Monday, March 8, 2010

Everything in moderation? Does it really work?

I have long been a believer of moderation and balance. When it comes to diet, I've always believed that making any food "forbidden" is a sure formula to make you want it more. Now, I'm beginning to question that belief.

The more I read about sugar addiction and sensitivity, the more I am recognizing what a problem it is for me. No matter how well I am doing; no matter how on track I am, all it takes is one little sweet treat to send me into a spiral of craving and wanting more.

I am like an addict. I literally get shaky and plan out my next fix. I often eat in secret. It truly feels like a need for me. It's not normal.

Or is it normal?

The thing is, the human body is not made to process sugar effectively. I'm not saying everyone has the same problem as I do, but it is pretty common. In the reading I am doing, the comparison of sugar to heroine and alcohol continues to come up. Sugar has addictive qualities and it acts like a drug when consumed. It gives a temporary high followed by a crash, leading to the need to consume more.

So why does it effect some people more then others?

I think that answer is simple. Some people are more sensitive to it and have more addictive personalities. I have previously identified myself as ultra-sensitive to caffeine. I am also a cheap drunk. For years, I have made the choice to seriously limit my consumption of both these substances. Never before was I viewing sugar as a substance. Now, I'm starting to question that belief.

As a general rule, I don't believe in self-diagnosing conditions. No matter how much googling I do, I am not a doctor. In this case, I think it's perfectly appropriate. The worst that will happen is that I've wrongly self-diagnosed myself and made the choice to limit or eliminate sugar from my diet. So, worst case scenario, I'm eating healthier and consuming less processed and refined foods. Doesn't sound so bad.

Moderation in everything? Can a recovering alcoholic have just one drink? Is it okay for a heroine addict that has gotten clean to shoot up just once?


  1. Good question. From what you described, the eating in secret and the overwhelming desire for more, sugar has a really strong affect on you. If it helps, once I stopped eating sugar cold turkey, the cravings got less and less within about 3 weeks. For me, most sweets taste too sweet now. You may not have the same reaction, but there are so many healthy benefits from giving up sugar even if it is a struggle.

    Good luck, this sounds like something that might be a challenge for you, but in the long run you are doing something so good for yourself.

  2. I would have to agree - I felt that I needed to cut ALL sugar out of my diet, because just like you - one bite would lead to many, many more bites.
    I do believe that some of us are sensitive to sugar (just as some people are more prone to become alcoholics)...
    I found after doing the South Beach diet for a couple of weeks that I was able to break sugar's hold - until I had too much of it again - then it was right back to where I started. So yes, for me - there is no moderation with sugar - it is an "all or nothing" deal.

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