Tackle Sugar Addiction and Gain Control of Your Appetite

Posted by – February 7, 2011

In this article: three tips to enable you to beat sugar addiction, the world’s most intensely sweet sugar-free natural drink, and Squiffy’s delicious fruit salad recipes

Is sugar addictive? For many people, the answer is certainly yes. Science is increasingly lending support to the idea that almost anything can be addictive to some people. We are hard-wired to find sugar delicious, making sugar an easy option to turn to for a quick lift. Unfortunately the desire for a quick lift can quickly become a habit, leading to a serious sugar addiction; furthermore, sugar can induce fearful peaks and troughs in our blood insulin levels, which tend to cause you to overeat and become moody.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth. A good video to watch if you want to be scared out of eating sugar for life.

If you want to lose weight, or even just switch to healthy eating habits, you’ve got to tackle sugar addiction. You don’t necessarily have to stay off sugar altogether for the rest of your life, but you need to ensure you’re only eating sugar as an occasional treat and not because you crave it. When you crave sugar, that’s the time not to eat it; giving in to a sugar craving can land you with a sugar addiction that’s hard to stop.

You might not need all the tips on this page to beat your sugar addiction. But let’s assume you are seriously, fearfully addicted to sugar. Let’s assume the worst-case scenario! How can you unhook yourself from this terrible drug, this awful vice that rots your teeth and makes you fat?

You Do Not Need Sugar

Firstly, understand that your body does not need sugar. You need precisely no sugar at all. The starch in potatoes and bread even gets turned into sugar in your mouth and stomach by the action of an enzyme in your saliva. This sugar isn’t something you need to worry about unless you’re diabetic, since it is released slowly into your blood stream. It’s the sudden influx into your body of large amounts of sugar from refined sources that you have to worry about. To get a grip on your sugar addiction, at least temporarily cut out refined sugar completely. You might feel at first as though you can’t possibly even enjoy life without your sugar fix, but that feeling will pass with time. When you reach a point of feeling like you can take or leave sugar, that’s the time when you can eat it moderately and safely; but even then, beware! As soon as you start turning to sugar for energy or a mood lift, you’ll get back on the wheel of sugar addiction.

Beat Sugar Addiction By Making Going Cold Turkey Easier

Do you find you can’t deal with your cravings and find it impossible to go cold turkey? There are three steps that you need to take:

  1. Find something to do other than eating sweet things
  2. Get some cardiovascular exercise regularly for several weeks
  3. Eat lots of fruit daily for a few weeks

If you find yourself eating sweet things regularly at a certain time of day, try to find something else to do at that time. Don’t adopt a vice that’s even worse than sugar addiction, but by all means indulge yourself for the sake of getting over your addiction. If you go cold turkey, it will most likely take 2-3 weeks before the cravings subside. Plan ahead and think of something engaging to do when the cravings hit. Watch your favourite TV program, arrange to do things with friends that don’t involve sugar (so no boozing!), play computer games or find good books to read — anything to take your mind off sugar.

The correct type of exercise can really help massively diminish sugar cravings and enable to you beat your sugar addiction. You need to get regular cardiovascular exercise for half an hour every other day for several weeks. With the right type of exercise performed regularly, your cravings will really begin to diminish. Check out my article on the subject to find out how you can easily fit cardiovascular exercise into your life.

Finally, eating lots of fruit regularly will also hugely diminish your sugar cravings and help you beat sugar addiction. Why, I’m not sure. But in my experience, it really works. Don’t eat dried fruit or canned fruit, because these can contain so much sugar in such a concentrated form that they can end up feeding your sugar addiction instead of stopping it. Always eat fresh fruit.

The Most Intensely Sweet Sugar-Free Drink In the World

Now, the ‘nuclear option’ of fresh fruit for sugar addiction is a banana milkshake. Use a food blender to blend well-ripened bananas with half-fat milk. You can also freeze the bananas after they’ve ripened fully to make your banana milkshake virtually resemble ice-cream. The bananas should be ripe to the point that they have some brown dots on their skins for maximum sweetness. I call this drink the ‘nuclear option’, because it is so intensely sweet that it’s on the border of being addictive itself. But it’s much healthier than eating chocolate (chocolate is after all virtually fat mixed with sugar and flavouring), and it can help you to go cold turkey with refined sugar.

If you’re serious about breaking your sugar addiction, try eating lots of fruit daily for a few weeks before attempting to cut the refined sugar out. If you don’t like fruit all that much, you can jazz it up a lot by making delicious fruit salads. Chop up your favourite fruits and mix them all together. With practice you can become a dab hand at peeling and chopping fruits (experiment to find the fastest way possible of preparing them); then you can create an excellent fruit salad in about five minutes flat.

