What are the Symptoms of Sugar Addiction?

As sweet (pun!) as it may sound, a sugar addiction is a real thing. Addiction to sugar is dangerous to our physical and mental health; Sugar can wreak havoc on people’s’ lives.

Experiencing a harrowing sugar migraine

What are the symptoms of Sugar Addiction?

Do you have any of the following symptoms, and if so, you may indeed have a sugar addiction.

  • You feel like you need sugar in order to function normally every day
  • If you stop eating sugar for a period of time, you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea and mood swings.
  • Regardless of your desire to quit sugar, you continue to eat, and think, about it compulsively.
  • You feel you need to eat more and more sugar each day to feel ‘good’ and ‘normal’
  • Do you turn to sugar to feel good when under pressure or stress
  • You spend some days only thinking about eating sweet foods, and once you have, you keep thinking about more sugary foods.
  • Do you have problems saying no to sweet foods when offered
  • Do you feel angry or moody for no apparent reason

If you fit this profile, it is a good idea to get off the ‘sugar roller coaster’ once and for all.

Knowing you may have a sugar addiction may be a little startling at first. It is generally not something people are concerned about when there is drug and alcohol addiction rife within our society; but the fact of the matter is that sugar addiction can just as easily consume your life and really destroy your body and mind.

No one is perfect and we all understand life is sweeter with delicious food, but we need to be vigilant and keep it under control, so we welcome low sugar eating as a great step forward in kicking the addiction!

Once you have tamed the sugar beast, many of these symptoms will fade away over time and make it easier to remain a low sugar eater or even go completely sugar free!

It is important to remember that the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you will want to eat. So facing your unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and push through the discomfort will make your desire to quit sugar once and for all a reality!



  1. Just came across your site when I googled falling off the sugar-free wagon 🙂 I was feeling guilty about having a piece of ice cream cake after being really good for a couple of weeks. I know the evils of sugar addiction very well and while weight has luckily not been an issue for me I an worried that I have caused a lot of damage to myself because of years of sugar addiction. It was encouraging to read your experiences. Keep up the good work and I will be following your blog. Thanks.

    • Hi,

      It sounds like you have nothing to worry about! Falling off the wagon is okay. Just pick yourself back up and make new choices the following day. Always move forward and accept that things happen! I am still struggling with being on the wagon, Easter has not helped. I just make better decisions the next meal or the next day. I try not to focus too much on how bad I feel but on the delicious choices I have that are good for me!

  2. Oh my god this is so me!!just spent the last hour beating myself up for binging on chocolate after doing so well for the past few weeks.im normally so prepared when I leave the house but got held up today and was starving do ended up buying one bar of chocolate and then another…you know the rest.its both good and bad to see I clearly have a sugar addiction as it explains so much but knowing it’s an actual addiction is scary-is it possible to beat this addiction seeing as sugar is obviously everywhere?would you recommend Sarah wilsons book to detox??

    • Hi Maria,
      I DO think it is possible to break your addiction to sugar or at least dealing with situations with sugary, unhealthy foods. Sarah Wilson’s guide is the “build up to cold turkey” approach. You start cutting out things from week one, then by week three you are at the strictest week. It isn’t easy!!! I FAILED the first time around – maybe I didn’t take it seriously or just didn’t want to do it properly. It took me a few times to get to the point where I made better choices.

      You could start by cutting out more of the sugar in your every day life such as no sugary drinks, not adding sugar to anything and to start doing the easy swaps such as vegetable and hummus snacks and not sweet snacks or fruit. These are the simple steps, then you can begin her guide and really go for it.

      You sound like you just had one bad day – that you can see the problem (you were hungry and there was EASY chocolate bars nearby). Maybe in those instances you can forgive yourself, and make a better choice the next day. It doesn’t sound like you do this every day. With addiction, it is about making better choices every day, recognizing the patterns that you make the unhealthy choices, breaking the cycles. My brain still FEELS SO HAPPY eating chocolate, even past the point of satiating hunger… but I have to keep making better choices as it is obvious these things are bad for me.

