When I first started my “health journey”, over 4 years ago, I knew that sugar was in a lot of the foods I was eating. But what I didn’t realize, is how much hidden sugar was in almost everything I was eating and how truly addictive it was. Just like I knew that sugar wasn’t great for me but I didn’t realize was just how BAD it was for me and for many of us. I’ll explain more of that in another article. For now, you need to know where every day hidden sugars are so you can stop the addiction cycle.

I knew that I liked sugar as I have a crazy sweet tooth at certain times (ahem, especially while PMSing). When I was a kid, it wasn’t uncommon for a meal to consist of frozen cookie dough, Doritos, and a Coke. Seriously, what was I thinking? When you’re young, you feel like you can eat anything and do anything. What you don’t understand is that years later, those food decisions will come back to haunt you. (Again, I’ll explain more in another article)

Sugar’s Common Hiding Spots:

The Pasta Sauces, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Instant Oatmeal, Salad Dressing, Breakfast Cereals, Energy Drinks (even “organic” ones), Packaged Fruits, Coleslaws (especially store bought or fast food), Tea, Dried Fruit, Ketchup, Frapps, Coffee Drinks, all of these have hidden sugars. Which, ironically, keep you coming back for more. And here’s why:

Sugar and the Brain:

You see, sugar does something to the brain. “When you eat something, it triggers a number of actions inside of you. Your tongue sends signals to your brain about what you’re tasting. Your gut and your brain work together, in turn, to release dopamine into your blood. Dopamine makes you feel good, which reinforces that what you just did (eat something) is good.

When it comes to sugar, your brain has an especially strong dopamine response. So, we keep wanting it and wanting more of it. That can lead to cravings, a higher tolerance for sugar and eating more to get that same dopamine effect.” —Effects of Sugar on the Brain: Cravings and Inflammation

Sugar and Addiction:

Sugar consumption leads to cravings and then higher tolerance of the sweet stuff and then craving more and more to get that “feel good” response. It sounds a lot like addiciton.

“The same brain structures and the same reward,” states Katherine Basbaum, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian with UVA Health. “We have research that shows pretty conclusively that added sugars have a detrimental effect,” she adds. “The feeling of reward is the same for sugar as it is for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. You don’t want to get addicted to something that causes inflammation, weight gain and chronic disease.” (I will discuss this in another article)

Sugar and You:

Whatever relationship you have with sugar, it’s good to take note of where you stand. Do you find yourself to be suffering from inflammation, weight gain, brain fog, diabetes (T2), out of control cravings? You might have a sugar addiction.

There are small steps you can make and small steps are better than NO steps. Start by reading the label, cutting back on your soda consumption, be mindful of your food choices. It starts with one small step. You can do this.

And of course, if you need help, feel free to contact me here and we can squash this sugar addiction together.