Did you find your sweet tooth going crazy during the holidays? If so, you're not alone. Americans crave and consume huge amounts of sugar. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control show adults consume 13% of total daily calories from added sugars.
But there may be a reason. Dr.Tanya Edwards, a wellness expert at Cleveland Clinic, says research shows sugar is addictive.
"More and more studies these days have shown that sugar affects our brain centers much the same way that heroin and cocaine and alcohol and other addicting drugs do," said Edwards.
A good diet history taken by your doctor can usually uncover a sugar addiction. Warning signs of sugar addiction include a need for sugar when you wake up, irritibility if you don't have it, going out of your way to get it, or hiding and secretly eating sugary snacks.
Edwards advises her patients who eat large amounts of sugar and have related health problems to completely cut sugar from their diets.
"If I've got patients who are really struggling with end stages and end stage sugar addiction - someone who has problems with significant overweight or obesity issues, someone who has diabetes or heart disease where you know, if they're really eating a significant amount of sugar, I have them abstain from sugar. Just as I would have an alcoholic abstain from alcohol," explained Edwards.
Sugars are added to many processed and prepared foods so Edwards says a good place to start cutting sugar is from foods like ice cream, candy and baked goods.