Sugar Addiction Escape Plan

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10 steps to control sugar cravings

Are you someone who can’t stop eating sugar, once you start? Are you plagued with constant food cravings, especially for sweets or refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread or potato chips?

Oh, how I understand! I was a compulsive sugar addict for over 20 years (including bulimia, body hatred, and binge eating disorder), and have found healing and freedom. I wrote Overcoming Sugar Addiction: the 30 Day Lift so that you can also have that freedom – so that you can have the help and support you need to break free from the suffering of sugar bingeing.

For more help, please read on for a beginner’s ten steps:

Here are ten steps to break your sugar addiction:

1. Add self care

Before you attempt to eliminate anything from your life – even something negative, such as sugar bingeing – it’s important to add to your life, so that you are operating from an overflow, not a deficit. Eliminating sugar will create a vacuum; better to fill it with something positive – self love and self care – than something that is hurtful, like self sabotage. Care for your tender self so that you feel nourished, capable, rested and strong.

Try this simple shift:  instead of eliminating your sugar habit, try shifting it to something that isn’t related to sugar – read a novel instead of eating ice cream in front of the TV; indulge in a hobby instead of baking; go for a walk when you would normally grab a treat.

2. Keep your blood sugar stable

Eat breakfast, eat protein with every meal or snack, eat low GI foods, and eat at regular intervals. Why? All of these things will stabilize your blood sugar, so that your moods and energy are at an even keel. Much of the time, I craved sugar because I was hungry (I was always dieting because I was chronically unhappy with my weight). Eat enough so that you feel satisfied, and regularly enough so that you feel stable, and you won’t crave as much junk. Learn more about what and how to eat from the sugar addiction reading list.

3. Treat yourself like you’re in detox

The first week of sugar abstinence can be uncomfortable, when the cravings are at their most powerful. Be kind to yourself:  this is not the time to tackle a large project, to implement lots of changes, or to work overtime. Why do people go to a spa when they’re detoxing? Because they need extra support. Likewise, give yourself extra support.

Go to bed earlier. Take naps. Cook simple meals (and don’t make the same mistake I did:  don’t cook meals for your family that have ingredients in them that you are trying not to eat. Don’t make sugar abstinence any harder than it needs to be.) Spend time in prayer or meditation. Call on others for support and encouragement.

4. Don’t focus on weight loss

While weight loss is usually a natural consequence of giving up sugar, please don’t make it your focus. It’s better to channel your energy towards one goal at a time. So put aside your weight loss goals for now and focus your energy on healing your sugar addiction. Then, after you’ve found healing with sugar, you can decide how you want to approach any extra weight you’d like to lose.

Weight loss is often a pleasant, natural side effect of taking loving care of your body and freeing yourself from food addiction. In my experience, making it the focus puts too much pressure on your tender heart to lose weight quickly and easily – which can lead to a binge/restrict/binge/restrict cycle with sugar.

Furthermore, you might be delightfully surprised to see how much easier it is to lose weight when you’re not eating so much sugar.

Karly Randolph Pitman

Karly Randolph Pitman, author Overcoming Sugar Addiction

(If you’re wondering what I eat when I’m not eating sugar, you may enjoy this list of sugar free snack ideas.)

5. Know your true value

While yes, your body may be sugar sensitive, and while, yes, you may gorge on sugar, it’s not “you.” It’s just a coping mechanism:  how you learned to care for yourself when life felt painful, overwhelming or scary. This is probably something you learned when you were very small. It’s not your fault. Being addicted to sugar or bingeing on sugar is not a character flaw – proof that you’re a terrible person. It’s simply a form of self protection, how you’ve cared for your tender heart.

And if you use sugar to care for your hurts, there’s hope – the story doesn’t end there. Your brain is remarkably malleable – you can retrain your brain and learn new ways of caring for your needs, feelings, emotions, and hurts without sugar. (I explain how to do this in Overcoming Sugar Addiction for Life.)

6. Create a supportive environment

For the first month after I gave up sugar, I asked my family to hide the few sweet foods we had in the house so that I wouldn’t seek them out and eat them. (They hid them well because I went looking a few times!) I avoided certain aisles in the grocery store, movie theaters, and abstained from any baking. Later on, when I was in the habit of not eating sugar, and no longer physically craving it, I felt stronger – I was able to be around sugar without dying for it.

Think of your supportive environment as training wheels. In the beginning, your training wheels give you the safety to try something that feels new and scary. This structure is supportive and helpful. As you get stronger, you take the training wheels off. The same structure may not be necessary anymore.

7. Be a detective

Give yourself time to experiment and learn about your unique, precious body. Only you will know what foods make you feel your best.

Use your body as a guinea pig: what foods make you feel good? What foods make you feel badly? How did I learn that dried fruit affects me in the same way that refined sugar does? By observing my body after I ate it. How did I learn that foods like kale, kefir, pinto beans, and almonds satisfy my hunger and give me stable moods? By observing my body.

8. Reconsider fake sugars

I know this is a tough one to follow:  many people rely on Diet sodas as a “free” sugar substitute, especially when they’re craving something sweet. But in my experience, aspartame, Nutrasweet, Splenda, and even low carb sugar products (protein bars that are “low sugar”) don’t quell sugar cravings, but increase them. For many people, they also bring unpleasant side effects. (For me, that’s headaches and stomach aches.)

A study at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio found that a person’s risk for obesity went up a whopping 41% for each daily can of Diet soda. If you’re sugar sensitive, I’d include “fake sugars” in the sugar category, as a food to limit. You can see this list of hidden sources of sugar for more information.

9. Start over whenever you slip and fall

You don’t have to wait until the next morning, or succumb to the thinking that says, “I’ve blown it; I might as well have some brownies to go with it,” when you slip up and eat sugar. Giving up sugar is hard. It’s ingrained in our holidays, in our meals, in our society.

Be kind to yourself when you mess up, and get right back on track. Use loving self talk to care for yourself when you make a mistake – you can tell yourself, “I can handle this.” Or, “Mistakes are how I learn. It’s okay, dear one.” Talk to yourself as the most loving friend would talk to you.

If you’re feeling shaky from too much sugar, you might want to eat a bit of protein. If your stomach is bloated and upset, try drinking a cup of mint tea. On an emotional level, it may help to give yourself space – take a walk, call a friend, go outside, go to the library. Do something to change your environment so you can switch gears.

Be mindful that there are 3 stages to healing a sugar addiction. What stage are you in?

10. Forgive yourself

I felt very ashamed about my sugar addiction. Releasing that shame was like lifting an enormous weight off my psyche. We’re all imperfect. We all cope with life in messy ways. If you have food issues, offer yourself compassion. Find self-acceptance. All those times you gorged on sugar? Recognize that you were doing the best you could.

Sugar addiction is not a character defect. It’s often due to biology, imprinting, long ingrained habits, our environment and a whole host of other factors – many of which are not in our control. Can you find forgiveness for yourself? Can you see that it’s not your fault? That it may not be something you could’ve prevented?

When we release the blame – and most of us blame ourselves, and terribly so – we find we can also release the sugar. It creates a spaciousness where we can act differently, where we can respond to sugar in a different way and let go of its hold on us. Forgiveness and compassion are the only way I found peace with sugar. It’s the only way I found that I could stay sugar free long term.

Wanting more hands on help?

How to Say 'No' to Sugar

30 days of help to heal the roots of cravings, inside & out

If you compulsively crave or eat sugar for emotional support, to self soothe, or to manage stress, you may feel frustrated by a habit that feels out of your control. You don't have to feel enslaved by sugar or sugar cravings.

30 Day Lift

There's a way to heal your sugar obsession so you're no longer compulsively eating sugar, craving it, or bingeing on it – but the answer isn't what you think. It's not found in a perfect diet, will power, self control, behavior modification or even a sugar abstinence...

In a gentle transition over 30 days, learn:

  • how to say no to the impulse to binge or compulsively eat sugar
  • how to soften your fear of sugar cravings
  • how to care for your emotions rather than using sugar to numb, self soothe, or soften stress
  • and how to eat sugar with joy and delight when you consciously choose to do so
As seen on: As seen in Woman's World, MSN, ABC, Yahoo!, Huffington Post, and more!

Shift to a no sugar or less sugar diet

You can eat without feeling like you need to eat a perfect sugar free diet. You can relax and live without controlling every craving or white knuckling it. There is a path away from the binge / abstain sugar see saw. No risk, satisfaction guaranteed. Sign-up for this class

Get free tools to stop a binge, soften sugar cravings, stop emotional eating and more

About the Author:

Karly Randolph Pitman
Karly Randolph Pitman helps men & women transform food compulsions like binge eating, sugar addiction, and body obsession through compassion and connection, from the inside out. In her classes and courses, she teaches people how to say no to sugar, binge eating, and body obsession - but the answer isn't what they think. Rather than learning strategies to control or manage the compulsion itself, Karly's “heart over binge” approach heals the inner dynamics that drive it, leading to freedom, relief and hope.


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  10. John Fenner April 28, 2013 at 5:00 am - Reply

    Your suggest these tactics.

    "Try shifting it to something that isn’t related to sugar – read a novel instead of eating ice cream in front of the TV; indulge in a hobby instead of baking; go for a walk when you would normally grab a treat."


