by Julie Ann Allender
Most people think of drugs and alcohol as addictive substances, but few think of things like workaholism or sugar addiction, two of the most prevalent addictions today.
Sugar has recently become recognized as an addictive substance. It stimulates the same part of the brain as heroin or cocaine and can impact the body in harmful ways. It can weaken the immune system and is directly linked to diabetes, cancer, allergies, asthma, acne, tooth decay and other ailments.
The national recommendation for daily sugar intake is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. That eliminates soda, which is about 13 teaspoons, and most store-bought sweets, as well as things one might not expect, like coffee drinks and smoothies.
Tips for Recognizing and Treating Sugar Addiction:
- Recognize and be willing to admit the possibility of sugar addiction. Signs include cravings, hiding, sneaking, being afraid to talk about it, weight gain and obsessive thoughts.
- Read ingredient labels for their sugar content.
- Go to CSPInet.org and become familiar with the different names used for sugar and artificial sweeteners. Download their free chart.
- Keep sugary products out of the house or office. Use up what is in the pantry and don’t buy more. Alternately, put sugary foods in the freezer, where they will be more easily forgotten.
- Choose healthier alternatives like meat, fish, chicken, produce and grains. These foods are known to help curb sugar cravings.
- Set limits that are hard to achieve, such as not eating dessert at a restaurant that costs over $2.
Working with a mental health professional who specializes in sugar addiction can offer support and guidance for people who are trying to overcome this problem.
Julie Ann Allender, EDD, is a licensed psychologist practicing in Sellersville, with experience helping sugar addicts. Connect with her at 215-799-2220, DrJAAllender@gmail.com or PetTherapyParadisePark.com. June 2015.