Craving sugar is prevalent in many lives because, well, sugar tastes great! Sugar pleases our brain by releasing dopamine which then makes us happy and want even more. This sugar happiness cycle makes sugar highly addictive. If you have a sugar addiction, it is best to address the problem and start finding ways to combat your sugar cravings for the sake of your physical, mental, and oral health.
Signs of a Sugar Addiction
If you feel you are craving sugar quite often, here are some signs you can look for to know if your sugar cravings are turning into an addiction!
If you have recently gone through a breakup, had a bad day, or watched a sad movie, it is very common to crave sugar. Craving sugar in these situations can be a sign of sugar addiction because you are using sugar to cope with life, depression, or anxiety. Two licensed therapists specializing in addiction said that “Indulging in sugar to acquire such emotional relief is unhealthy, as it does not allow the individual to feel their emotions or deal with them properly.”
If you are aware that you are eating too much sugar, but choose to eat it anyway, this is a sign of sugar addiction and will have negative consequences.
If you try to stop eating sugar, but have symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, no energy, muscle pain, or bloating, you are likely addicted to sugar and should cut back a little at a time.
If you find yourself going out of your way to obtain sugar, such as a late-night trip to the gas station, you are likely addicted to sugar and should try and stop going out of your way for sweets.
Last but not least, if you feel guilty about eating sugar, but have continued to eat it, you likely have a sugar addiction.
In any of these cases, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor or a specialist to help you overcome the sugar battle.
Sugar Addictions and Teeth
Having too much sugar can be damaging to your oral health. The acids in your mouth that break down sugar can also dissolve your tooth enamel. People who eat more sugar are more likely to have more cavities, decay, gum disease, and other oral issues. To keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible, it is best to limit your sugar intake and get help if you’ve recognized a sugar addiction.
Combating Sugar Addictions
If you really want something sweet, but want to keep yourself healthy, try one of these things before jumping to ice cream, chocolate, or soda:
Eat Fruit! Fruit can be a great sugar replacement because, well, fruit still has sugar in it! A sweet peach, handful of grapes, or slice of watermelon might be enough to satisfy your craving.
Sugar-free Gum. Many people find that chewing gum can help drive away a sugar craving. Make sure to chew sugar-free gum so that it is better for your teeth!
Eat regularly. If you are waiting too long between meals, you are more likely to eat sugary foods because they are often easily accessible (packaged and ready to go!).
Snack Prep! Have some snacks prepped and ready to grab, such as carrots, fruit, nuts, etc. Having something healthy to chew on can also help drive cravings away.
Stay Busy. When you have sugar cravings, get outside, take a walk, work on a project, or visit a friend. Anything you can do to keep busy will help take your mind off of your sugar cravings.
Michael A. Larsen, DDS Sky Sessions, DDS 33 Winn Drive Suite 2 Rexburg, ID 83440