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  14. Viktorija October 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Dear Karly,
    I am very lucky I found your blog. I think I really need someone to share my situation with because once I tried to talk about it with my family, I was told to be crazy about the problem that does not really exists. Unfortunately, it does. The point is that I had not realised it until I left my home country (I am originally from Lithuania but I am now studying in Scotland). Since I came here, I entered completely different living environment where food and eating is a part of the culture. I am surrounded by food all the time: fast food restaurants, prepared meals in supermarket’s freezers, people eating and drinking and having snacks, which are filled with artificial sugar and fats, all the time. I thought these kind of things will never influence me. Partly, they haven’t (I am a vegetarian). But on the other hand, I realized that some sort of food products, like chocolate, sweets, ketchup, mustards and similar ones, started appearing in my shopping basket and daily nutrition. I am very dissapointed in myself because I did not used to eat them when I was in my home country. Because of this, I realized that there is definitely something wrong talking about ‘relationship’ between my organism and sugar. I dared to admit myself that I was trying to cope with my minds about ‘not eating this or that’ all the time, and such a thing required a lot of my time and energy which could have been used for more relevant things. I now understand that it would be much easier for me in the future if I dropped the sugar addiction now instead of thinking about ‘what not to eat’ all the time and stop waisting my personal resources on such a rubbish thoughts. I hope to get some general advice from you as I am lost and confused right now. :/ Thank you in advance and best wishes!

  15. Bibi September 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Karly, i have a huge problem with sugar and i dont knw how to overcome it, it has taken over my life, its controlling me, i think am the only one here who actually eats sugar, i mean not only on processed food but licking/eating sugar raw if u get what i mean, its really tearing me apart, i've tried so many times to stop but i get the urge and go crazy with lickin/eating raw sugar and its killing me, please i need help!!

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  17. Phil July 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Karly, on the fake sugars thing. What do you think of Stevia? It doesn't seem to have the same effect on me as other fake sugars do. I am still avoiding it right now, but would be interested in your opinion.

  18. Phil July 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Sugar addiction is not specific to women. Male solutions to weight loss are however usually different to women, more workout focused and less diet focused.

    I have recently, independently, figured out that I agree with the theory that abstinence is best. I would rather have no cookies than one cookie, because after one cookie I need to eat the whole box.

    Good luck to everyone

  19. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly July 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Beatrice,

    I apologize for the confusion – when I say reconsider fake sugars I mean to reconsider using them – as in, don't use them.

    In my experience, I found that fake sugars increased my sugar cravings and had a host of other side effects like headaches.

    Warmly, Karly

  20. Beatrice July 21, 2012 at 3:18 am - Reply

    Hi there, in number 8. Reconsider fake sugars. I believe that is a worse idea. Splenda and other fake sugars cause short-term memory and other side effects. Including diabetes. Just drink water.

  21. Dan DeFigio July 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Hey, there is too a man on this discussion board!

    I am a big proponent of low-sugar eating, and I am here to give my support to every one of you.


  22. Sue June 29, 2012 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Hi Karly,

    This is the first time I've looked up sugar addiction and I have to say that the most exciting thing to see is that there are many others who are struggling. I finally think I may learn something. Thank you all for your ongoing observations and self examination. Brave and helpful!

  23. Generalkail June 20, 2012 at 4:56 am - Reply

    This one is for dee, who posted back in April. Yes dee, men do struggle with sugar addiction, we are just too stubborn to admit we are weak. ESPECIALLY to say we are addicted to something so "silly" as sugar! Why? Because 1) we can't fathom a world without eating sweets and 2) sugar is not a drug so it can't possibly be addicting! Over the last 10 years I have gone from being an extremely fit and healthy 180 pounds, exercising regularly, to weighing 325 pounds and finding it difficult to even walk up a flight of stairs. I need help, just as desperately as any of you ladies. I just ate a pastry from 7-11 then went immediately to CVS and bought a 1 liter mountain few and two honey buns because I was so embarrassed to buy it in one place but still I couldn't stop myself. It's so depressing.


  24. Cinderella Bee June 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Hi there, I read your comments and I agree and agree. It's one of the toughest things that still is plaguing me and I am sick of it. I have a higher power and therefore, everyday, I do it. SUGAR is far more addicting and/or just as addicting as any addiction. I am thankful that I am aware and SUGAR is everywhere. I am overweight and down about this. I want to send GOOD THOUGHTS about SUGAR and collectively; we Sugar Lovers will prevail against something that is so addicting. Sending you peace….Cinderella Bee

  25. Cheryl Ann April 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I have a terrible sugar addiction. There are days I only eat food with sugar in it. I come home from work exhausted and all I want to do is take a nap rather than do things I need to do i.e., laundry, clean house, or exercise. Today I came home from work and ate 1/2 bag of baked chips then I needed a sugar fix. I went to the store and bough ice cookies and ate 4 of them (they were hefty size) with a glass of milk. I ate no dinner.

    I feel depressed because I can’t seem to beat this addiction. I mostly want to stop eating sugar and part of me says I will never be able to eat sugary sweets again. All 10 tips make sense to me but it is just being able to start. I drink diet Coke all day long with very little water. I get headaches when I don’t eat right. I love healthy food and even joined Weight Watchers. I found their plan to be very forgiving. “It is okay to eat that cookie as long as you count it.”

    I am also a Starbucks freak and enjoy drinking mocha’s on my way to work on a daily basis. I have tried to lose weight but I know my addiction is keeping me from losing any weight. If anyone has any suggestions I am willing to listen. Thank you.

  26. Tee April 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Vee. Giving up sugar definitly helps the apprerance of skin. I have had acne problems since I was 12. Im now 34 and still have severe acne breakouts. I gave up sugar for about 8 months and it definitly made my skin brighter and healthier and my break outs were less. I must say that progesterone cream daily also helps, but its always best to fix your skin problem from the inside. To avoid weighloss when cutting out sugar, its a good idea to drink protein shakes. They keep your blood sugar stable if eaten with a carb and are high in calories. Perhaps eating avocados might also be a good idea. Good luck and remember your skin is never as bad as you see it.

  27. Tee April 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Cara, Your comment moved me and it felt like I was hearing my own life story. I would love to hear how your sugar-free journey continues as I need some inspiration, as i too find myself on the same journey….again! I gave up sugar a year ago. It lasted for 8 months and unfortunatly I fell back into the sugar-trap thinking that I was "cured" and could have the occasional sweet here and there. I am back to my old habits eating sugar daily and having all the side effects that sugar creates. I look forward to following your journey, so please keep posting.

  28. Joe April 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    I have been trying to kick the sugar habit for so long, as everyone else here knows, it isn't easy. i don't need to lose weight, but I want to feel better. I am tired of having headaches and feeling sluggish. This site is a Godsend. i wish I had a support group in my area for sugar eaters.

  29. Cheryl April 18, 2012 at 1:37 am - Reply

    Hi Celeste,

    You tell my story and describe my feelings. Thank you. When I read your post a metaphorical rock hit my head full on and I finally understood that I was injuring myself deliberately with sugar. I'd suspected for a long time, but of course, admitting it leads to the horrible need to do something about it –something so terrifying, I'm still wrapping my head around it — giving up sugar!!

    You sound like a wonderful caring woman with a zest for life that will allow you to succeed in healing yourself. I wish us both the very best of travels!

  30. Jennifer April 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    I am about to start a sugar free diet for my family, my husband is not really on board so hopefully I can keep it up.

    My main problem though is money. I recently went on an elemination diet when I was trying to nurse my second child. I had no problems with the first but during my second pregnancy I had gestational diabetes and then my daughter was having blood in her stool. For four weeks I was on an elimiation diet to try and figure out what was causing her problems. I lost 20 pounds, but I felt like I was starving. I eventually had to put her on formula.

    The main point is that while on this elimination diet where I eliminated all persevatives, wheat, soy, dairy and went organic on everything else I spent my entire families two week grocery budget on one week of food for JUST me!

    I don't know how to overcome this.

  31. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman March 30, 2012 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Hi Dee,

    Thank you for writing and for sharing your feelings.

    Most of the responses to the comments are from me, so perhaps you find me syrupy. That's okay – I know I'm not for everyone! If you're looking for alternative sugar addiction resources, you may enjoy Beat Sugar Addiction Now by Jacob Teitelbaum, Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen des Maisons, or Sugar Shock by Connie Bennett.

    I wish you many blessings on your journey.

    Warmly, Karly

  32. dee March 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    Why is sugar addiction exclusive to women? No men at all on this site. Talking of sugar – I find many replies on the site so syrupy – are these smug amateur advisers for real?

  33. workplace wellbeing March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger. Instead, eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you avoid irrational eating behavior.

  34. Deborah Edwards March 12, 2012 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Hi Lori,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, I cannot imagine the pain of loosing your 16 year old son. As you are aware emotional eating is something which people do as a way of dealing with difficult and painful emotions. It's good to see that you are well aware of your own reasons behind your eating habits and you have the insight to know that those sweet food don't really soothe nor comforts the emotional pain. I'm really pleased that you have seen a counselor and done group therapy. If you have not made any progress, I would encourage you to continue looking for ways in which you can heal. No cookie, chocolate or candy will ever be able heal your spirit. I encourage you to continue supporting yourself and exploring what you need for you, be kind to yourself and consider – what is it that you really hunger for?

  35. Lori K March 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Oh help. Our 16 yr old son died two years ago of brain cancer after we fought it for 3.5 years. In the immediate aftermath, I ate bags of Milky Way bars. Somehow those stopped, and then I got on to Kraft Caramels. Thinking about giving these up feels like a death all over again, though I stopped sugar completely at the end of last year for about two months, and I haven’t binged for a few days now. I’ve had a cookie or a piece of candy. But I know my stash is there if the pain gets to be too much. I just have not found anything that soothes and comforts physically like chocolate and caramels. I have done therapy and still have a counselor and a group, but dealing with the death of my child is not even something I can find words for. I don’t have enough desire right now to totally give up sugar. I’m hoping I can learn to enjoy just one cookie at a time, but I think I’m one of the sugar sensitive people and it’s just not possible for me. Trapped! With a broken heart.

