Sugar Detox Day 11: Is Sugar *Actually* Addictive?

I frequently use the language of addiction to describe my relationship with sugar (see my recent reference to mainlining maple syrup for more details). But I pretty much thought that sugar or food addiction, like sex addiction, was bullsh*t. Because…science.

Quitting sugar cold turkey made me think twice. Because I have experienced a few pretty classic physical dependence/withdrawal symptoms:

  • Strong, preoccupying cravings
  • Intense desire when confronted with sugar (in this case, a tub of sour keys that some sadist put outside my office, which have haunted me like an evil, taunting siren every day for a week now)
  • Irritability (source: anyone who has spoken to me in the last 11 days)
  • Rationalization (I argue with myself at least once a day to stay off the sugar. It is exhausting, because I am very convincing. )

sugar addiction So I decided to look into it. The general internet insists it’s real, but I wanted some proper peer-reviewed evidence. Because…science. And it turns out, sugar addiction is a thing, with similar patterns of happy reward-y, crave-y brain activation patterns as other known addictive stuff. WTF!

It’s not an excuse. At the end of the day, I created the pattern of eating candy first in the morning. And all day. And at night. But it’s nice to know that I’m not completely psychotic. Or like…no more than usual.


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