Are you a sugar addict?

Learn how sugar addiction works, and how to cut the sweets from your diet without withdrawal symptoms.

Addicted to sugar: The good news
I am a sugar addict. Sodas and juice are always in my fridge and chocolate and cookies are always in my cupboards. Mornings start with juice; lunches include a soda, and evenings are wrapped up with a cookie or two. But is my so-called sugar addiction real, or just a bad habit? I asked two registered dietitians for their take.

The good news: there are worse vices than sugar
We aren't addicted to sugar in the same way people can become addicted or dependent on drugs or alcohol, says Heidi Bates, a registered dietitian at Tri-Nutrition Consulting in Sherwood Park, Alta. "Addiction implies that some physical harm will come to you if you can't take in the substance that you are addicted to. In the case of sugar or sweet foods, this is not the case. Going without sugary or sweet foods does not cause us physical harm," Bates says.

The bad news: sugar still provides a rush
Toronto-based registered dietitian Nicole Berkowitz uses a looser definition. "I would say 95 to 100 per cent of my clients are 'addicted to sugar' or some type of food substance," she says. "This being said, I am defining 'addiction' as using or abusing a substance for purposes other than basic necessity," she says.

Aha, I think. I'm truly not the only sugar hound around. Furthermore, Berkowitz posits that in our society we eat for a variety of different reasons, most of which have nothing to do with true hunger. "In my experience I've found we have lost touch with our bodies and what they actually need, nutrient-wise, and when they need it," she says. The thinking goes that because sugar, or carbohydrates usually in the form of glucose, is a major source of energy for the body, this tends to be the type of food most people turn to as their choice food substance to abuse.

Page 1 of 3 Learn proven ways to ditch sugar from your lifestyle with tips on page 2.

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This article is featured on Nutrition Month