  36. vilas March 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    i don;t know if i am addicted. its seems that when i get sugar, like if i have a piece of candy, having more sugar, like more candy of a cookie is all that i can think about, i cant focus on anything else, am i addicted? and then there is the fact that i dont want to give up sugar, i love it, and thats the problem. if i am addicted, will i ever be able to have just one piece of candy? i dont want to give up sugar, but i dont want to get diabetes, etc. i hope that you can answer my questions…

  37. celeste March 2, 2012 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    I ate a box of girl scout tagalongs as I read through your website. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I feel finally ready to look this demon in the eyes and take care of myself. I sometimes remind myself that "food is nourishment" (for the body and the soul) when I feel like I want to injure myself with food but then I think that somehow I am not worth nourishing. I take care of other people in many aspects of my life and then seem to genuinely want to hurt myself. I am a survivor of physical and sexual violence and see my body as an enemy on some level. I live to run and dance and I want to be healthy and strong. Somehow that is overridden by self-loathing. I think I'm there – I think I'm ready to make a genuine change. Thank you for your kind words on your site and for being gentle. We are all wounded and need to be handled tenderly. I wonder if I can truly love myself, and I hope that I can.

  38. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Hi Cara,

    I am so sorry for your suffering – I can only imagine how much pain you suffered as a child, and I'm so sorry.

    I have to say – considering what you went through, I think you're coping incredibly well. I think you are so very strong and brave. It makes perfect sense to me that you would turn to sugar to soothe the pain and trauma. That you are even willing to embrace this healing journey speaks to your courageous heart! You inspire me.

    Please keep us posted on your journey – I am cheering you on every step of the way.

    Bowing to you,

    In love and care, Karly

  39. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Dear Claude,

    I love the airplane metaphor – that's so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    Finding balance is such a process, isn't it?

    Warmly, Karly

  40. ClaudeA February 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Karly! Great to see how you find correction to the imbalance of craving for sweets. Just be sure that the new you is not imbalanced in the opposite direction! Natural sweets are nutritive, and can lead one to explore and combine many healthful diet interests. Like a plane or a ship traveling through the storm, it's OK to over-correct, but it's not OK to stay on the over-corrected course!

  41. MaryJane February 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    There's more going on there than a simple addiction to sugar. You have to get your life and emotions under control as well, and not throw up your hands and say "i'm addicted to sugar, nothing's my fault" C'mon, it's a cop out!!

  42. Cara December 1, 2011 at 7:04 am - Reply

    I love this website. I kind of stumbled across it while looking to help to break this powerful sugar addiction.
    When I was very young I was abducted and molested.
    Not knowing how to emotionally handle the fallout from this experience, I became addicted to candy.
    Of course at that age I had not formed any coping abilities, or the ability to distingush between good foods for the body and mind and stuff that could make me sluggish, irritable, tired, keep me from learning. I remember “zoning out a lot” I couldn’t consentrate. I remember not having any candy in the house when I was little and sneaking upstairs to my Dad’s dresser where he kept the change. Running up to the corner store and buying as much penny candy I could buy. That is when I learned to be secretive about my addiction, and turned all my emotions inward. I was too young to know I needed help back then. I was one of 5 children.
    So as an adult everytime I am going through a lot of stress, which is almost every day now. (and that’s another story) I crave candy.
    Well, I’m going to try again to stop this rollercoaster ride.
    Thanks for being here. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  43. john November 12, 2011 at 6:03 am - Reply

    go to oa. you binge on sugar because your an addict sooner you admit it the faster your recovery wil be.i had 3 years sugar free stopped going to oa had1 piece of cake 2 months ago completly hooked again.i lo st 100 lbs practicing the 12 steps and i was free ………… im back in the cage its life and death ………12 steps plus higher power = recovery oh this is my last night with sugar for thirty nights strait better finish what s left just had 3 dove bars 5 homemade cookies pint of ice cream 2 peices of apple pie i baked today ………..but im ok i know i cant do this alone its so hard it hurts so bad my wife upset i hope my 3 sons dont find out i picked up god help me………john

  44. Lizzie November 9, 2011 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Hi. Oh, I'm probably the youngest person commenting on this, but I just need to talk about it. Halloween just came, and we hav left-over candy in my house. I'll start off with one or two pieces, and by now we're almost out of candy. I want to deal with this addiction by learning how to stop eating it, not by waiting until I've polished off every piece of chocolate in the house! And I know that you were talking about self-exceptance, but every time I try to accept myself, I wind up feeling even worse than I did before…

    Any advice? :(

  45. Glenna October 8, 2011 at 6:17 am - Reply

    I know that I crave sugar when I am bored, when things are not going right in my world but mine really is more cookies, cakes, candy bars, chocolate and not so much sugary drinks, but I'm really going to try to get the sugar eliminated out of my diet. I need to loose those pounds and get that energy and generally feel better.

  46. Jennifer July 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Hi, Karly and Bloggers. I am so interested in finding out more about support for sugar addicts. Years ago I lost 80 pounds because I tried a weight loss diet that eliminated sugar. Since then, I’ve gained and lost the weight and then some more times than I’d like to say. But, it isn’t merely weight that sends me looking for help. I’m a type 2 diabetic. My doctor told me yesterday that the reason I developed diabetes is because of my weight. I am a binge eater from the word go. Two years ago, my husband had to hospitalize me because my blood sugar was 720 ( for those who don’t know, blood sugar is normal between 65 and 165). I was having facial seizures every thirty minutes. It was terrifying. Once the blood sugar was lowered to normal, the seizures stopped. I monitor my blood sugar, but I am still very overweight, very addicted, and apt to binge. I finally found a happy marriage and a good life in my forties. I realize though that my life will be so much richer if I can stop the binge-eating and get control of my diet. The doctor said that since I was still pretty young (46) and had no other serious healthy issues, I could probably get off of my diabetic meds if I just got the weight under control. For me, that means the sugar must be controlled. The night I was hospitalized I had eaten an entire box of Little Debbies, two tubes of cake icing, a Reese’s peanut butter cup, two large bowls of spaghetti with meat sauce….and that’s just what I can remember. To keep my sugars normal, I can’t do that type of binging any more, but I want to get to the point where I don’t want to sneak to the grocery store for an icing-laden cupcake or a Reese’s peanut butter cup.
    Any way, thanks for recognizing that sugar addiction is real. I’ve been calling my problem sugar addiction for years. Finally, someone else does, too!

  47. Katie July 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    I need to quit the sugar…. I feel like I have no will power though. I successfully eliminated sugar one year for lent. I used to add 10 packets of sugar to a 16 oz cup of black tea. That year I went down to 1 packet. After lent was over, I was amazed at how much sugar I could taste in a granola bar! But years later (like 10?) I am still eating sugar every day. In fact I have a whole lunch box here that was an auction item that was never picked up… AND I have consumed about half the candy that is inside! I love sugar and breads so much. How can I completely kick them out of my life? These things are the cheapest things to buy, and without a job I can't afford much… $1 burgers are cheap (though extremely unhealthy). I would love to make a go for the fruits and veggies, I just don't know how long I can make that last with no $$$

  48. Vee July 2, 2011 at 8:15 am - Reply

    I want to give up sugar, not for weight loss, but to see if I can clear up my adult acne by bettering my internal system. I am already very thin, actually underweight due to recent health issues, so I am afraid of weight loss. Do you have any tips for me?

  49. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman June 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Amanda,

    I've talked with many who are fine with stevia but who have addictive reactions to other sweeteners. I love that you found something that works for you – I feel so happy for you.

    I'd love to make lemonade with stevia for my kids this summer. Do you have a recipe to share?

    XO, Karly

  50. Amanda June 15, 2011 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Stevia! Especially in beverages. It tastes sort of like splenda except it is natural, it's a leaf that is ground up and actually good for you. It's still a challenge but it does help a lot – mix with low sugar yogurt, add some berries to it, maybe a bit of vanilla – great! Home made lemonade with stevia is so good and good for you! If I didn't have stevia, I'd be much worse off. I just slipped up while babysitting (the place is literally like a 7-11 there is so much sugary stuff). That's why I'm here, but at home, no sugar only stevia, and I'm good!

  51. [...] been looking at a website on overcoming sugar addiction.  It’s found on  She’s already on the other side of it, so I think the suggestions will be helpful.  I [...]

  52. holly May 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    i love sugar too! cant help it,starts of as one biscuit…then the whole pack is gone!
    im at a loss what to do with myself,the more weight i gain the more i turn to sugar and the more i want to eat,and the whole time im eating i think i should be jogging or playing with the kids at the park,but the tv and the chips/choccy/anything are a better idea than exspending energy!! my kids would love it if i took them to the park more often or walked them to school,and i find myself needing more sugar earlier in the day,so i have 3 sugars in my cup of tea now!! im a grown woman with 3 kids! you would think i could just snap out of it and control such a stupid habbit,but i guess that is why its called an addiction,because you cant help it,you eat it without thinking about it,and it feels so good to do it to !! hopefully i can rid myself of sugar and prevent my kids from following my path,and we can all start leading a happier healthier life together! and maybe drop that 5-10 kilo’s thats been bugging me for the last 7 years!
    thank you for acnoledging sugar addiction,i wasnt sure if i had made it up in my head,i new that salt was addictive,now i no for sure that i must over come sugar,and all the bad things that it can do to my body and my life,time to stop wasting time with sugar,and spending more time and energy on things that are good,wish me luck because i no how i feel without it!!! headaches,tired,an even sick in the stomache,sometimes i cant concentrate,and i no ill get cranky! i just hope my family realise its all for a good reason!
    thank you again! good luck me! -holly.

