As a nation, we have a complicated relationship with sugar, with many of us being addicted to the sweet stuff without realising. If you’re worried about your sugar intake, find out how you can cut down.

We know the effects of too much sugar in our diet, but not all of us realise that we’re addicted to it. So, how can you tell if you are addicted to sugar, and what can you do about it? 


The 12 common signs of sugar addiction are: 


  1. You’re craving carbs (your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars, manifesting your craving for sugar into a craving for carbohydrate-rich food)
  2. You regularly reach for sugar to boost your energy
  3. There’s no such thing as “too much sugar” for you
  4. You often reach for fat-free products (these are often full of sugar to maintain their flavour)
  5. Eating sugary foods puts you in a good mood
  6. Your kitchen is full of sweet treats
  7. You experience headaches when trying to cut down on your sugar consumption
  8. You’re tired for no apparent reason by the afternoon
  9. When you’re stressed, you reach for sweet treats
  10. You use sweets as a reward
  11. You find it difficult to cut back on sugar
  12. You crave salty foods (if you’re consuming too much sugar, your body can start to crave foods high in fat and salt to compensate)


If any of these sound familiar to you, then you might have a sugar addiction without even realising it.

Even if you think that you’re avoiding sugar by checking product labels, you could be in for a surprise because manufacturers often list sugar under many different names. Some of the most common alternative labels for sugar are: sucrose, dextrose, caramel, barley malt, ethyl maltol, and sorbitol. But there are dozens of names that sugar can hide behind on labels, so it’s important to know what to look out for.


Cutting Down On Sugar 

If you’re looking to cut down on your sugar intake, be aware that some everyday foods contain hidden sugars, which could be taking your sugar intake over the recommended daily amount. That’s not to say that these foods are bad for you or unhealthy, but they’re worth knowing about if you’re trying to pinpoint the foods that are contributing to your sugar consumption. 

Cutting out sugar is a lifestyle choice that’s becoming increasingly popular, but going cold turkey can be difficult because sugar is in so many of the things we eat. A good way to start cutting back on sugar is by making small lifestyle changes that will be sustainable in the long run. 

Here are a few of our top tips to get you started:

  • If you don’t like the idea of cutting sugar out of your morning tea or coffee altogether, start by switching to a sweetener first and gradually reduce your intake over time.
  • Switch to low-sugar fruit to get all the health benefits without the drawbacks of too much sugar.
  • Reduce your carbohydrate intake and cut down on sugar along the way, because your body breaks carbs down into sugar.
  • Swap beer or sweet wine for a small glass of red or dry white wine.
  • If you drink a lot of juice, switch to fruit-infused water or eating fresh fruit instead.
  • Be mindful of natural alternatives – sugar is sugar whatever form it’s in, and claims of “no added sugar” or “naturally occuring sugars only” can be misleading on food packaging.
  • Switch your sweet snacks to low-sugar alternative


Cutting down on the the sugar in your diet can seem like a challenge, but beating your sugar craving is achievable with the right mindset, and scientifically proven to work!

Posted by Colette Heimowitz
Atkins Nutritionist