      Sarah’s guide is a great detox, but she does have steps that include recognizing the behavior and responses you may be feeling – but your life is longer than a 8 week guide book… you have to keep it up forever. So make sure you start the guide knowing you are building a better life for yourself and it sometimes can take a long time to get there.

      Don’t feel bad over this minor slip up! It happens to us all.

  3. starting my sugar free month tomorrow,so I just had a meal of ice cream,chocolate and lollies.I am serious though

  4. I stumbled across this site, while googling “sugar addictions,” when I realized that I’ve been consistently and compulsively eating sugary foods at every opportunity. I only drink water and my weekly black coffee, but I feel like my life is almost controlled by candy and dessert cravings (sometimes to the point of getting sick), so even though I work out, I feel drained and generally crappy. 🙁 I’ve talked to friends/family about quitting sugar, and the most responses were basically “You need some junk food- you’re too skinny anyway!” Not very encouraging…

    I started a 28-day meal plan to compliment my strength training; it has no sugar besides wheat bread once a week and fruit every few days. Would you recommend going straight into cold-turkey from there?

    • Hi Nicole,

      I would probably complete your meal plan to go with your training and then not even bother with the quit sugar guide! By the sounds of it, your meal plan won’t include desserts and highly processed foods, so you should be fairly okay there. I would only do the guide if you didn’t have this plan already set up and in motion.

      The IQS guide really sets you back to zero sugar and then you can build from there. You can introduce some foods back into your diet but you have more awareness of the over-processed and highly sweetened foods. So most people bring back into their diets fruit and wheat breads/wraps etc so you will be at the same point without doing the guide.

      See how you progress with your new meal plan and if you feel like you are being dominated by your cravings and continually are challenged by sugary foods, then I would do the guide and try cold turkey style to see if that really helps kick the habit.

      I wouldn’t worry about your family saying you are too skinny – everyone is different! Make sure you happy and healthy, and if you are ever concerned ALWAYS see your doctor and ask about your meal plan or the IQS guide to help with the sugar cravings.

      By the sounds of it though, you have the right pieces in place to get to where you want to go. You are doing exercise, you have a balanced meal plan to support this exercise and you are curbing your overall sugar intake. I would say you are on the right track!!!!

    • I understand this – I’m 70, fit, young looking, do metafit, never been overweight in my life, don’t drink or smoke, yet sugary stuff ( and coffee) plays on my mind all the time, almost, for the last 40 odd years! I too feel controlled by it. Trouble is, I know repressing it doesn’t work yet I want to be free of the mental craving and just see it for what it is – ok now and then perhaps, to feel free to take it or leave it.

  5. Like the lady above, I came across your website whilst searching ‘how to quit sugar for good’. For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a ‘sweet tooth’ and up until about 3 years ago never really saw it as an issue, but more recently I can’t go a day without craving sweet things, in particular sweets and chocolate. It’s got so bad that I wake up in the morning craving sugar and only subdue my craving by drinking coffee. I can’t just have a small amount either, it’s as though the more I have the more I want and the more I will eat and the worst I feel. It’s like a big vicious circle. I would to banish sugar from my life and take back control. Any help and advice would be gratefully received. Caroline

    • Hi Caroline,

      It sounds like you are on a big bad merry-go-round!

      Some people can draw a line in the sand and just stop. They can do the cold turkey quit sugar but other’s can’t. You have to work out are you a cold turkey person or a slow change person?

      If you are cold turkey, then you should just stop all the extra sugar and eat as clean as possible. Loads of protein, healthy fats and vegetables for every meal. Don’t load up on carbs to fill the void. Don’t drink sweetened drinks and stick to black coffee, green teas or herbal teas and water. Give yourself a couple of weeks on this diet (make sure you monitor yourself or see your doctor before you start if you have health concerns) and then you can bring back in fruit and begin to consider the alternate sweeteners (such as Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook using rice malt syrups and the like).