  53. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman April 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Blue,

    Unfortunately, the sugar ebook is no longer free. You can purchase your copy of the ebook for $10 here:

    You can also purchase a paperback version of the book.

    We do offer free forums where you can talk to other women who are trying to find peace with sugar, food, their bodies and more:

    I hope that helps!

    Best, Karly

  54. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman April 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    You are so very welcome! It's very, very easy to identify with our coping strategies, and then believe we're this flawed mess. Remembering who we are – and remembering that overeating, sugar bingeing, and more are just that – coping strategies – helps us find the space to heal the pattern. I'm so proud of you!

  55. Blue April 8, 2011 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Hi Karly,
    I’ve read all the comments and you and several people mention a free ebook that I would like to read. Can you send it to me?! That is so nice of you to help others. I just googled “overcoming sugar addiction” and found your website. I wasn’t even sure there was such a thing, but realized that if there is, I surly suffer from it. I’ve never tried any kind of addictive substance (alcohol, tobacco, narcotics or illegal drugs) and don’t drink soda as a rule, but my relationship to sugar can’t be any less difficult than overcoming other kinds of addictions. If it’s baked or frozen, I’m particularly fond of it, as well as the entire spectrum of candy. If it’s grown in the earth or lives in the ocean, I’m not a fan.

    Yes, it’s bad. It even feels hopeless. I can’t fathom giving up all sugar, forever.and.ever.and.ever. I’m so all-or-nothing generally. But from what I’ve read on your site, I’m not the only one who is like this.

    One of the most amazing things I ever did was give up anything with sugar in it from the moment I found out I was expecting my first child, for the duration of my pregnancy. By that I mean anything that you’d think of as “sugary”. I still had bread, which I’m sure had some. And some sauces etc. But no beverages or desserts of any kind. I was going to grow the perfect baby, and I was on a mission. I was surprised at how strong I was in doing that. People would eat their creme brulee and offer me a taste, but I never wavered in my resistance.

    That was 14 years ago. I marvel at that now. I know doing it for my baby was a good cause, and that doing it for myself should be just as motivating, but it’s not. I, like others here, am kind of known for making amazing cakes and baked goods. I love making them for people, and I L.O.V.E. eating them, too. Right now I’m dying to have a treat. I had plain, raw oats with skim milk for breakfast, and 3 hours later i had two poached eggs with sugar-free salsa. But all I want is to open the mint Oreos I bought to use in some special cupcakes yesterday (Before I found this site).

    Anyway, thank you again for the service you’re offering. I hope your book helps (you can send it to the email address I used for my comment) and that I find courage and strength in overcoming this enslavement. ♥

  56. Anonymous April 3, 2011 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    To your point #5, thank you so much. This article touched my heart and made me realize some very important things about myself. Thank you for helping me.

  57. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman March 25, 2011 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Andrea,

    How awesome that your sugar abstinence is easy! It sounds like you are listening to your body and finding the foods that make you feel good. That was a huge part of the journey for me, too.

    Best of luck to you on your journey to greater health.

    XO, Karly

  58. Andrea March 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    I don’t find giving up sugar at all hard but i have the same addiction behaviour you describe. It easy to quit entirely. In fact its the only way. You shouldn’t crave it at all if you are getting enough to eat. And my god did i lose weight fast. But i also gave up a lot of fat things from diet and brought back full cream milk. But its the sugar foods that make me put on weight so fast so that is the imperative thing i give up.

    I don’t think there’s enough guts to this topic to make a sensible book out of. Its really very simple. Give up all sugar (and the tip about fake sugar makes sense) don’t start using honey or molasses etc. Just keep away from all that stuff. Make your other food tasty and healthy. And you won’t miss any of those things.

    But don’t replace sugar with high fat foods like cheese or pastries either. Just go with good healthy things. Eat more fruit. Eat more simple dairy. Eat more vegies and oats. Its really very easy its astonishing.

    I’ve lost about 5 kilos in three weeks and i eat whenever i do get hungry but i try to keep to three meals a day.

    Dishes that are good for me are:
    oats with milk and fresh fruit
    yoghurt and fruit
    ratatouille (find a recipe off the web)
    pasta and tomato sauce but no cheese
    fish obiviously
    salad sandwiches with avocardo instead of butter (i’ve given up butter)
    nothing fried except perhaps the odd egg
    no bacon or food like that
    ratatouille on dry toast
    coffee with only milk keeps me going through most of the day

    My one indulgence is a glass of wine in the evening.

  59. Gillian November 16, 2010 at 4:28 am - Reply

    i don;t know if i am addicted. its seems that when i get sugar, like if i have a piece of candy, having more sugar, like more candy of a cookie is all that i can think about, i cant focus on anything else, am i addicted? and then there is the fact that i dont want to give up sugar, i love it, and thats the problem. if i am addicted, will i ever be able to have just one piece of candy? i dont want to give up sugar, but i dont want to get diabetes, etc. i hope that you can answer my questions…

  60. Yvette November 1, 2010 at 6:16 am - Reply

    I am at my wits end. A few years ago I read Potatoes Not Prozac and loved it, but I didn’t get far with it. About 15 years ago I gave up sugar, counted calories and lost 120lbs of which I have gained back 60. I know that my struggle is sugar… because I can’t stop thinking about it and go to great lenghts to get it even when it’s not in my house. Now that I’m older, I’m feeling the effects a lot more in the form of hypoglycemia and pre-diabetes. I am a nutritionist… so the excess weight and the sugar is an embrassing problem on many levels. I know better… but here’s the real kicker… I don’t want to give up sugar even though I know it makes me feel like crap and I know the long term dangers of it… I just enjoy it so much. I sometimes wonder if I can get as much pleasure from anything else ever again. I feel like it’s the only thing I truly really and fully enjoy in life. AND I’m not a generally depressed person. I actually have two great kids and a husband that I truly love and respect. So… how can I give up sugar with such strong feelings about it? I want to give it up, but I’m afraid I can’t because I so look forward to it…

  61. Kate October 25, 2010 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    I haven’t started any program yet, but I already feel defeated. I understand that I use food, specifically sugar, as an emotional support. However, I can’t see any way to cut it out without such a level of misery and depression that I would ultimately fail. I am a trained pastry chef and have a job that I totally love, one where I get to make all sorts of goodies every day. The variety means that I never get tired of tasting what I have made. The enthusiasm that others show for my desserts is also a reward. I LOVE tasty food, far far far more than sex! I love the colors, the smells, the textures, and certainly the taste. My emotional stability in my marriage is being held up by the close availability of chocolate. I am so far in debt that I have no hope of being able to buy or do anything for pleasure for at least the next 5 years. Basically, my job, my children, and food are the only pleasures in my life. I also have no will power. Other attempts to give up sweets have made me instantly depressed, before even starting, and I end up sleeping as much as possible to hide from the fact that my conscious life sucks if I remove sugar from the picture. I end up not eating, because forcing myself to eat what I don’t desire pisses me off so much. I don’t open the carton of icecream and eat until I feel sick; I have a steady trickle throughout the entire day. Coffee and a few M&Ms for breakfast, a donut when I get to work, an apple with caramel dip as a snack, several spoons of batter of whatever dessert I am making at work, a muffin later in the day, tea and whatever leftovers I can find from the previous day’s dessert, a few more dessert bites when I serve it at dinner time, chocolate milk and a few more chocolate bites when I get home and before I go to bed. When real food is put in front of me, I eat it, but then still want sweets no matter how stuffed I am. No matter how much I eat of good food, nuts, veggies, protein, etc., I never lose the craving for something sweet. My husband wants to hear about my fantasies and I really can’t tell him, because a slice of flourless chocolate torte and a creamy cup of coffee isn’t what he has in mind. He harasses me about my sugar consumption, but isn’t supportive in a helpful or sensitive way, which ultimately makes me want to just sneak sugar to feel content without the attacks. I feel totally hopeless in this. Even thinking about it makes me depressed and I certainly can’t afford therapy or real Prozac. What do you do when a pan of warm brownies sounds so much more appealing than socializing, sex, conversations, any hobby, ready, watching tv, or any other thing I can possibly think of??? My job brings me great happiness, but puts me in contact with sugar constantly. Am I basically doomed?

  62. Julie October 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Diana, I'm glad i found this web site too! Thanks Karly! I want to encourage you to join it's free & it's an online support group of women just like us- struggling to loose weight! they have tools that help us along the way to stay motivated- did i mention it's free? good luck to you!

  63. Marty September 30, 2010 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Hello, I have just begun to lose the sugar and although I am not sure I am addicted as an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, I am experiencing cravings that are beyond anything I have ever experienced. It seems that sugar is everywhere and all I can think of is cheating. Thanks for listening.

  64. Diana September 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    I'm so encouraged to locate this website today. The one area of my life that so grieves me is this craving for sugar, particularly ice cream. It's like something comes over me and I go and eat it until very uncomfortable without thinking. I then ask the Lord to forgive me and do it again later. Years ago I did read the Prozac to pototoes book and it helped me see how truly physical this deal is. But, oh, I do need help. I simply cannot do this alone. And now I am approx 100 overweight….something I never thought I was capable of. I feel hopeless that I'll succeed because I've failed so many times in the past. How can I get myself mentally energized again and grasp onto some real hope that I can be free and also my normal size again? Thanks.

