Sugar Addiction: Could Your Healthy Diet Be Masking It?

"Beating Sugar Addiction"It looks super-healthy on the surface, doesn’t it? Your diet, that is. Quality protein, fresh greens, good fats, only the occasional and certainly deserved indulgence. Nobody could ever dare accuse you of being anything less than a prime example of health.

Yet for some reason, you just can’t quite physically get to where you want to be. Don’t get me wrong, you’re ahead of the curve and you feel pretty great overall, but still … shouldn’t it be just a tad easier to stay and feel 100% on track?

sugar addicts anyonymous

Hands up if 2 or more of the following apply –

  • You’re lean or lean-ish, but you feel that for the way you eat and train you should be closer to ‘shredded’
  • You feel pretty good, most of the time and yet still struggle with occasional huge energy slumps, motivational blahs, or irritating brain fog
  • You get enough sleep but sometimes just can’t drop off no matter how much magnesium you slam before bed
  • You often find yourself daydreaming about treat foods – possibly the healthy ones, but still – and sometimes you mentally count the days until you get to have your next treat meal
  • When you do think about what you’d like to eat for a treat meal it is most definitely something deliciously sweet

If you’ve read my blogs for a while, you might remember my confession last year. That’s right – I ‘came out’ as a sugar addict. One well and truly in remission, but an addict nonetheless.

Well, I certainly thought I was in remission, but when I read Sarah Wilson’s sweet little e-book on Quitting Sugar I realised my so-called super-healthy diet was actually masking an ongoing addiction. And you might think I’m being more than a little nit-picky here, but really – if you feel like you just can’t quite get on top of your health or can’t quite lose those last few kgs, then maybe a little nit-picking now and then is worth it.

the devil you don’t (care to?) know

Here’s where my addiction (still occasionally) creeps in – all the while with that little white devil on my shoulder telling me that it’s okay, it doesn’t count, it’s fine in moderation:

  • The post-lunch cravings: Sweets from the vending machine? Why I would never stoop to such behaviour! I don’t even eat fruit most days. But a 3/4 latte with milk? What’s the problem with that?
  • Of course I’ll have a little dark chocolate after my lunch, or later in the afternoon. Hey, it’s 85% cacao! That’s a lot of cacao and not much sugar. Surely that can’t make a difference?
  • I might have some more after dinner – after all, it’s a ritual for a gal to have a little chocolate every evening. Isn’t it? Isn’t it?!
  • When I’m feeling a little blah I’m strong enough to push through without reaching for biscuits or candy. But some sugar-free chewing gum as an occasional break from my clean-eating routine? I know, I know, the artificial sweeteners are terrible for you, but it’s only now and then. That doesn’t count does it?

tell me i don’t have a sugar addiction. please?

I kind of want you to stand up and say ‘hey Kat, stop being so anal!’. And sure, maybe I am. At least that’s what I thought, until I kicked these little extras for a week or so. And here’s what I found –

  • The biggest difference was to do with overall energy. Not having a row of dark chocolate before bed meant I suddenly fell asleep much easier, stayed asleep deeply, and consistently woke feeling refreshed. To be honest, I was shocked that such a relatively small amount of caffeine was having such a profound effect on my sleep.
  • Switching from my 2-4 little squares of 85% dark chocolate post lunch to a small handful of tasty raw cacao nibs felt very noble. For about 15 minutes that is, until nobility went out the window and my body started screaming for something sweet. Only a little bit of sugar? Maybe. But definitely still enough to make a difference.
  • The idea of having a black coffee after lunch, or even one with cream, simply does not appeal to me. I just don’t want it. Which is interesting, as I thought it was the caffeine I enjoyed so much … and the coffee smell/ritual of course πŸ™‚ But apparently I don’t want my afternoon caffeine without the accompanying milky sweetness, even if just that small amount in a 3/4 latte. Interesting, no?
  • The chewing gum thing I thought would be easy peasy. After all, I rarely have it. But what I realised is that the times I reach for it is when I feel really blah and ‘in need’ of a sweet pick me up. Interestingly, even though it’s sugar-free, chewing gum does act as a stimulant. This could be because most artificial sweeteners still stimulate the release of insulin, same as if you’d had actual sugar. Insulin, as you may know, can be a fat-storage hormone. Doh.
  • Not to get too graphic, but my toilet habits kind of increased. I equate this to increased removal of toxins – which is always a good thing.

so – is your healthy diet masking a secret sugar addiction?

In my Woman Incredible Transformation Workshops (hint hint, the next one is in less than 2 weeks – Perth ladies be sure to contact me if you want to nab your space!) I teach you how to truly rid yourself of food addictions both physical and emotional. I think it’s an important journey for every woman to go through, and following are some of my ‘top tips’ n the subject.

For me, I do not plan to give up my dark chocolate or 3/4 lattes … completely. But I do think that anything we start ‘needing’ daily is a red flag. And by needing, you know I mean having πŸ™‚

The thing with sugar is that it is a very real addiction. And even having a few little itty bits each day can be enough to keep you in ‘sugar burning’ (as opposed to the much more desirable fat-burning) mode. Not to mention in addiction. So for me it was worth knuckling down and breaking the hold a little.

But how about you? Do you think you could be a secret sugar addict? And more importantly, does it matter? It may well not. But if you do often wonder what it would take to go from feeling good or even great to feeling freaking amazing, then perhaps – just perhaps – this is something to investigate.

I’ll kick you off with a list of common sneaky sweet offenders, but after that it’s over to you to do the hard yards. In my mind, we’re talking about dark chocolate, milk in coffee, anything with artificial sweetener, yogurt (yes, even plain), tomato or barbeque or any similar sauce, balsamic vinegar, sprinkle of chocolate on your coffee or a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, artificial coffee sweeteners.

And as far as getting off these sneaky sweeties? We are talking hard yards, trust me … but only for a few days until you realise you’re quite strong enough to manage without those little crutches. At least until you decide you can re-introduce them without going the whole hog so to speak!

Aren’t you?

12 responses to “Sugar Addiction: Could Your Healthy Diet Be Masking It?”

  1. Tanya says:

    I am a sugar addict!! You seem to always read my mind w these posts Kat. I have just this week decided to cut out my evening dark chocolate treat and I was just thinking to myself that I have been craving fruit and my flat whites A LOT lately (btw I was reading this post while drinking my flat white, talk about catching me in the act!!), and yes, I think I had my hand up for more than 2 of your points. Hard yards ahead indeed, but here we go….

    ps – gorgeous photo!!!

  2. Palo says:

    I identify with both and your post Kat!
    I had very bad few months where I could control was eating chocolate and after hours and hours at the gym for feeling guilty.
    Now I try to bring in another way and above all to listen to my body. I try to change the sugar from a fruit or a glass of water and seems to work.
    I try to give me a whim the weekends as a reward.

    Sorry for English, is not very good, I hope you understand!

  3. Lisa says:

    Does it resonate? Hec yes! Defo a sugar addict and well aware of it. Fructose sets off a binge, have been avoiding/managing it in all the places it lurks for the past four weeks.
    Have allowed 50ml of milk in my early morn coffee to sneak back into the daily indulgence – and boy do I look forward to it- so thanks for the heads up on that Kat!