      Or if you are a slow change person, then start by changing all your drinks today and one meal. You can make sure you have a protein, healthy fats and vegetable breakfast (such as a spinach, mushrooms and egg omelet) and try to only drink black coffee, black teas and drink a lot of water. Then keep that up for a few days and then try and change another meal such as lunch or dinner. Keep some nuts on hand for snacks or vegetables with some hummus dip around if you have to snack.

      Focus on the times you get bored and eat – they can be the worst times. Go for a walk, talk to a colleague or just do something different for 5 minutes to get your mind off food and boredom.

      There are a lot of quitting sugar guides online you can buy, and I advocate for Sarah Wilson’s 8 week guide. It is just simple and straight forward. There are so many recipes online as well so if you just don’t know where to start for sugar free breakfast ideas, just google that term and you will come up with something! Don’t focus on the complicated new kinds of desserts of sweets you can make, you want to focus on breaking bad habits and eating more wholefoods. You want to wake and not crave sugar.

      Good luck Caroline and let us know how you get on with it! These are life long changes, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen overnight. We are all on the same journey!

  6. I’ve just stumbled across this after googling sugar addiction after another sugar binge. A whole family size bar of dairy milk. I was doing well after deciding to try & cut back a lot with sugar but then I actually stole some of my 9 year old daughters chocolates(that were a birthday present) I then wanted more so drove to the shop specifically to.buy chocolate. It’s getting out of control.now. I am so down I don’t know what to do. I have no energy, I have put on such a huge amount of weight. & my stomach is getting out of control. I want to stop, I need to stop. I just can’t. I’m sat here crying because I know it’s that bad.. I need help & I need it quick. I am ruining my life with this addiction.

    • JC, you are not alone. We are all going through the ups and downs of sugar! If you think about how good you have been in the past, you know you can do it. You know that it is in you to set up some new habits.
      You need to not beat yourself up about this. This is the beginning and you can do it. Today is a new day and you will make better choices today, you haven’t lost anything!

      You need to make sure you have food in your house that you can have that won’t make you feel like you are spiraling out of control. Have some nice fruit, buy the sugar free chocolate options and only buy a small bar, have some delicious cheese and some crackers to munch on to get your mind off of sugar. You need to break your habit.

      This is NOT the end of the world. You are going to get your eating habits back to a better place and you can do it. Each meal, each day you make a plan and you stick to it. You vocalize your intentions and you do it. If you make a mistake, then you just admit it and you move on. Make a better choice the next meal.

      If I could give you a hug, I would! We all go up and down, you are down but you are not beaten!!!

  7. I feel so unwell from my lolly/sugar addiction. My body evry other place is not too bad I guess but my stomach is bloated and extended and I get pain a lot. Im always tired. I do have other health issues and Im on prednisone for life, but Im going to try to kick the sugar habit, I know I will feel much better. I also work at a place that sells lollies and I buy them every shift. Do you reccommend chromium to help with cravings? People just laugh when I say Im addicted to sugar, but I am.

    • Hi Lisa,

      That doesn’t sound very good at all. I would say taking control of your diet and intake of sugar will give your body some relief, but it will be hard.
      I wouldn’t recommend any supplements such as chromium as yet. I don’t know much about it, but would recommend speaking to your doctor before adding it in and making sure it is suitable for your current prescription medication.

      One way to help with sugar addiction and cravings is to crowd out the sugar. Consider all the meals you are having – are they fulfiling enough? Do they offer a balance of proteins and vegetables? If you add in more vegies, especially as snacks to replace the lollies that you are eating then you may find it easier to break the habits.

      You may be addicted to sugar but you have also set yourself up with habits of buying lollies every day. You can break these habits and get control of the sugar at the same time.

      I would highly recommend following the IQS guide to the letter if you can… you have a lot of pressure to buy food at your work place so using the guide to help you identify your weak spots and to stay focused on your diet changes. The IQS is an 8 week guide so this will not happen overnight. It will take time and effort so you will need to ignore people who don’t believe you. Every here knows how hard it can be and how real it is. It is a challenge for people on different levels but know that we support you and your decision to actively change and life a healthy lifestyle! Don’t let people discourage you.