These are the signs that your sweet tooth might actually be a serious sugar addiction—and something you need to address.
Sugar in all its forms not only adds pounds to your frame, but research shows it boosts your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes—it may even increase your risk for some cancers, too. Sugar addiction is no joke—brains can rewire themselves to crave sugar, and you can end up withdrawal symptoms when you don’t get enough of the sweet stuff.
“Sugar addiction is a measurable, physiological phenomenon many people suffer from,” says Ken Berry, MD, author of Lies My Doctor Told Me. “Far too many doctors and dietitians deny its existence, which is very unfortunate. Sugar addiction makes it very difficult for many people to make the dietary improvements needed to improve their health.”
You hide your sugar habit
Some people with a sugar addiction may recognize they’re eating too much, but instead of finding ways to cut back, they hide it. “Making excuses or making deals with yourself concerning sweets and desserts is a definite sign of sugar addiction,” Dr. Berry says. “No one hides broccoli in their closet; if you hide sweets, or sneak to eat them, you have a sugar addiction.”
You need more and more to satisfy the craving
As with many addictive behaviors or substances, your tolerance to sweets may build over time. “A sign of sugar addiction is the need for more to satisfy the craving,” says Erin Akey FNC, KNS, a nutritionist and chef. “At first, one scoop of ice cream does the trick, but as you become more addicted you need more and more to get a fix.
You eat sugar even when you’re not hungry
Stuffed after a big meal—but you still have room for a big slice of cake? “The number one sign you have an addiction is that you’re turning to sugar when you’re not physically hungry,” says Lisa Rachel Snyder, intuitive eating coach and founder of the Beautiful Badass Method.
You always crave sweets
“After a sugar binge, your blood sugar will fall because insulin shoves all that sugar into the cells to prevent sugar damage,” explains Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a health, diet, and nutrition expert and author of Hormone Balance, The Magnesium Miracle, and The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health. “That fall causes low blood sugar and more cravings.”