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Could You Be Addicted To Sugar? 5 Signs to Look Out For

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(Photo: iStock)

Why is it that, more times than not, “just one Oreo” inevitably turns into “ALL THE OREOS” and before you know it you’re staring at an empty box and tail spinning into a sugar-filled panic?

We know, Womanistas, we’ve all been there. And the scary truth is that you might be addicted to sugar – but you’re not alone.

Certified Nutrition Health Counselor Sarah Moore says sugar addiction is a rampant problem amongst a lot of people and is actually much more serious than you’d think. “Sugar is eight times more addicting than cocaine,” Moore says. “I have had clients who are successful and smart admit that they have woken up at night and actually driven to get their sugar fix at the grocery store.”

If comparing sugar to hard drugs sounds a little far-fetched to you, consider the findings from this new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggesting that higher sugar, higher glycemic foods can in fact be addictive in the same way that cocaine or heroin is.

The American Heart Association recommends that the average woman eat a maximum of 30 grams of added sugars per day; however, the average woman ends up consuming closer to 100 grams per day.

Sugar has been linked to serious health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, depression, headaches and fatigue. But the biggest problem is most people might not even know they have a problem. But it's not all a mystery -- here are five signs you are one of those in the dark about your sugar addiction. 

1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
5. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

While sugar’s effects on our internal organs are undoubtedly negative, the good news is they can be reversed. However, undoing the damage isn’t always easy.

“Sugar withdrawal results in headaches, moodiness and many major ‘detox’ symptoms,” Moore explains. “I tackle it with healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado and quality protein, all while simultaneously working on the why my clients are addicted in the first place.”

But there’s hope for the future. The FDA recently approved a new nutrition panel that highlights sugar levels, which is the first such change we’ve seen in decades. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a new nutrition-facts panel that appears on the back of all packaged food and beverages will list how many grams of sugar have been added by manufacturers and what percentage of the recommended daily maximum that represents.