My Definition of Sugar Addiction


Here is my definition of sugar addiction. (I made it up but I think it is quite good.)

"Sugar addiction is a life-endangering obsessive-compulsive disorder triggered by internal and external stimuli and activated by consumption."

In other words, our addiction is not activated, it is not a thing until consumption happens.

Furthermore, consumption happens in the context of triggers. These triggers come from within and from without.

Our internal states trigger thoughts and urges to consume.

And external cues (including social pressure/social conformity) can also trigger thoughts and urges to consume.


If we do not actually consume, the obsessive-compulsive disorder is latent. It is in a triggered state but not manifest. The gun is loaded and cocked but not discharged.

To discharge the gun is to consume a substance that once ingested takes on a life of its own. The bullet is gone and there ain’t no way to stop it. (Once sugar enters our bloodstream the damage is done, the complex cascade of consequences is unavoidable. The addiction has been activated. The trigger has been pulled.)

So, what does this mean for those of us seeking sugar freedom?

It means that in order for us to not consume our substance of choice (refined carbs) we need to keep in mind three things:

  1. Our internal state is the bullet.
  2. Our external cues and conformity pressures cock the gun.
  3. Our conscious choice to consume pulls the trigger 

Working with this analogy, thoughts and urges to consume ultra-processed foods are not the problem. Thoughts, images, and urges are only triggers. They cannot in and of themselves make our body parts move. 

Thus, to successfully unhook from sugar, we need to have effective strategies to stop loading the gun, stop cocking the gun, and stop pulling the trigger.

How do you do this?

We must stay aware of and on top of our triggers. Minimize triggers, while consistently nurturing your desire to not eat sugar, and you have a winning strategy for long-term success. (And a happier life too!)

Understanding these two parts clearly will be a game-changer. It puts the focus on the triggers that lead to unwanted behavior instead of just the behavior itself.

In my next blog post, I will share the 6 F’s (Internal States) that trigger thoughts and urges to consume sugar and/or emotionally eat and how to cut them off at the pass.


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