I was watching a show called Intervention on A&E the other day and witnessed an entire family fully dedicated to helping their daughter recover from a heroine addiction. They showcased the girl’s life; the bad choices that heroine had caused her to make, the way she had changed physically and mentally. And in an effort to help her recognize and recover from her dependency on this drug, her entire family pulled together in such an incredible way and vowed to do anything possible to help her. This got me thinking, where is the support for sugar addiction?
Okay, it’s true you really don’t see too many people losing their jobs because their sugar high left them unable to function in a meeting. And no, you’ve likely never heard of anyone stealing from their parents in an effort to support their Krispy Kreme addiction, but most doctors will agree that sugar addiction is a real thing. Sugar is a feel good drug. It enters our system, gives us a rush of energy and feel good endorphins and then leaves us desiring more. In addition to causing an addictive behavior, sugar is also linked to such diseases as obesity, cancer and diabetes. It changes the way that we look by causing weight gain and skin problems, changes the way that we feel by causing small bouts of depression, sugar highs and lows or the blues and changes the way that we behave, because for many people, living without sugar means that they cannot get through their daily activities without a crash. Still with all of the medical evidence, little support remains for self proclaimed sugar addicts.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Tell your friends and family that you have a drug or alcohol problem and not only will they be willing to help you overcome it, you can bet that they will go out of their way to ensure that drugs and alcohol are not brought into regular social settings in an effort to keep your from temptation. However, tell your friends and family that you are addicted to sugar and are trying to stay away from it and you’ll likely be bombarded with people telling you you’re silly to be dieting, or that one little piece of cake won’t hurt you. Even if you do have some people who support you, you will never be able to avoid the temptations of the office birthday cake or holiday cookies. So why is this? No one would ever knowingly offer an alcoholic a drink or lay a pile of cocaine in front of a drug addict right? Why do we feel it’s okay to tempt sugar addicts?
The most difficult thing about sugar addiction and food addiction in general is that it is a substance you can never completely eliminate from your life. Unlike heroine, cocaine or even alcohol, no one can live without food and let’s face it, sugar is pushed on us everywhere we go. There are no meetings available to assist someone with sugar addiction recovery, and with social celebrations literally revolving around the dessert table most seasons of the year, there is little downtime from temptation. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions in our country, you would think there would be more of an effort to prevent it, but clearly there is not.
So no, you cannot ban sweets from the boardroom or boycott your local restaurant for selling Death by Chocolate cake right out there in the open. However, the next time someone turns their nose at you or tells you you’re silly because you’re choosing sugar free jello over a 4 layer cake, you can explain to them that it’s more than just a diet; it’s an addiction you are trying to overcome and you need all of the support that you can get!