Wednesday 26 May 2010

Is sugar addictive?

Is sugar addictive? This is a question that often comes up in our workshops and monthly Masterclasses. Some participants worry that if they follow the 10 Beyond Chocolate Principles and let themselves eat whatever they want they are on a slippery slope to disaster. So what is Beyond Chocolate’s take on ‘sugar addiction’? 

Well, like most things we only purport to know what’s true for us. True to the ‘Be your own Guru’ principle, we choose to believe, or not to believe in something because we have drawn conclusions based on personal experience and what we read about it. We have debated, experimented, researched and asked nutritionists and doctors what their take is on it. And so far, we have come across no clear scientific or empirical evidence that sugar is addictive. 

Sure, if by ‘addictive’ you mean something that you crave when you can’t have it, that the more you have of, the more you want and that you feel miserable without -  then maybe it is. But then I’d have to say I’m addicted to sunshine, sushi and expensive soap too, and that’s just things starting with the letter ‘s’.

Are you addicted to sugar? Be your own guru and find out. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Let yourself have as much sugar and sugary foods as you like for a few days. What do you notice? Do you want more and more? Do you feel uncontrollably drawn to sugary foods? Is it hard to stop? How do you feel physically? Do you notice any changes in your emotional well being? What do you tell yourself about the foods you are eating? Then cut sugar out of your diet completely for a few days. What happens then? How does your body react? How do you feel? Are you thinking about sugar all the time or not at all?

Investigate. Gather information. Assess. Re-assess. What have you learned about your relationship with sugar? Does this fit with your idea of addiction? Be your own guru!

Use the comments to share what you’ve learned with us. We’d love to hear your take on sugar addiction.


  1. I found keeping a 'food and mood' diary worked for me. Almost within a few days I could see a distinct correlation between eating sugary foods and how I felt 10 mins, 3 hours afterwards or even the next day. I'd feel low in energy, moody, and tired. Compare this to low GL foods, I felt energetic, fulfilled, satisfied and good consistent mood. Strangely this really helped me to see the evidence loud and clear when it was on paper and has helped me make better food choices for my body. This has helped me to really understand the meaning of 'eat what you want' I now eat what my body wants not what I 'think' I want. Sometimes a good piece of cake is worth the physical feelings afterwards but for the most part its not. I value feeling happy, energised and mentally alert more than I enjoy cake. But that's just my story and I guess all part of 'being my own guru' Revolutionary as wouldn't have even known all this 3 months ago!

  2. I definitely am addicted to sugar, physically and emotionally. When I'm tired, stressed, the cravings are worse. I'd like to know what to eat instead (please don't say an apple!) to balance sugar levels or what supplements to take to reduce the cravings.

  3. I recently discovered I cannot eat wheat and gluten but a test also showed I am intolerant to sugar. The person who gave the test said I was obviously aware of this as she rarely saw me eat sweet foods. I never liked them much as a child or teenager but did not mind chocolate. I now have to eat gluten free but still some chocolate seems fine and others no good at all. I believe corn fructose sugar is the problem and other sugars in moderation seem fine. Try reading 'In Defence of Food' Michael Pollan - New York Times Bestseller. Not sure if it was in this book by I have read a number of articles/books by doctors in America who say that Corn Frutose is as addictive, or more so, than heroin!


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