and extreme cravings as they come off sugar.
Could you be addicted, truly addicted, to sugar? Keep a food journal for one week and log how much sugar you consume on a daily basis. In addition to the obvious things like sugar in tea or coffee, sodas, candy, baked goods, etc., remember to include things like honey, maple syrup, sweetened creamers, sweetened drinks, yogurts, and sweetened cereals and oatmeal.
For more nutrition advice, visit Dr. Larks Web site.