How To Know If You Have A Sugar Addiction And What To Do About It
If you can’t go a day without digging into your ice cream stash or stopping at your local Starbucks to get your favorite mocha, it’s possible you have a sugar addiction.
The good news is you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consume 94 grams of sugar a day on average, which is exponentially higher than the daily recommended value. (On average, men should only have 37.5 grams a day and women should only have 25 grams a day).
So how do you know if you have a sugar addiction? And, if you do, how can you beat it? Brooke Alpert, nutritionist and author of The Sugar Detox, details the appropriate steps to take if you’re serious about kicking sugar to the curb.
The first step is to identify your addiction. “Think about every time you add sugar into something. Are you putting sugar in your coffee every morning? Honey into your yogurt? Maple into your oatmeal?” Alpert says. “And cut that out.”
If you struggle to ax or reduce your sugar intake even for just a day, chances are you have an addiction. The next step is a complete overhaul of your kitchen.
Alpert says that aside from cutting sugar from your diet, it’s important to be mindful of added sugars deceivingly included in pre-made foods, like salad dressing and pre-packaged oatmeal.
“Read the ingredients in the packaged foods that you’re eating, and what contains sugar that doesn’t require sugar,” Alpert says. “Look at your breads. Read the ingredient label. There should not be added sugar your bread.”
Completing those two steps and sticking to a new regimen for an extended period of time, even just a month, can help detoxify your body. Your body needs time to reprogram itself to start recognizing natural sweetness in foods, like fruit. For context, a sugar addiction can trick you into thinking an apple isn’t sweet if what you’re comparing it to is a slice of cake or a bowl of ice cream.
“Just by doing those two things, you’re going to remove a significant amount of sugar on a regular basis,” Alpert says. “Most people are aware when they’re eating a cupcake that they’re having sugar, but it’s those sugars that come in those foods that you wouldn’t expect, like salad dressing, that really get you. People have the right to know.”
Once your body is detoxified, Alpert says you can feel free to add good, natural sugar, like a little honey or maple, to your food in moderation. You won’t get addicted again if you use them sparingly and in small increments.
Most importantly, Alpert warns against supplementing sugar with “zero-calorie” sweeteners, which can be just as detrimental to your health as the real thing.
Sugar addiction has become an epidemic in the U.S. Don’t let sugar run your body into the ground. It’s time to beat it.