Be aware that fruit varies immensely in quality. If you think you don’t like fruit, maybe you just haven’t tasted really good fruit. Try different brands and types of oranges and apples etc, till you find ones you like.

If you include juicy fruits in your salad such as oranges, they will stop fruits like apples and bananas from turning brown. Mix your salad well and seal it in an airtight sandwich container. It will remain fresh enough to eat for at least ten hours.

Some good combinations to try for fruit salads are:

  • apple, banana, orange
  • grapes, banana, orange
  • peach, grapes, melon
  • plums, orange, strawberries

… and basically anything you can think of. Oranges, lettuce and chopped nuts also surprisingly make an excellent salad! In general, if you use drier fruits like bananas and apples, also add some juicy fruits like oranges and grapes.

Eat a bowl of fruit salad every day, and after a few weeks you will probably find your desire to eat refined sugar diminishes. Combine this with exercise and you can beat your addiction, even if you’re previously found it unbreakable.

Next: Lose weight by replacing unhealthy foods with healthy ones.

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6 Comments on Tackle Sugar Addiction and Gain Control of Your Appetite

  1. dee says:

    Fruit has natural sugar, that is why it diminishes cravings for synthetic sugar.

    • Squiffy says:

      Thanks for the comment, Dee. I think you must be right, although since table sugar is metabolised to fruit sugar (plus glucose), it’s hard to understand why small amounts of fructose in fruit could decrease cravings for basically the same substance in a different form. Maybe it’s something to do with it being combined with fibre and other stuff in fruit. I definitely find it helps enormously. Lustig points out that the quantity of sugar in fruit is basically negligible compared to the amount of fructose you’d get by eating a “normal” diet of processed food. So maybe it’s a question of helping provide a small controlled “fix”.

  2. sugarfree says:

    This is the first time I have seen sugar addiction acknowledged, although I don’t read a whole lot of medical journals. For a number of years and until a couple of weeks ago I was hooked on energy drinks… in the morning, during the day, even before bed! if i didn’t get my fix i would have a mild headache and general miserable feeling with something inside urging me to go and get more! I had a really huge apetite as well, after eating a big meal I felt like eating another big meal. People just said i’m greedy but I was sure it was linked to the ups and downs in sugar levels.

    It was a life changing event which made me decide I don’t want to live like that anymore, and I just completely quit substituting the red bulls and cokes for sparkling water and then spring water. I had really bad headaches and a high fever for a week, which I put down to my body fighting to get rid of the last drops of the evil stuff!

    Now that its gone I feel great. I have lost 10% of my body weight in a couple of weeks because I now have a normal appetite and, as I don’t feel the urge to eat whatever I can get my hands on, I can plan healthy meals.

    I think we should all be aware of this addiction as many people suffer from it.

    • Squiffy says:

      I can totally relate to this! My appetite also gets out of hand if I eat sweet things, which is what motivated me to write this article. As a student I used to break into a sweat and feel feverish if I stopped eating chocolate.

      Probably lots of people are stuck in this cycle without realising it. People think they are “naturally fat” when actually their sole problem may be their refined sugar intake.

      I hope you can stay off the stuff; I’m sure you will struggle again with the desire to eat sugar (I find it’s an insidious addiction that tends to creep up on me when my guard is down), but I reckon your appetite will continue to regulate itself if you can stay off sugar. Best of luck and thanks for the comment.

  3. arasnottus says:

    Thank you for your article, I am still working through it but it is amazing thus far. My question is about refined sugar. When you mentioned no alcohol, I realized I might not have a full understanding of what has refined sugar and what does not. Do you have a working definition you could provide or know of any articles I could read to get a real handle on this? Thank you in advanced for your help!

    • Squiffy says:

      Hi there, just to clarify, I’m not the guy in the video :) My own knowledge of sugar comes from having studied chemistry and generally taken an interest in this subject for a long time, but I’m not an expert. Alcohol is not a sugar, but almost all alcoholic drinks contain at least some sugar (unsweetened spirits being an exception), because alcohol is created from sugar by yeast. If you look at a list of ingredients, anything ending in “ose” is usually a sugar; sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc. Syrups are mostly sugar, and so are some natural products, such as honey. Many other less sweet foods naturally contains sugar, and starch is turned into sugar when it’s digested. But, in my opinion, it’s added sugar that’s worth watching out for; the stuff on the list of ingredients at the back (which you may not see on alcoholic drinks, since in many countries they are except from proper labeling). Basically if something tastes significantly sweet, it’s not fruit and the sweetness isn’t due to artificial sweeteners, it probably has added sugar.

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