If you've ever cried into a bar of chocolate or sprayed a box of Oreos with Windex to keep from eating them, you might have a sugar problem. Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine, according to one scientific study. Maybe that's why you always hear people say "I can't keep cookies in the house" but rarely "I can't keep cocaine in the house."
Much like other white powders with more street cred, when sugar hits your bloodstream, it stimulates your brain's pleasure center, releasing dopamine, as this article in the The Daily Mail explains. Dopamine is that crazy chemical that makes you feel anywhere between "good" and "a golden god who can feel no sadness or pain."
But just as quickly as these chemicals spike, they fall. So by the time you've scraped the sides clean of your pint of Ben & Jerry's, you're going through a mini sugar withdrawal. This can trigger a craving for more. And so begins a vicious cycle that is not so different from the vicious cycle that drug addicts and alcoholics go through.
Think you might be addicted? The Daily Mail has published a helpful (read: life-ruining) quiz with fifteen yes-or-no questions, including: "Do you ever eat sweets when you are feeling sad or upset?"and "Do you plan to eat a small portion, i.e. 'one serving' of ice cream, but then end up binging on the whole pint?" (If you answered: "duhhh" and "I thought a pint WAS one serving!" you may have a problem. But take the whole quiz to find out.)
If if turns out you're addicted, the good news is you're not alone. Sugar addiction is super common. To break the vicious cycle, experts recommend going cold turkey. And that includes cutting out fake sweeteners and diet drinks, which actually boost sugar cravings.
You may experience withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, tiredness, and foggy vision, but those should pass in a few days. And then? Congratulations. You now have a boring, sugar-free life.