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Sweets for my sweet? Sugar addiction

Reading Kesha James' blog in the Huffington Post this month really made me question my own habits around sugar and what it means to me. Growing up like most kids sweets and chocolate were a treat on a weekend or a part of celebrations such as birthday parties and family gatherings.

As I got older I started to become aware of how people around me used food sometimes for 'comfort' eating when they weren't hungry and trying to change the way they felt by eating. Usually this would be high sugar and carbohydrate food, in particular chocolate. During my puberty I did this as well and only when I got to my 20's stopped eating my emotions and considering what sugary foods did to my body.

I could empathise with James' narrative about yearning and craving for a sugar 'fix.' It is something I still experience on occasion and am mindful not to act on, could I call myself a sugar addict? Yes I would say that's true however I see myself as in recovery and that is an on-going journey.

On the End Sugar Addiction website there is an enlightening set of questions to determine if you have sugar addiction, these are:

  • Do you have physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms when you stop eating sugar?
  • Do you eat more sugar over time than you intended?
  • Are attempts at cutting down sugar unsuccessful?
  • Do you continue eating sugar despite consequences to your physical and psychological health?

Some experts believe that sugar addiction is responsible for the rise in obesity in the UK. Indeed it makes sense as sugary foods contain little goodness, are cheap, readily available and can leave a person craving for more and more. Other health consequences related to sugar addiction include; depression, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol, mood swings and fatigue.

Recovery from sugar addiction can be very difficult and may involve abstinence, it is important to have as much support as possible. As well as residential clinics and counselling which treats sugar addiction many addicts find Over Eaters Anonymous (OA) a vital support and will seek advice under a nutritionist.

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