  65. Trevor September 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the advice!

    I am battling my sugar addiction in the form of COLA. I've tried diet and Coke Zero, but I know that I'm just going to have to give it all up.

  66. Karly September 14, 2010 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Sara,

    I'm glad you wrote, and I'm glad that you recognize that you need more structure, what FA gives you. It sounds like you're listening to your own inner voice about what you need.

    My program isn't for everyone, and there are many different approaches to healing from sugar addiction. FA is a valid path for many people. If it works for you, keep at it!

    Best to you,


  67. KH September 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    I've been struggling with binge eating disorder and have a very bad sugar addiction. I am printing this article out!

    I have a question though, how long does one abstain from sugar for? When is it and is it ever okay to reintroduce sugar to ones system?


  68. Sara August 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    The only thing that has ever worked for me is the 12 Step program Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous,

    I have been fighting my flour and sugar addiction for over 20 years. I have been in and out this Program, and come back because trying to do Karly's program on my own never works….I have no self control.

  69. Karly August 8, 2010 at 1:42 am - Reply


    My husband is someone like you – he eats some sugar but it doesn't cause a problem for him. He can have a bowl of ice cream and stop.

    When I eat ice cream, I eat it until I'm sick.

    What's the difference? I'm sugar sensitive. My husband is not. That's why I don't eat sugar, but my husband eats it in moderation.

    From your description, it sounds like you're okay eating sugar and that you do your best to eat a healthy diet. Good for you. I love the adage, "If it's not broke, don't fix it!" It sounds like you're right where you need to be.

    To your health and wholeness, Karly

  70. Karly August 8, 2010 at 1:39 am - Reply

    Hi Melinda,

    There are lots of free resources here to help you. We have a free friends area with audio and exercises and more:

    If you are thinking that you'd like to start giving up sugar, you may want to read Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen des Maisons. It's the book that taught me about sugar and helped me break free. I'd also suggest reading my book, Overcoming Sugar Addiction, that shares my story and how I gave up sugar.

    You may also be interested in reading Julia Ross' book The Mood Cure. Many of us who've had bulimia have found this book helpful in healing the brain.

    That's where I would start.

    You can heal this!

    XO, Karly

  71. Karly August 8, 2010 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Hi Emily,

    My book Overcoming Sugar Addiction answers many of your questions. It shares my experience of giving up sugar and making peace with sugar free living – as well as how to find the joy of eating this way (healing my feelings of deprivation and "it's not fair.")

    Yes, not eating added sugars is an adjustment! I look at sugar in the same way someone may look at a food they're allergic to. In this free friends area of First Ourselves, there's a 30 minute audio where I talk about this. Go here to join (it's free):

    XO, Karly

  72. Miriam August 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm - Reply


    This site is just what I have been searching for! Thank you, Karly. I didn't know that other people have issues like this as well as me. It's great that I can finally have some support!

    I have a question. Whenever I tell people that I'm giving up chocolate or unhealthy foods, they always protest or tell me to stop being stupid. For those who have given up sugar completely, what do you say to people when they ask why you're so picky with food?! I find it really discouraging when people have a go because I'm trying to be healthy (and not broadcast to the world that I have an addiction to sugar!).



  73. Karly July 8, 2010 at 1:40 am - Reply

    Yeah for you Sharon!! It sounds like you are connecting the dots and putting together the pieces for your health.

    XO, Karly

  74. atiyah June 12, 2010 at 12:14 am - Reply

    sugar is a drug. someone, ANYONE, convince me otherwise. even when i don't like the way something with sugar in it tastes, or even when i know i've had enough, sometimes, OFTEN, i just "can't" stop. and just like an addict to other powerful drugs to which the body becomes resistant, many times i consume the sugary products to bring me from feeling horrible to feeling normal enough to function.


  75. Emily June 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I have given up sugar as well (8 weeks this Thursday), and am wondering how you implement "no sugar" in your life. I went sugar free at first just to lose weight on this diet as recommended by Dr Mercola's book "No Grain Diet." I have given up all grains, starchy food, and fruits (except for some lemon juice added to teas and sauces). On the stabilize portion of this (diet for life) I can have healthy grains quinoa, spelt, and tef etc. I have only cheated on my diet once (last Monday) by getting a sundae (totally wasn't worth it!) and I had a headache afterwards.

    On the stabilize portion of this diet I can have fruit and the grains in more limited quantities. Mostly watching and monitoring my body weight and glucose levels closely to make sure the grains aren't making me gain or I'm not eating too much glucose.

    I'm just wondering what it feels like to be sugar free longer. Also, besides staying away from sugar explicitly, do you also avoid artificial sweeteners, honey, starches, and monitor your fruit intake?

    On the stabilize portion of this eating plan, I can have xylitol and raw organic honey desserts, but I'm not sure how often I should eat these things. They're labeled as "treats."

    How often would you suggest I eat healthier treats like this?

    Also, the hardest thing about this diet is avoiding all the added sugars in food. Such as sugars that are just in my sauce on my steak dianne. Do you avoid all added/hidden sugars when you go out to eat, or do you go ahead and eat them, but refrain from things more obvious with their sugar content?

    The hardest part is finding dishes that don't have any sugar content at all. Almost impossible unless I just eat raw fish, chicken breast, or plan salad with o/v on side!

  76. Kyler May 15, 2010 at 2:11 am - Reply

    Any Idea the effect it would have on a 14 year old girl?I was never really into sugar. I mean I really don't eat sugary things, or really salty things. But I know i do consume some like in cereal. BUt not enough to really hurt me. You should see some kids, they eat so much.I'm really good for my age, and I don't eat fast-food or dairy. Do you think I should try?

  77. MarkSpizer May 3, 2010 at 11:33 am - Reply

    great post as usual!

  78. Melinda April 9, 2010 at 4:25 am - Reply

    Hi Karly,

    I really don't know where to start. I can't imagine a life without sugar yet I know that is an illusion. I am living off caffeine and sugar and fat and going to school. Not really nutritional for my brain. I stopped bulimia about 1.5yrs ago which is amazing. Any idea where I can start.


  79. [...] the less sugar you eat, the less you crave it.  Here are a couple of links I found:  here and here.  If anyone’s got any good info for me, please share!   Leave a [...]

  80. Sharon Lowe April 1, 2010 at 1:31 am - Reply

    I’m getting ready to join a support group/motivational program here locally run by Dr. Nick Yphantides called healthsteward. I have recognized that sugar addiction is the major issue for me as far as being the food I turn to for emotional suppport. The thing about the tortilla chips is very interesting also because I tend to like to binge eat chips and salsa and then I want to eat sugar. I also notice I seem to crave cheese a lot. Do you see any connection between that and the sugar addiction. I started a medication three months ago which I was on 10 years ago. During that time previously I gained 80 lbs and I am only 5’2″. My appetite is increasing and so are my cravings and I am exercising but I’m not interested in over-exercising to keep up with eating too much sugar or anythingelse. I want to stop this now. In two weeks I start healthstewards and will be part of a small accountability group which meets once a week for 45 minutes preceded by a 45 minute motivational lecture given by Dr. Yphantides. I plan to read your book right alongside with his (“My Big Fat Greek Diet”). God bless and thank you.

  81. [...] is a great site I found on controlling sugar cravings.  I want to check this out a bit [...]

  82. Karly March 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Hi Elaine,

    I can relate to your story. My sugar addiction felt so huge – it felt impossible to heal. But I want to assure you that you can. The First Ourselves sugar addiction support program uses many disciplines, and may be just what you need. We'd love to have you join the hundreds of other women who are giving up sugar together:

  83. Elaine March 21, 2010 at 4:48 am - Reply

    I am a sugar addict. I tried giving up sugar for lent–failed. I changed it to chocolate—-failed. I wish my health insurance would cover a treatment program (like they do for other addictions (etoh, drugs). I really think I need inpatient treatment with multiple disciplines involved in the process. I googled "sugar addiction" and came across this site. I sure hope there is something here that will help!

  84. Karly January 27, 2010 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for the link. And you are not alone – I hear from lots and lots of men who struggle with sugar addiction, too.

  85. Karly January 27, 2010 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    Hi Lilybart,

    I can empathize. For much of my life, I have treated myself so harshly. Pushing, pushing, pushing myself…being the stoic….ignoring my needs….criticizing myself for feeling lonely, tired, sad, or frustrated. My journey began with offering myself compassion – something I starved myself of as I gorged on sugar.

  86. Karly January 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Hi Kim,

    I know how you feel. I know many people who can eat sugar moderately without a problem – so to them, the thought of being "addicted" to sugar is almost laughable. Honor how you were made, your limits, and your body. We all feel terrified about giving up sugar. But there is so much to gain – namely freedom, peace and wellbeing.

  87. Karly January 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Cal,

    I was bulimic for over 5 years, and my favorite binge foods were sugar and simple carbs. In fact, I don't think I ever binged on broccoli, carrots, or steak. I definitely think there's a connection between sugar and bingeing – although I also had to heal my emotional addiction to sugar (the fact that I turned to food to solve life's pain.) I know the pain of an eating disorder. I wish you health and wholeness on your journey.

  88. Karly January 27, 2010 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Tracy,

    I'm glad you've found lots of support here. Wow – a baker – that would be a very challenging job for me! If you're looking for more support, we have a Sugar Addiction support program and forums to help you break free from sugar.

  89. Karly January 27, 2010 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Flaneur, Yes, there's lots of hidden sugar, particularly in prepared and packaged food. I can taste the sugar pretty easily – just the other day I was eating a new salsa my husband bought. As soon as I'd had a taste, I said, "This has sugar in it."

