Believe it or not, I am a sweet tooth. So much so that there have been periods in my life where sugar has controlled my life. During such periods, I could not stop eating sweets.


In this article I will write about sugar addiction, what it did to me and how I got rid of it.

sugar addiction

Life as a sugar addict


I didn’t really have a problem with my weight or body image while I was being addicted to sugar. I ate a lot of sweets, but I also exercised a lot. However, my sweet tooth was never limited to one candy. Rather with one candy pack…I lived in a sugar castle where every meal was followed by dessert; every shopping trip landed at least one candy pack in the shopping cart, and every evening was finished with ice cream.


When I stopped eating sweets and added sugar, I lost 11 kilos in five months. The weights in the gym increased and my emotions were more balanced.


Before we can talk about how to break the addiction, we need to talk about what sugar addiction is. Let’s start!



What is sugar addiction?


When we think of the word addiction, it is first associated with alcohol, drugs and smoking. But you can also be addicted to food. In fact, there is an addiction to foods containing sugar and fat, such as chocolate, ice cream, pastries, etc. You don’t become addicted to sugar itself, because otherwise sugar addicts would pour it directly into their mouths. But no one does that. We become addicted to foods high in sugar and fat, especially foods high in both.


Food affects our brain in many complex ways, and one particularly important response is the release of dopamine. Like addictive drugs, eating releases dopamine. The release of dopamine creates a feeling of pleasure. Pleasure encourages us to repeat the behavior. The more dopamine is released, the more likely we are to repeat the behavior.


When we eat fat and sugar, sensors in the mouth send a message that it’s time to release dopamine. In addition, there is another sensor in the gut that registers fat and sugar, signaling the brain to release dopamine in the same area.


Foods that contain both sugar and fat are the most addictive to us because they raise dopamine levels up to 200% above normal.


emotional eating


How to get rid of sugar addiction?


First of all, you need to clarify which foods you are addicted to. Are they cookies, candies, pastries, or all of the above? Write down which ones you are addicted to. I was addicted to gummy bears, souffle and ice cream.


You also have to realize that you desire to eat such foods arises from emotions, places or time of day.


For example, when you are stressed, you want chocolate, every time you pass by your favorite pastry shop, you have to buy that cinnamon bun, or you need to eat ice cream with an evening movie.


Write down what your pattern is. What is it that makes you want to eat this goody?


For example, I never left Prisma without some pick&mix candies. I bought the pick&mix andies because I was aware of my addiction and hoped that buying these would help me eat smaller amounts. I also had to have something sweet after every lunch, like a souffle.


By becoming aware a.) which sweets you are fond of and b.) what makes you eat them, you can become more aware of your behavior patterns and begin to change them.


Now that the groundwork is done, we can focus on getting rid of the addiction. Remember – by eating strawberries instead of chocolate, you don’t really get rid of your sugar addiction, you just replace one for another.


The first step is to become aware


I’ll share my client’s story that illustrates well how to become aware of your pattern.


Having arrived home tired from work, she made herself some tea. Until the tea was getting ready, she thought of putting the first spoonful of honey in her mouth to stave off fatigue. Not only that this spoonful of honey did not taste good in her mouth, it also did not take away her fatigue. At that moment, she realized that she put honey in her mouth hoping that it would help with fatigue, but in reality, the fatigue did not go away, nor received she any pleasure from eating honey.


Let’s look at this situation through the habit loop:

Trigger: sugar

Behaviour: hijacked motor neurons that took a spoonful of honey to the mouth instead of the cup

The result: didn’t taste good and didn’t make her feel better either


If you can catch yourself in such moments and calmly think for a while about what you did and what you got out of it, you have become aware of what is happening. BECOMING AWARE is the first step to get out of the circle of your unhealthy habits.


Step number 2 – be curious, i.e. ask yourself “What do I get from this?”


Practicing curiosity makes it possible to step out of the habit loop.


Let’s revisit my client’s case. As she stands there now with her cup of tea, she should ask herself the following questions:


What did I get from putting honey in my mouth? The answer is probably: nothing.

What did I get from being curious about my behavior? The answer is that she became more aware and next time she will not put honey directly in her mouth, because now she has the experience and eating honey is not giving the expected result.


Stop living on autopilot!


While many of us want to kick our sugar addiction with the goal of losing weight, this habit also plays a big role in managing our emotions. Eating sugar can temporarily release a large amount of dopamine, but this is followed by a so-called sugar hangover, where the body has nothing to do with the large amount of energy and instead of making us feel better, it actually makes it worse.


The result is that instead being high in energy we are more tired and in a bad mood. We might even blame ourselves, because when we think rationally we know that it is a bad habit, but certain expectations and behaviour are already encoded in our body – for example, every meal must be followed by dessert, etc.


When we talk about addiction, we are quite kind to those who are addicted to hard substances. We know they need treatment, and getting rid of addiction is not easy.


We should be just as kind to any other addiction – sugar addiction is also an addiction, and getting rid of it is a long journey that often cannot be completed alone.


As with any addiction, getting rid of sugar addiction starts with awareness – realizing that I have a problem and I need help.


At Firmafitness, we help you both in awareness, in changing habits, and in creating new and healthier habits, which ultimately allow you to live a more fulfilling life.