I have had a ‘drug’ addiction most of my life. I’ve been addicted to sugar, and my drug of choice has been refined sugars.
Now you may think this is a bit silly, saying eating refined sugars is a drug addiction, because this brings a comparison between refined sugars and such substances like cocaine or heroin.
There are a crazy amount of studies surfacing through the web and social media that compare refined sugars to cocaine and heroin, and the findings are showing that refined sugars are as addictive as other drugs, in fact sometimes more addictive because refined sugars are so readily available and so widely accepted as part of our everyday existence.
Addicted to Sugar: How it Began…
When I was 8 years old I was diagnosed with hypoglycaemia, which means my body had an intense response to sugar. It was described as an ‘allergy’ to refined sugars which resulted in my body over-producing insulin whenever I consumed refined sugar. My body saw sugar as the enemy and it went about rapidly breaking it down to get it out of my system.
This would happen at a far too rapid pace for me to handle, and after the high experienced from the sugar, I would very quickly become quite lethargic and sometimes fall asleep as my blood glucose levels dropped too quickly.
So I was told by the doctors to eliminate all refined sugars from my diet and eat regularly to maintain an even blood glucose level. I gave this a go and I found it extremely difficult: so much so, that after a while I started to eat refined sugars again.
And so began my addiction to refined sugars – even though I knew it could potentially harm me in ways that could not be reversed, particularly insulin dependent diabetes.
My Drug Addiction Grew…
It started with eating the sugar out of the sugar bowl but I got caught doing this so I had to find another source. I began to steal lollies from the local newsagency: I got caught again… so this time I stole money out of my Mum’s piggy bank and went and bought the lollies instead. Funnily enough, I got caught again! I was really determined to eat sugar!!
Let’s pause for a moment and consider what this type of dedicated behaviour may mean…
Does it sound like how a drug addict would behave?
…It does to me!
The addiction to eating sugar was so strong for me that I played Russian roulette with my health for many years.
I continued to eat sugar regularly and ignored the doctors’ warnings that at any time my pancreas could run out of steam from over-producing insulin, and stop producing insulin altogether. This could have meant living as an insulin dependent diabetic and having to inject myself with insulin daily for the rest of my life.
But there was a part of me that thought I could get away with this type of addictive behaviour, that I was invincible, and that these kinds of health consequences would never happen to me.
My Drug Addiction Continues…
Fast forward to about the year 2009. I was 33 years of age with a 1 year old daughter; as I had stopped eating gluten as a trial and felt a lot better, I decided to fully commit to not eating gluten anymore. I also stopped consuming dairy, and then rice, and through these choices lost a lot of the weight I had gained during pregnancy.
So there I was: I’d stopped eating gluten, dairy and rice – things I knew affected me – and I was feeling like I was starting to take responsibility for the food I was choosing to feed myself… but I was still very much a sugar addict, and had been one for 25 years.
Reaching the Turning Point…
I remember one day standing in my kitchen popping a Mentos lolly into my mouth, one of many that I had consumed that day, and looking in amazement at the near empty packet. I also felt the pull to check whether I had another packet, for when this one finished I would need more, but something inside made me stop in my tracks and look at what I was doing.
In this moment I realised that I was addicted to sugar – heavily addicted. This was my drug of choice. I felt this sick feeling in my stomach with the knowing that I could no longer, in good conscience, keep eating refined sugars. The time had come to really commit to not eating sugar anymore!
And so began the next stage of my journey, learning how to work with my body and my food choices – to start to understand what I chose to consume and why – to break this powerful addiction to sugar.
With thanks to Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon for opening my eyes to the possibility that what we eat really does impact our health and wellbeing in a huge way.
By Robyn Jones, 38, B.Sc. (Psych), Counsellor, Goonellabah, Australia
Read Part Two: Exhaustion and the Effects of Sugar Addiction
Read Part Three: From Sugar Addiction to Gluten, Dairy & Sugar Free Yummy Delights
Are We Consuming Sugar Or Is Sugar Consuming Us?
Why Are Our Service Stations Crack Houses? And What Does Sugar Do To The Brain?
Totally agree Fiona is as thought there is a big Elephant in the room but we totally ignore that fact that it is there, we are all masters at only seeing what we what to see and discard the rest. So there is no way any of us is going to admit the the Elephant being in the room with us.
Richard so many people stop smoking but fill the gap by eating more food and so put on weight which they might not want to do. So it makes sense what you are saying that we need to understand the real issue behind why people smoke in the first place, otherwise as you say we simply replace the need or desire with something else without truly understanding what we are doing.
I crave and want sugar when I am tired its my go to, I only now eat fruit sugar but I really relish how even fruit sugar is super addictive.
When we talk to each other about addictions we tend to think of addictions in relationship to prescribed, illicit drugs or alcohol. I would never consider being addicted to sugar as something to be concerned about but I notice that when I eat too much sugar it does affect my body. Carbohydrates which the body turns into sugar puts me to sleep and refined sugar races it so that I feel a bit weird a bit spaced out. If we were to consider just how much sugar is in the food that we eat and then perhaps consider why we need to eat so much sugar is there something that we don’t want to feel and the only way not to feel it is to keep our bodies stimulated and racy.
An addiction to sugar is very hard to break as sugar is everywhere. Stopping eating refined sugar I was finding sugars in many other foods.
Sugar was my addiction too, it is a drug and one that is very hard to kick, but what a difference in the body when we can kick it – it’s the difference between living and existing.
We don’t like to admit just how addicted to sugar we are generally. On a subtle level, it does change our chemical responses, like alcohol (but in a different way)… just observe kids once they have had cake and chocolate and watch them become hyperactive. Eat too much of this over time and the strain we put on our nervous system, adrenals and cellar makeup is it no wonder we are all exhausted, flat and demotivated?
Rachel not only does eating sugar put a huge strain on our bodies but it also is a way to stop us from reconnecting to our bodies which having been addicted to sugar I feel is the greatest form of self abuse we can subject ourselves to. When we cut out the sugar we can feel the delicateness and just how sensitive our bodies are when we come to this understanding about our bodies then we don’t want to loose the connection to our delicateness so we naturally stop eating sugar because we can feel how the sugar upsets the gorgeous feeling we are connecting back to. But sugar is only one form of poison we attack our bodies with, so what is it about us that we constantly want to assault our bodies? Why don’t we want to feel just how gorgeous our bodies truly are?