    "No it doesn't," my husband replied.

    I read the label, and sure enough – sugar.

    You may want to read The End of Overeating by David Kessler, as he talks about how the food processing industry intentionally adds sugar (and salt) to food to make it taste better and to sell more. Very interesting read….

  90. admin January 27, 2010 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    And here's what we do have in common – vegetables and nuts are the mainstays of my diet. We consume *a lot* of produce in our house.

  91. Karly January 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Meg,

    I know many vegans who also choose not to eat sugar. I think that's great that you're aligning your values with your food choices, and finding a way of eating that resonates with you body, mind and spirit. My philosophy about food is that each person needs to find a way of eating that honors their body – an integrative approach that values many different ways of eating. In my ebook, I share what works for me as an example of one way of sugar free eating, and not as a prescription for what to follow.

  92. Meg January 26, 2010 at 4:09 am - Reply

    While I enjoyed reading the ebook, I noticed that there weren't a lot of options for vegans. I do not eat meat or animal byproducts. Not only do I do this for my health, I also do it because I care about the rights and welfare of all animals. My main foods involve lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and I abstain from eating any animal flesh or other body parts. I also avoid processed, packaged foods. This diet works very well for me. I stay trim, healthy, and full of energy, and it feels wonderful that my actions reflect my values. Veganism is a great way to avoid unnecessary added sugars and reap the benefits of natural foods without the guilt of consuming the flesh of living beings.

  93. Karly January 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    You are very welcome, Brittany. Yes, you are right – it's hard to give up something that is so ingrained in our lives. And yet the freedom on the other side is so powerful. I know you can do this – keep the faith.

  94. Karly January 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Joanna,

    You're welcome! I'm glad that the book has been helpful to you. If I can do this, you can, too – and I was the biggest sugar junkie I knew. If you need more support, considering joining our forums or our sugar program:

    Support is the biggest key, I think, to change. Lack of support was one reason why it took me so long to get off sugar for good.

    I'm excited for you as you take this leap forward.

  95. Joanna January 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for this ebook! I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am addicted to sugar, and did not have any idea how to overcome this addiction. This has been very helpful, and I feel that planning how I am going to overcome it is halfway to actually doing it :D

  96. Karly January 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Clay,

    I'm sorry about the broken link. We relaunched our site in the past 6 months on a new hosting platform, which has resulted in broken links. Try this link to get to the reading list:

  97. Clay Dreslough January 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    I love your e-Book. But the link to other books about the negative effects of sugar is dead:


  98. Brittany January 15, 2010 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Thank you sooo much for providing this book for free out of the kindness of your heart!! I have just come to terms with my addiction. I have known it for years but have been reluctant to give up my addiction because I have never had any support and because it is so accepted in our society like you said. It's flipping everywhere!!! Thank you soo much for taking the time to help people like me with their addictions and providing a comforting helping hand through our struggles.

  99. Flaneur January 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    V interesting ebook. Thanks for all the info. So much hidden sugar everywhere!

  100. Karly December 12, 2009 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    I wanted to respond to anonymous' comment, because I think it was a valid point. When I say that I don't believe in the comment "once an addict, always an addict," what I meant is that I don't believe in *defining* yourself by your addiction – in labeling who you are as a person as an "addict." I am speaking about how you see yourself – not in how you go about healing yourself. I understand that addiction is due to a combination of many factors, including, in the case of drugs and alcohol, chemical factors in the brain. This may mean getting professional help to heal from an addiction. But even as you are healing from an addiction, are you not also more than your addiction? That is my point.

  101. lu December 5, 2009 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Hi all,

    I gave up all sugar, white flour, white rice, dairy due to the milk sugars and fruit two years ago. I couldn't ave done it without xylitol. This is a sugar that tastes like normal white sugar but is extremely good for us. It is made out of brich tree bark and has a very very low G1.

    It's amazing stuff!


  102. Karly December 1, 2009 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Lisa, I love that you mentioned this in your blog! Thank you for the shout out. Warmly, Karly

  103. Lisa at at GetHealth December 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Hi there,

    Great article! I like how you address mental ways to also break sugar addictions. Hope you don't mind, but I mentioned it in my blog as well.

    Bye for now,


  104. [...] 10 Ways to Break Your Sugar Addiction [...]

  105. Karly November 26, 2009 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Here's another fabulous expert on the science of sugar addiction, Dr. Julia Ross (I highly recommend her book The Mood Cure), in an interview about sugar addiction with my pal Jimmy Moore.

  106. Karly September 8, 2009 at 6:49 am - Reply

    Ah, Helen, of course! We all struggle with implementation. Knowledge doesn't always translate into behavior – one of the challenges of being a human being. That's why you might try our Control My Sugar Cravings support program, designed to be self-paced and yet gently move you through a 12 week transition with support and guidance.

  107. Helen September 8, 2009 at 5:50 am - Reply

    I know that I am addicted to sugar. I have read the e-book (which I loved!) and numerous other books about giving up sugar. I have all the information and I know that this is what I want to do, but I can't seem to take the steps to make it happen. Is anyone else struggling with this?

  108. Tracy July 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    I'm seriously addicted to sugar right now. I had given it up many years ago, then took a job as a baker, and things went downhill from there, lol! But I'm looking online for ideas and help to eliminated it again, so thanks for all the great info!

  109. francine June 30, 2009 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Can I, or should I use Agave for sweetening my coffee or tea if I am trying to go sugar free? Will it increase my craving for sugar like the artificial sweeteners?

  110. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman June 30, 2009 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Some people have had success with agave or stevia, in that they don’t trigger sugar cravings in their body. I wasn’t able to do so. In fact, one of my favorite binge foods was the agave sweetened peanut butter balls from the health food store!

    In one sense, the agave sweetened treats were better, as they didn’t spike my blood sugar like regular white sugar. But as Kathleen Des Maisons explains in her book Potatoes Not Prozac (an excellent book that explains the science behind sugar addiction, the physiological drive to eat more and more sugar), blood sugar is just one component of a sugar craving. Sugar also affects your feel good transmitters (beta-endorphins and serotonin, mainly.) So even though a sweetener may not spike your blood sugar and lead to sugar cravings, it may set off your endorphins or serotonin, creating a biochemical drive in the brain for sugar.

    Agave does this in me. Not as dramatically as white sugar, but, it does cause a craving for more and more sugar and sweet stuff over time. For this reason, and because I love the abundant health that I have when I’m not craving sugar and obsessing about food, I stay away from all sweeteners. But that is me and my body. If I had to characterize my sugar sensitivity on a scale from 1 to 10, I would put me at a 10. Your body may not be that sensitive. You may be able to handle stevia and a little agave just fine.

    So here’s what I would do:
    try it and see how you feel. Experiment. Test and measure the results.

    If you find that you can’t live without your tea and coffee with agave, if you find yourself craving other sugary foods, then that may be a sign that agave does effect you. And if you don’t find yourself hooked by it, wanting to eat sugar and needing to have it in a compulsive way, then it sounds like it may be okay for your body.

    We talk about this process of learning what to eat in the Control My Sugar Cravings support program.

    I hope this helps!

  111. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman June 22, 2009 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the comments. I am not an expert on all types of addiction nor do I set out to be: I am merely a woman who struggled with sugar addiction and who has found peace by remaining sugar abstinent. I want to help others find similar peace.
    I certainly understand that there are other factors that lead to addiction, which is why I don't offer medical advice. Yes, there is a biochemical component. And, yes, there is a spiritual component, too. I try and address the spiritual component and let others help people with the physical component.
    I think the two approaches go hand in hand, that it isn't either/or.
    Thank you for the food for thought and the dialogue.
    Take good care,

  112. Anonymous June 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    " I don't endorse the idea of 'once an addict, always an addict.'"
    Please do a little research about this. While sugar addictions may not have the same physiological process (although I believe there has been research to suggest it does) chemical addictions to drugs and alcohol are caused by actual physical changes in the brain. It isn't a "spiritual" change. Please be careful what you say — what you say on here could have real consequences for someone actually dealing with an addiction or dealing with someone that has addiction.

  113. Roz May 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    As a result of a blow to the head about 15 years ago which wiped out my sense of smell and therefore my sense of taste, the only tastes I get are the few taste buds on the tongue: sweet, sour, salt and bitter — all weight gainers and the only flavors I crave. No sense of smell also wreaks havoc on the appetite as well. My stomach seldom really feels hunger, but my mouth is hungry all the time but only for those 4 flavors. Don't know if this qualifies as a sugar addiction but I sure need to quit it.

  114. Cal May 2, 2009 at 6:04 am - Reply

    I am a young woman, fighting off an eating disorder. I've finally come to realize that the root of my binge/purging lifestyle is due to my addiction to sugar.
    These tips were very helpful. I'm glad to know that i'm not alone in my struggle.

  115. Kim May 1, 2009 at 10:33 am - Reply

    I'm just coming to terms with the fact that have a sugar addiction. There is no denying it. But the thought of giving up sugar is terrifying. But it's something that I must do for myself. I'm tired of being tired and constantly struggling with my weight. A battle which I am losing as I get older. I'm glad to know that there others (I'm sorry that you all are going through it too) and that I'm not the only one that is dealing with this. I'm still stunned that this is really an "issue" for me.

  116. Lilybart February 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    What is really hard is that I am known as a Great Baker!! It is part of my identity and that is tough to deal with.
    Like a wine merchant who gives up drinking!!

  117. Lilybart February 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    This advice is so great! Lovely really, the self-care stuff brought tears to my eyes, so it must be what I need!!

