I can tell you straight away that yes, sugar is very addictive but let's dig a bit deeper into this subject.
About 37 days ago I stopped drinking alcohol and stopped smoking cigarettes cold turkey. Fast-forward a bit and I am buying daiya cheesecakes, vegan cookies, and coconut milk ice cream every other day and devouring them in my bed until I feel uncomfortable. The issue is, I have an addictive personality and if not carefully observed I can take any addiction to the extreme.
Isn't that just a mental addiction though?
No, scientists have actually found sugar to be physically addictive. It stimulates the same the same "pleasure centers" of the brain that go off when people take heroin or cocaine and just like harder drugs you will experience sugar withdrawals after cutting it cold turkey. But, once you have successfully cut sugar for a few weeks you may notice yourself able to appreciate the taste of your food more overall.
But is it really a big deal to be addicted to sugar?
While I don't quite put eating an entire bag of black licorice and then laying around in bloaty pain on the same level as getting so drunk I black out and wake up with a head injury it is still dangerous. Particularly if you have certain health issues. I have PCOS so I need to really do my all to avoid sugar to keep it from worsening my condition. But an abundance of sugar is not good for anyone. High sugar intake along with huge portions, refined carbs, and processed junk food has lead Americans and the rest of the first world into a full-blown obesity epidemic. I've already lost 8lbs in the past 37 days from cutting booze and I am pretty curious to see how much more quickly my weight decreases when I cut out all the refined sugar.
Last week I consumed this much refined sugar:
(for the record my medication also causes increased appetite and sugar cravings)
Also I would like to have a bullet list but for some reason my entire blog is centered even though I closed off my center code.
910 calories worth of black licorice
1,440 calories worth of daiya vegan cheesecake
760 calories worth of coconut milk ice cream
140 calories worth of gin gins
That is 3,250 calories worth of sugary treats. That is almost a pound. I imagine I will lose about 3 extra pounds a month by cutting out the sugary junk. However, I don't have to give up my sweet tooth when hopping onto the low-sugar/no-sugar wagon. No refined sugar is key and then keeping an eye on overall sugar intake.
How I have been dealing with my sugar cravings.
Hot carob if made with stevia and unsweetened non-dairy milk can be very low in sugar.
Hot Carob with Stevia
This nightly treat has been great. Carob is naturally a little sweet but with less than a teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon serving it is much less sugary than chocolate. It also is rich in fiber and soothing for anyone with diarrhea. I simply heat up unsweetened coconut milk, 1 packet of stevia, and 1 tbspn of carob in a pot. I measure out the milk by using my mug of choice. What you end up with is a sweet, low calorie, low sugar hot drink. My big mug full ends up being 80 calories total.
Want something sweet with NO calories?
I have started making my own tea at home and I make different herbal blends and add a tiny pinch of stevia leaf for sweetness. But you don't need to go all rustic like I did and chisel out bits of coconut and dry them in the oven along with blueberries. You can just buy an herbal tea you like and add a little stevia. If you do loose leaf tea I do suggest buying stevia leaf online and just adding it to your tea bag/ball/infuser. But regular tea bags and packets of stevia work just as well.
Have some natural sweetness in your breakfast!
I have rolled oats for breakfast and add a bit of carob and a little stevia along with a few blueberries. This gives me some sweetness without putting me into a sugar coma. If you are going to go for sugar try going for fruit but keep an eye on the sugar content. I used to eat entire watermelons and at that point you are really outweighing any benefits of the fruit by overloading in sugar. There can be too much of a good thing.
Let yourself indulge on special occasions.
I plan to bake one helluva cake for my 30th birthday. I will reserve my right to eat sugary goodness on special days like that. A few holidays out of the year is no big deal. Let yourself have that cake.
Okay but I love my sugar and I don't want to go that crazy on cutting it out. What can I do?
You can make small changes such as cutting your soda consumption in half or cutting your candy consumption in half. If you make sweet tea make it a little less sweet? If you are loading up on sugar every day just cutting that in half can make a big difference.