If the answer is yes, you are not alone.
The average American has 140 to 150 pounds of sugar per person of sugar added to their diets each year. Another 18 percent of our calories come from white flour (which acts a lot like sugar in our bodies). Eating almost twice our weight in sugar and white flour each year, it's not surprising that we have become a nation of sugar addicts. Like many other addictive substances, sugar may leave you feeling a bit better for a few hours, but then wreaks havoc on your body.
In our new Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! (BSAN) book, we describe the four main types of sugar addicts. In each type, there are different forces driving the addiction, and in all four types the excess sugar leaves people feeling much worse overall. By treating the underlying causes that are active in your type of addiction, you will find that not only do your sugar cravings go away, but you also feel dramatically better overall.
Here's more good news. Once you have broken your sugar addiction, your body will usually be able to handle sugar in moderation. This means saving sugar for dessert or snacks where it belongs, and going for quality, not quantity. Dark chocolate is especially okay.
We will also discuss how to "have your cake and eat it too", and how to use natural sugar substitutes to get the pleasure-- without paying the cost. It is not our goal to eliminate things you love. Our goal instead is to teach you how to get the most pleasure you can, in a way that is healthy for your body and leaves you feeling better. In medicine, we have a simple rule. Never take away something pleasurable from a person's diet without substituting something equally pleasurable.
Why Is Sugar Addictive?
For thousands of years, humans ate sugar found naturally in their food. Sugar was not a problem; it was a treat. But now more than one-third of the calories we consume come from sugar and white flour added by food processing. Our bodies simply were not designed to handle this massive load.
Many of you have already noticed that although sugar gives you an initial high, you crash several hours later, and this leaves you wanting more sugar. In fact, sugar acts as an energy loan shark, taking away more energy than it gives. Eventually, your "credit line" runs out and you find yourself exhausted, anxious, and moody.
The Long-Term Consequences of Sugar Addiction
In addition to the immediate fatigue and emotional problems, sugar also causes many long-term health problems. For example, our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has risen 250 percent in the past fifteen years--and our rate of diabetes has increased approximately 45 percent during the same time period. Although the sugar industry sometimes tries to confuse the public by claiming that corn syrup is not sugar, it is a form of sugar as far as your body is concerned--and more toxic than cane sugar.
Some chronic medical problems associated with excess sugar in our diet include:
Fatigue and pain
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
Irritable bowel syndrome and spastic colon
Metabolic syndrome with high cholesterol and hypertension
Candida and yeast infections
Anxiety and depression