  118. Chris September 9, 2008 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Karly,
    Thank you so much for the book. I am going to read it. I am trying to lose weight but it is so difficult because I am addicted to sugar.
    And here's the weird thing – I'm a guy! This seems so rare because I only ever hear about women who are addicted to sugar!
    I eat sugar every day. Recently I have even been addicted to ice lollies (popsicles). Sometimes I will even eat 30 of them in one day!!
    I have stopped cold turkey and suffering withdrawal pangs like a smoker quitting. It's really difficult….thanks for the book, I will let you know how it goes. I am also going to post about you on my blog.

  119. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Dear JoLynn,

    Yes, I was a sugar addict for decades—I was hooked! Giving up sugar for good literally gave me back my life, ending the violent mood swings, feelings of "going crazy," and low self esteem that I experienced from eating sugar. I have an ebook coming out on conquering sugar addiction that will be available for purchase on in the next few weeks. Find the sugar addiction book here. Good luck on your journey!



  120. JoLynn Braley February 22, 2008 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Kerry,
    I'm addicted to sugar too, you've got some great tips here. I love to see that there are others out there who are blogging about sugar addiction, I really think that there are more people who are addicted to it than realize it.
    Here's to staying off the white stuff. ;)

  121. Karly August 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Hi Atiyah,

    I’m the same way. I would look up what Kathleen des Maisons, the pioneer in sugar addiction research and author of Potatoes not Prozac, has to say about this. She does a great job of explaining why those of us who are “sugar sensitive” – a term she coined – can’t stop eating sugar once we start. It has to do with the brain, not willpower or a character flaw.

    Learn more here:

    When I understood that my sugar sensitivity is something real and has to do with my brain – not a deep seated character flaw – I was able to take the steps to stop eating sugar – not out of punishment, but as an act of love and care for myself. My book Overcoming Sugar Addiction ( explains this in further detail.

    XO, Karly

  122. Karly August 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Miriam,

    You are so welcome. Isn’t it great to know you’re not the only one who feels this way, to know you’re not alone and – more importantly – not crazy? That your problems with sugar aren’t in your head or a willpower issue?

    Have you read Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen des Maisons? That’s the first place I would start to learn about “sugar sensitivity” and why sugar effects your body differently than other people’s.

    In my book, Overcoming Sugar Addiction, I talk about the issue you explore here – how do you stand up for yourself when everyone around you eats differently or doesn’t support your choices?

    I don’t broadcast how I eat. If people are really insistent on pushing sugar on me, I keep saying, “No thank you.” Eventually they stop!

    At one point, though, I *did* broadcast how I ate and had a huge monologue handy about how I didn’t eat sugar. It caused lots of problems. People would feel judged and would get defensive – and then they would attack me and my choices. Then I would feel judged and defensive! My need to explain myself created feelings of judgment, separation and isolation. I would get angry and feel unloved and also feel unsupported in my challenges with food.

    Today, I just say no thank you. If someone asks out of curiousity, I’ll share with them. But my sugar abstinence is not something I feel a need to defend or a need to get others to join “in the cause.”

    Often, we tell others about our desire to give up sugar for 2 reasons: 1. to get support and 2. to get validation.

    Get support. Support is vital. But don’t confuse it with validation – a pat on the back from others. When we want validation, that’s when we an come across as attacking others’ eating choices or as trying to “one up” them.

    Does this make sense? Is the difference clear?

    XO, Karly

  123. Karly September 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Diana,

    I feel your pain. I know how helpless I’ve felt with sugar – I can empathize with your overwhelm about, “How can I heal this?” Healing my sugar addiction (and the binge eating) has been one of my greatest challenges in this life.

    In October I’ll be teaching a 6 week teleclass to help men and women break free from sugar. I’d love to have you join us. The course includes weekly audio teachings, homework, and a spiral bound workbook of the 6 tools that help me maintain my sugar abstinence. Plus each week we’ll have group coaching calls where you can ask questions, share what you’re learning, and get support.

    If you’re on our mailing list, you’ll hear more about the class.

    In closing, if I can say anything it would be that you can heal. You’re not hopeless, or helpless. You’re not a worthless slug with no will power. You are a tender, precious (and probably sensitive!) human being who just needs some support to break free.

    Best, Karly

  124. Karly Randolph Pitman November 5, 2010 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Dearest Kate and Yvette,

    I could relate to your pain and frustration, and I’m sure everyone here can, too.
    Thank you for sharing your story and for your honesty. You are not alone.

    One of the biggest challenges for me with sugar has been that intellectually, I know better – I know what eating sugar does to me and how it causes suffering, leading to addiction. And yet when I’m feeling caught by sugar (or other addictive foods), my intellectual brain is not in charge. My anxious, fearful, emotional brain is.

    How do I soothe that part of me so that I can use my reason, my deeper will, and tap into my intentions instead of getting waylaid? That is the deeper work that I’ve been doing these past 6 years.

    I am grateful for your honesty and sincerity. I also honor your courage. I hear a willingness, desire and sincerity to heal in you. I know you’ll find your way. I wish you peace, freedom and healing on your journey.

    We offer more resources at for you to help find this emotional freedom from sugar.

    Much love, Karly

  125. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman May 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Holly,

    Oh, beloved – it’s not your fault. Really. Overeating sugar isn’t a matter of will power or control. Its origins are in the brain. First, in the physical brain, where many of us get hooked by the way sugar pumps up our endorphins and dopamine – the feel good chemicals. If your body is sensitive to sugar in this way, then it can react to it like a drug, where it wants more and more and more. (Kathleen des Maisons does an excellent job of explaining the science of sugar addiction at and in her book Potatoes not Prozac.)

    There’s also the emotional brain to consider, where we store memories, trauma, and wounding. This part of our brain is what’s in charge when we binge on sugar – not the intellectual brain. (It’s why we can get stuck doing things that we “know” better or don’t want to do.)

    For me, the path to healing from sugar looked like this:

    1. Healing my physical brain by eating regular, whole foods meals with protein.
    2. Healing my emotional brain with self acceptance, self care, self love, and self compassion – to have compassion for the way my wounding would show up in my life and then lead to overeating.

    I explain more on how to do this with the therapy I created, growing human(kind)ness:

    I also teach this therapy in this workbook on healing from sugar addiction:

    You can heal, Holly. And you are perfect and wonderful and lovable today, just as you are.

    XO, Karly

  126. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman July 2, 2011 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Hi Vee,

    What a great question! I’ve heard that sugar can cause inflammation, so I’m guessing that eating less sugar can lead to healthier skin. It sounds like you’re wanting to give it a try.

    I’m thinking that a medical expert, nutritionist, or doctor may have a better answer for you, as weight loss isn’t my area of expertise. I’m guessing they may have ideas on how to maintain your weight (or add some on) while eating less sugar.

    One resource that comes to mind is Donna Eden’s work with the body ecology diet:

    What made me think of her for you is her focus on healing the internal system. Best of luck to you – please keep us posted on your progress, as I’d love to hear how it unfolds for you!

    Warmly, Karly

  127. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman July 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Hi Jennifer,

    What I loved in reading about your story is how much it confirms how our biology – like volatile blood sugar – can cause us to do crazy things – like eat entire tubs of icing! I hope you can have so much compassion for yourself – knowing that it’s not your fault. I think that the book Potatoes not Prozac is a fabulous resource for understanding the biology of sugar addiction.

    You may also enjoy reading about my story and how I kicked my sugar habit:

    Oh, dear one, you are not alone. I deal with low blood sugar and understand how mood swings, cravings and blood sugar are intertwined. When my blood sugar is unstable, my body craves all sorts of unhealthy things in an attempt to stabilize it. It’s hard to honor my intentions to eat nourishing food when my blood sugar is whacked.

    One of the most powerful things I’ve learned on this journey is that I need to honor how I’m made – and not live from a place of should – how I think I “should” be or how I should be more like other people.

    I’m a sensitive woman with low and volatile blood sugar who reacts strongly to processed food and sugar. Once I accept myself as I am, then I can give myself the support I need to thrive – to honor how I’m made – without feeling less than or deficient. On a day to day practical level, this means that I eat much differently than most people. Food, for me, really is a medicine – or a drug – depending on what I eat.

    I support how I’m made by:
    eating breakfast
    eating regular meals with protein
    having firm boundaries around certain foods (processed food and sugar)

    I accept that I eat this way and that others may not have to. I do it not out of “should” or have to but as an act of love for myself – because I deserve to be happy and thrive.

    I hear a similar desire in you to honor how you are made – I find that so powerful and inspiring. I hear that desire and feel confident that you can make the changes you’d like to make with sugar and food.

    I feel so proud of you.

    In support,
    XOXO, Karly

  128. Stefanie July 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    I successfully kicked the sugar and all refined foods habit for a year. It was amazing how slowly, but steadily weight came off. I felt so much better – didn’t need naps during the day, had more energy overall to work out and had better focus on tasks at hand. The first week or two were the very hardest for me. I was really determined to not eat anything at all that was refined or contained anything refined – which of course includes sugar and sugar by-products, sugar substitutes. What I found worked for me to curb my sweet tooth during the first two weeks, was creating my own little “dessert”. I used raw walnuts, raw honey (real raw honey that I found at a health food store), lemon extract and butter (real butter, not fake). I chopped the walnuts (about a cup) finely, added a couple of teaspoons of melted butter, a couple teaspoons of raw honey and a smidge of lemon extract and it was delicious and also tamed the monster inside that demanded something sweet! One of the things I did not give up was butter – it’s not refined and real butter isn’t the demon most people make it out to be. While the last few months of my experiment I did give up butter (and lost even more weight btw) – my main focus was giving up refined foods, not weight loss. I read so many articles on what sugar and other refined foods (white rice, white and wheat bread, white flour) do to the human body and was outraged that the practice of refining foods continues. I was still able to have sweet things – but I just modified what I used. I was able to have french toast – by using sprouted bread (but be careful, some “sprouted” breads contain refined products), and used real maple syrup – not the processed/refined stuff you find in most grocery stores. It is pricey – but for an occasional treat, it is worth it. Giving up refined foods can make people look at you strangely – most people thought I was crazy and actually told me I “needed” sugar and wasn’t getting a balanced diet. But just stick with it – you will be glad you did. Also a word of caution, after the year was up – I slowly re-introduced some sugary, refined foods back into my diet and it was stunning how quickly I again became addicted. I am in the process of again weaning myself off of those foods again. I can’t stand feeling sluggish and wanting naps during the day. So here I go again!

