Women, Sugar and Addiction

I have noticed that more and more businesses keep a small bowl of candy in reception areas and on countertops. They are practically becoming part of the décor. The other day, while waiting for my hairstylist, a woman marched over to the obligatory bowl of candy, snatched up a fistful of candy and announced, “I need some sugar!” She was not a diabetic in distress; she was not faint from not eating. She had an emotional need for not just one piece of candy – but a fistful.

I know there have been times when I felt the same way. But observing this woman’s self righteousness over her need for sugar really made me take a step back and think about her “need” for sugar. As women we have practically become a sisterhood of sugar devotees. We use ice cream to mend a broken heart, chocolate to get through hormonal flux, sweet treats to reward ourselves, cakes and pastries for celebrations and special occasions, and delightful tidbits of this or that, just to get us through the day.

We are hearing more about sugar addiction from a number of health authorities, including Dr. Oz and the Kristin Kirkpatrick from the Cleveland Clinic. We have heard stories for years about the addictive nature of junk food, and most recently the big news comparing the addictive nature of Oreos to cocaine. We have learned that sugar truly affects our brain by altering neurotransmitters which actually does make us need, crave or require sugar literally to calm our nerves.

Aside from the fact that sugar causes inflammation in the body; aggravating joint pain, wreaking havoc with skin issues, and weakening the immune system, it is also obviously a source of useless calories that cause a blood sugar roller coaster. We get the lift from the sugar, which is rapidly absorbed, causing a blood sugar drop that forces us to eat more to raise the blood sugar back up. These sugar highs and lows can lead to insulin resistance, which can then put us at a higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

Woman to woman, what troubles me the most is that women seem to be specifically targeted by the food industry for sugary indulgences. This has been the case for quite some time; Valentine’s Day chocolates and boxes of candies for Mother’s Day as an example. Somehow the food industry has convinced us that we need sugar; that mocha frappuccino, cookie dough ice cream and foil wrapped kisses are our divine right. We have come to believe we deserve this decadence after all that nature has doled out to us: monthly hormone flux, periods, then no hormones and no periods. Whatever we are going through, we have been given the message that certainly sugar will fix everything. I say its time to stop the madness! We need to take our health back. Our brains, emotions and bodies are ours to control.  We must be our own advocates.  The next time you see an ad that specifically targets you for more sugar and more calories, remind yourself that the sugar doesn’t love you. You can love yourself. Pamper every bit of your being. Just say no – thank you.

Here's a List of Healthy Sweet Treats with No Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners:

1. Stuffed Dates: Try fillings such as goat cheese, almonds or walnuts

2. Fresh Berries

3. Fresh Figs: Try broiling them adding a drizzle of honey or stuffing with blue cheese

4. Pureed Fruit Popsicles

5. Freeze fresh fruits for delicious granita, sorbet or smoothies

8/24/2021 8:00:00 AM
Dr. Mary Jayne Rogers
Dr. Mary Jayne Rogers is an Exercise Physiologist specializing in whole-person wellness and fitness education and instruction. As an educator, Mary Jayne brings multi-dimensional wellness and fitness experiences along with a welcoming and genuine teaching style to inspire students and wellness enthusiasts of all ages. D...
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Posted by Ben Adams
I'm seeing more and more companies creating much more richer products with sweet candy products. Creamers with flavors, ice cream with tons of added candy products, yogurt with candy toppings. Coffee drinks with tons of flavors. Small portions of ice cream bars with added toppings.This brings up the sugar content. These products that use to be healthy are not longer healthy.
The food industry wants us to be attracted to buying their products. They want more and more money, and they will try anything to make their product more and more eye appealing, so that we will snatch it up on an impulse buy.
We as consumers we need to combat it by not purchasing it. When food shopping we could just close our eyes as we walk by that display and choose healthier products. Only this way will the industry will stop this down scale of products and start creating healthier options.
Offices that offer candy dishes are just playing into the same notion. Something sweet to get our minds off our emotions. How can we make our office more appealing and comfortable to attract more clients.
Posted by Bonnie
YES!! As a crohns disease patient, in the past, I know SUGAR addiction!! SO thankful that today we have Plexus supplements like SLIM & Probio 5 that have totally rid me of this sugar addiction.. between that and reading labels.. easy peasy to now say heck no!!
Posted by Shaye
I have been addicted to sugar for years, most of my life in fact. I'm glad people are seeing this addiction as real, and not a joke. I eat healthy home made meals with little fat, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, seldom eat junk food. Except sugar. I don't care for chocolate very often, nor pastries. But my current love is chewy spree candy. Before then it was soft peppermint puffs. It goes on and on. I try to drink water thinking maybe I'm just thirsty. Or I eat a real meal before starting in with the candy, again thinking maybe I'm just hungry. But after everything -healthy meals, fruit, cheese (sometimes cheese helps), weight watchers meals and a yogurt for lunch- I want candy! I hate this!
Posted by Kelly
Sugar is a very real addiction, and it is so insidious. The gov't does nothing to stop food companies from promoting their 'foods' as healthy, when these products are nothing but packed with high-glycemic ingredients, and have a high carb-to-sugar ratio. Also, I see my friends believe that they are eating 'healthy,' when they are eating high-sugar fruit, but those fruits are just as poor for your health if eaten consistently as junk food...
Posted by E. Smythe
stop looking for substitutes for sugar, implying some psychological need for sugar, or whatever it represents. that is the problem. the failure to confront the reality that we must choose foods that nurture our health, not our addictions OR our desire for some other objective from food. the problem with the way we eat, ALWAYS, ultimately derives from the adulteration of our diets due to ulterior objectives. eat for health and be grateful for health. find entertainment from other sources. or you can be an idiot if you prefer.
Posted by craig
Dr Rogers,

I liked this article except for the other options you gave at the end. Dates and Figs? No thanks! And the other 3 were all fruit so besides fruit do you have any other suggestions? Yogurt, nuts, etc?
Posted by Rachel
Our family took interest in getting off sugar, so I went off as of 3 months ago. Feeling much better--especially mental clarity and memory is coming back. 2 of the 3 females I live with are so hooked, their addiction seems more important to them than anything else in this world. I get an evil eye when I bring up the subject when it was them in the first place that wanted to lose weight and feel better. They've even gained weight, probably turning to even more sugar and wine since we all said we'd cut out sugar! Feeling at a loss and the "just say no" isn't cutting it. Any ideas?
Posted by JP
I went off sugar several months ago and feel wonderful. I suggest it to everyone that is medially able to. Gluten is the other huge culprite but when you have nothing "white' you really feel so much better.I am 55 yrs old, down 2 sizes and looking much better.
Thank you for your words of wisdom.
Posted by Louise
Dr Mary . How about nuts or avocado or desert made of cream or cheese and black cocoa and stevia with coconut chips . Is fruit and honey and dates not sugar? I did not lose weight or cravings for 75 years till I considered the ketogneic diet. I think you might want to mention that to addicts. daliya
Posted by daliya Robson
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