Listening to your body is so important for your health.
In order to put your health first, you have to know what your body is trying to communicate!
When it comes to your body’s relationship with sugar, it’s not as cut and dry as it may seem. Your body has a number of ways of communicating its needs and if you’re not paying attention, you may not even notice! Sugar is super addictive and can cause a ton of health issues including high blood pressure, inflammation, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. So how do you know if you’re eating too much sugar? Well, your body will let you know! Here are 8 signs your body is addicted to sugar and our advice on how to manage your sugar intake!
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1. You find yourself snacking and eating all day long.
Do you often find yourself with a snack in hand or having more meals than usual? Do you feel a hunger that continues even after eating a full meal? People tend to attribute this behavior to boredom or depression, but the reality is, the issue goes much deeper than that. Our bodies are genetically inclined to crave sugar since it’s a vital source of energy. However, nowadays sugar is in nearly everything we eat and drink, which means we are consuming it at an incredibly high rate without even realizing it! It also causes our brain to release certain feel-good chemicals that train our body to want more and more, making us feel hungry more often not because we are actually hungry, but we are addicted to the release of chemicals in our brains.
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2. You eat a lot of fruit or drink a lot of juice.
Sugars found naturally in fruits are much easier to digest and healthier for your body. However, if you happen to have a high rate of sugar intake and happen to be addicted to sugar, your inclination towards sweet fruits and juices could be contributing! These naturally sweet foods can increase your cravings, making sugar avoidance even harder. It may be better to opt for some fresh veggies if you find yourself craving sugars and fruits!
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3. You prefer sugary drinks, especially your coffee and alcohol choices.
Turns out, your level of self-control isn’t entirely to blame as to why you may crave sugar with your morning coffee! There are two very important chemicals in this mixture that account for this phenomenon: caffeine and adenosine. Adenosine is the chemical that makes us feel tired and sleepy and when we drink coffee in the morning, the caffeine actually blocks the adenosine, making us feel more energized. Adenosine was also found to help our brains recognize and process the taste of sugar, so when that adenosine is blocked by a cup of coffee, our body searches for the sweetness it thinks it’s missing. That can very easily play a part in why the pastries at our favorite coffee shop look so much more appetizing in the mornings! As far as alcohol is concerned, some people prefer more sugary drinks in order to mask the taste of the alcohol itself, however, the high percentage of sugar that makes those sweet drinks will amplify the effects of the alcohol in your brain. It can play a role in the development of alcoholism or the management of recovery, so be aware of how much sugar you are consuming on your next night out!
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4. You feel chronically stressed out.
Food plays a major role in mental health. Though it’s not the sole contributor to issues like depression, anxiety, and high stress levels, these things are all impacted by the food you eat. Eating too much sugar trains your brain to respond to the chemical releases we discussed earlier, as with any addiction, but does not give your body the nutrients it needs to have you feel your best. It can lead to an increased difficulty in regulating emotions and impulsivity leaving you easily irritated, unmotivated, and tired.
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5. Hunger hits hard.
We talked about how eating too much sugar can lead us to feel hungry when we don’t need food, which can be referred to as “hedonic hunger,” but another sign that your sugar intake levels are too high is how strong hunger hits you. You may feel fine throughout the day and all of a sudden you’re doubling over with hunger pain that’s so strong you can hardly think about anything else, even though you ate at the same times you usually do. The more often this happens, the more likely it is that your body is showing signs of a sugar addiction.
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6. You crave sugar during or after meals.
For a lot of people, dessert is the best part of any meal. If you find yourself looking forward to that dessert more often, even whilst you’re still eating, and looking for an excuse to have some sugary sweetness with every meal, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with sugar.
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7. You crave carbs in the morning or late at night.
We’ve all had late-night cravings and it’s not that weird to have a stash of snacks for that very occasion. However, it’s not the healthiest way to interact with food. If you’re constantly craving starchy or sugary foods late at night or even in the mornings, your body is trying to alert you on what it needs. The cravings are not actually what your body is wanting, but actually the opposite. If you find yourself succumbing to these cravings, you’re just putting yourself in a perpetual loop where the cravings become stronger and more frequent. Instead, opt for raw fruits and veggies and you’ll notice your cravings, especially in the hours from dusk til dawn, will dramatically decrease.
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8. You’re irritable and have stronger cravings the longer you’re without sugar.
One of the biggest indications that you’re battling an addiction to sugar is how much it impacts your behavior. If you try to avoid sugar, do you become more persistent and desperate to have some? Do you become easily irritated, moody, or depressed? Try to withhold yourself from sweet snacks and sugary drinks for a few days and observe what it does to you. If you find yourself and your behaviors becoming harder to manage, odds are, your body has become addicted to sugar!
So you’re addicted to sugar, what can you do about it?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to overcoming any addiction, but luckily, sugar is oftentimes an easier one to manage. The first piece of advice we can offer is to stay up-to-date with Mealfit’s educational blog! We post a lot of tips and informational pieces to prioritize your health! When it comes to sugar, specifically, check out our Guide to Sugars: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for a better perspective on types of sugars and how they impact health. Aside from our own advice, there are plenty of resources available online to help manage sugar intake. Here is a resource of tips and tricks to tackle sugar cravings and explore sugar alternatives! Whatever you do, stay motivated and put your health first. It’s not always going to be easy, but maintaining a healthy relationship with sugar and food as a whole is key to living a healthy life inside and out!
We hope you enjoy this article about 8 Signs Your Body is Addicted to Sugar. If you tried incorporating these things into your regular routine, make sure to let us know! For more recipes, follow us on social media and make sure to check out our weekly blog posts where we share our new favorite recipes and must-know facts about food and living a healthy lifestyle! Check out the other meal options Mealfit provides such as our Weekly Specials, Individual Meals, and other Meals by the Pound.