If there was a sugar addiction test, would you test positive?
The term sugar addiction is often thrown around quite casually these days. I’ve heard many people state, often with a hint of shame or embarrassment, that they are “chocoholics” or that they have a “serious sweet tooth”. They then make a joke about it and attempt to shrug it off.
I’ve heard others comment, in a somewhat inquiring manner “Well, isn’t everyone a little addicted to sugar?”
Well, simply put, the answer is no.
In fact, there are actually 3 distinct categories that we can fall into in terms ranging from no addiction, to addiction.
They are as follows:
#1. “Normies” – these are people who have no care for sugar. They can take it or leave it. They may have a couple bites of cake, or eat a square of chocolate and push the rest away.
#2. Harmful Users – These are people who, due to their abuse of sugar, experience negative consequences. This may include being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Harmful users may have an eating disorder(s), or eat in response to emotions. They may exhibit many of the same behaviours and patterns that sugar addicts do and can it can often be a little tricky to differentiate the two. However, they don’t experience the loss of control, nor do they have the pathological rewiring of the brain that sugar addicts do. .
#3. Sugar Addicts – These are people who experience a loss of control over eating. This is due to having different brain circuitry than both “normies” and harmful users. In an addict’s brain, the normal reward circuitry has been hijacked.  Addicts want more and more even though they don’t necessarily get a positive feeling returned.
The loss of control that this hijacking of the brain creates can present itself in a variety of ways:
Sweet tasting foods are usually what sugar addicts find the greatest loss of control over, but combinations of sugar, fat and salt (processed foods) are also highly problematic. You’ve likely heard someone explain they don’t have a “sweet-tooth” but instead love potato or corn chips, bread or pasta. These foods may not initially taste sweet, but they quickly break down into sugar in the body.
For others, the addiction extends to all foods, with some people explaining their experience as having no “off switch”. Once they start eating, they have an extremely difficult time stopping. They can eat incredible amounts of food before having a feeling of fullness in their stomach.
Others still, attempt to control their addiction through restricting food. They may skip meals, fast for long periods, or even eat less ‘healthy’ foods so that they can indulge in their ‘drug food’ later on.
In connection to this, sugar addicts may be underweight, normal weight or overweight. They may have fluctuated between all of these. You can’t tell by simply looking at someone if they are a sugar addict.
So how do you determine if someone is a true sugar addict?
Is there a sugar addiction test? If so, how does a sugar addiction test work?
To answer this plainly, the answer is yes. In fact, at the time of writing this, there are a number of screening tools, scales and assessments available to determine if you’re addicted, and how severe it is.
One of the best tools to start with is a screening tool called the S-UNCOPE. This 6-question quiz, developed by BITTEN JONSSON Reg. Nurse, Leg.SSK and David Avram Wolfe MS, RD, CNSC, FAC, helps to rapidly identify if there is a problem with sugar. The tool can also provide some insight into whether the problem is harmful use or addiction to sugars [food].
Keep in mind the S-UNCOPE is not diagnostic, but it is an extremely valuable screening tool.
So, what are the next steps if your results indicate you may have a sugar addiction? The next best action step that you can take is to have a SUGAR® Assessment completed by a professional who is SUGAR® certified and licensed.
The SUGAR® Assessment (created by BITTEN JONSSON Reg. Nurse, Leg.SSK and Börje Dahl BSc Social work, Addiction Specialist) has been proven to be extremely effective in breaking through denial and motivating clients serves as a basis for treatment planning and is based on ICD-10 / ICD-11 and DSM-5 addiction criteria.
This assessment is separated into two 90-minute (approx.) appointments. The first appointment we go through the assessment together, and the second appointment we will discuss the results and what the recommended next steps are.
By helping clients understand and accept the complex nature of sugar addiction, the SUGAR® Assessment is truly eye-opening, and works to decrease shame and loss of control. Simply put, it transforms lives!
If you think you may be a sugar addict, and would like to take a test, I suggest starting with the S-UNCOPE.
If you’ve done this, or would just like to move forward with a SUGAR® Assessment, please book a complimentary Sugar Freedom Strategy session to get started.
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