Addicted to Sugar? 3 Ways to Quit

An addiction to sugar may not seem as harmful as addiction to other substances. After all, cutting out sweets is a lot easier than addressing other chemical dependencies, such as a dependency on alcohol. But sugar consumption is a leading cause of obesity and adult onset diabetes which, combined, lead to nearly 400,000 deaths annually.

Like any addiction, sugar addiction often has related or underlying mental health causes. Sugar not only provides a quick boost of energy, but it can also elevate levels of dopamine in the brain, leading to feelings of happiness and ecstasy. Drugs such as heroin create a similar, although more intense, effect.

If you find yourself unable to go more than one day without sugar or feel your mood is dependent on it, here are three ways to break a sugar consumption habit.

  1. Substitute with fruits and cheese. It is extremely difficult to cut out sugar cold turkey. So the next time you are craving a sweet or dessert, try substituting it with another food. Fruits provide a natural source of sugar that may satisfy the craving. Similarly, the high fat content and flavor intensity of cheese may reduce the urge to eat sugar.
  2. Drink water. Sometimes our bodies can mistake thirst for hunger. If you are dehydrated you may find yourself feeling sluggish and lethargic which will make it easier to reach for sweets and the instant energy boost they provide. By hydrating throughout the day you will feel more full and less dependent on sugar.
  3. Manage your stress. Emotional eating is a big contributor to sugar addiction. If you find that you turn to sugary foods when feeling tense and overwhelmed, try alternate forms of stress management such as exercise or meditation.

Luckly, experts say that it only takes about 10 days to break a sugar addiction. It is important to establish new and healthier habits during this time to prevent a relapse.