  129. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman July 28, 2011 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Hi Stefanie,

    I chuckled when reading your post, because I’ve also been told that not eating refined foods isn’t “balanced.”

    Like you, I’m sensitive to refined foods and don” feel good on them. I also noticed a huge correlation between whole foods and energy. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t need others’ approval or understanding to eat the way I do…that my own understanding is enough. It sounds like you are on a similar path.

    How wonderful for you to recognize the connection between food and mood and to be willing to care for yourself in this way. I have full confidence that you’ll be back to your normal way of unrefined eating soon. If it works for you, keep us posted on your progress.

    Thank you for taking the time to write and share your story. I felt inspired reading it!

    In love and support, Karly

  130. Stacey September 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm - Reply


    I noticed something in your blog that really struck me. In your last paragraph you mention “sneaking” off to get your sugar-laden fixes. This can be a very huge part of the picture for you, myself, and many others. I did not do this with sugar, but salty carbs were my food of choice. I would hoard these forbidden foods and eat them in private, but sometimes it was alot more like devouring! I finally came to terms with my appearance and decided that I wouldn’t listen to what others say or what I think they are saying about what/how I eat. Your intake of all that food seems to reflect the same issue. Don’t get me wrong and I may be very wrong, but it seems you (as I was) are embaressed of your eating habits. And eating HABITS are what they are. You just really need to confront if you want these habits to create you or if you want to create you. I would like to suggest the book, “Paul Mckenna – “I Can Make You Thin”. He really focuses on rewiring your eating HABITS and that it is very attainable. Also, he has alot of guided imagiry that would probably help with the fear that makes you sneak food. When you sneak food you are going to consume alot more of it, because well…you don’t know when you will be able to eat those foods without being judged by yourself or others next. It is really a great book and I hope you look into it. It helped me in my process of recreating who I am as this person that I am in many ways. GOOD LUCK!! This is not will-power by the way. It is something alot more spiritual than that. Find what you want your destiny to be, envision it, and start achieving it…one day at a time. Just another tidbit. When you look at a year ahead and think I can only lose 30 lbs a year! ugh that is too slow!! Just think would you rather look back on that year and not have lost any weight and felt like another year has been wasted living in self-torment and possibly neglect. Hope i haven’t said anything offensive and this is my first response to a blog EVER. So you definitely inspired me and I appreciate that from you!

  131. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman March 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Oh dear, dear Lori,

    I am so, so sorry about your loss. As a mother myself, I can’t even imagine the grief and heartache, and my heart goes out to you. I care about your suffering and sorrow.

    It sounds like you’re doing lots of wonderful things to care for yourself and give yourself support. Giving up sugar is a form of death, another loss. In my experience with grief, every new grief brings up all the others – it’s like a string of dominoes and they all get touched. So it makes sense to me that the grief of giving up sugar brings up the grief of losing your precious son, and the grief of the longstanding battle with cancer that precipitated his death.

    It sounds like you are moving through lots and lots of layers of grief. That has been my experience with grief, too. At times my grief has been so overpowering that I have felt ashamed, like I should just be over it already. Our culture is generally comfortable with only so much grief, and beyond that, there is an unwritten expectation that you should be free to move on.

    But what struck me when reading your note was that grief has its own timetable, and own intelligence. And yes, new losses, touch all the old ones. I’m guessing that is what you’re experiencing right now. Having to let go of sugar – a source of great comfort to you – probably feels very frightening, as if you are entering a huge void. You wonder – can I cope with the pain without it?

    I wish you could see yourself through my eyes, as I see you as having so much courage and being exactly where you need to be. I hope my words have softened any shame you feel about the depth or strength of your grief. I hope my words have offered clarity about what you may be feeling. If my words don’t ring true for you, ignore my words and trust your own experience, as I believe that is your greatest authority.

    I find that engaging with my feelings directly – talking to them as if I were talking to a beloved friend – helps me understand myself. With understanding, comes love – I appreciate why I’m doing something instead of bashing myself for doing something, like eating sugar, that doesn’t feel good to my body.

    This understanding (another way of describing this is giving all parts of us empathy and loving acceptance) is what allows me to gently shift my behavior, if that is something I desire to do. I also offer myself compassion because making that shift takes courage, time, and patience, and because grief is an uncomfortable emotion to feel, and one that most of us run from. No one wants to feel pain and it makes sense that we feel afraid of touching it. Healing – which means feeling all our feelings – is a messy process, not clean and linear – because it’s an emotional one. In other words, some days you feel really strong and saying no the sugar feels easy; at other times, you feel frustrated, incapable, angry, sad and more about saying no to the sugar, and it’s not as easy. I have learned that healing – and loving myself – means allowing for all of my selves, feelings and moods.

    On a hands on level, try getting quiet and asking the part of you that is eating the sugar, “Oh, sweetheart, what are you trying to tell me? Another practice that helps me is putting my hand on my heart and saying, “Sweetheart, I know this hurts and I love you and I care.

    I unpack these tools in greater detail in my workbook, Becoming Binge Free, which is the follow up to Overcoming Sugar Addiction. You can find it here:

    In love and care, Karly

  132. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman April 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Jennifer,

    First, I want to give you a big hug – it sounds like you’ve been through a lot already. I admire your courage and perserverance.

    You can change how you eat without making your family come on board. I eat differently than my kids and husband – they eat sugar – and have found a way to make it work. I share more about how I do this in my book, Overcoming Sugar Addiction –

    For now, I’d invite you to look at your decision to eat less sugar as something you’re doing for yourself and not anything that others feel forced into. When my energy is focused on me and my choices – and not on regulating my husband’s, parents, friends or family’s choices – I find a lot more acceptance and support for my decision.

    You bring up a good point – healthy eating can be expensive. Our family spends a ton of money on healthy, fresh food. At the same time, I don’t have an unlimited budget, either, and simply do the best I can. I make priorities and buy nonorganic when I have to. I use places like costco (that’s where I get all my organic chicken, for example), co-ops and farmers markets to make my food dollars go as far as I need to. I also do a lot of my own cooking.

    I hope that helps!
    Warmly, Karly

  133. Karen May 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    I suffer from a lot of the same symptoms you jab, suar ddituon an carvings, depression (for what I believe is not eating healthy) and I’ve tried weight watchers with little success. Ideas an article that made me question diet sodas. I discovered I was allergic to artificial sweeteners and this allergy actually made me crave sugar to the point where I was binging on most days. My suggestion is that you look into Juice Plus as the first step in retaining your body’s cravings. It’s a little costly but runs the same as a monthly WW membership. After starting juice plus and removing artificial sweetness you should see a major change in your desires. I’m on step 3 of my plan to better myself by looking into and trying recipes from the paleo diet. It’s taken me 2 months of religiously taking juice plus and avoiding artificial sweets and my body feels as though I’ve got more energy, a clearer mind at work and the ability to tackle those evenings I used to spend on he couch. This change has been slow (as it should be) but the affects are worth the Time and money. Any questions please email me! Khempel81 @

  134. Soriyah October 31, 2012 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Viktorija, It sounds like you are describing America! Where I live. Food is the culture, and sugar is in all of it, even sauces on meats, and in processed/boxed foods. I am new to these websites but not new to fighting sugar addiction. I hope you get the help you need. I hope I can offer you something, as terrible as it may sound: The food is designed with sugar and fats to addict us – that is how fast food and processed food works, so we come back always for more. So, everyone who eats it gets addicted and fat & unhealthy, to some extent, some people to a great extent, very big, diabetes, cancer, skin problems. The only way to fight it is to create your own personal culture of health food, and avoid the fast foods & junk foods completely. No matter what anyone tells you, or what any wrapper on a box tells you: If it contains sugar – cane, honey, malt sugar, fructose, they are all the same to the human body – it is addictive. Ketchup – is tomato jam, primarily sugar. Eating no sugar even fruit for 7-10 days kills the addiction, then you must replace it with healthy foods that you love, and sell your friends on what you eat!

  135. Soriyah October 31, 2012 at 1:43 am - Reply

    I have heard 2 opinions on Stevia. One is the facts that since it is all natural and zero calories, it can NOT give you cancer, like other fake sweeteners.
    2nd plus: unlike calorie laden sugars that make the brain happy (cane sugar types, fructose, honey, agave, corn syrup, malt syrups, all syrups) – Stevia has no calories and so, can’t satisfy the addiction – and so should help wean us from it.
    But the second opinion is that: I learned from experience that for some sugar addicts Stevia may be a problem too.
    Basically, if I was jonesing for sugar, then anything pastry-like, whether made with Stevia or a real sugar, would do. But with just Stevia in it – I would eat more of them, to get the hit.
    And there is a scientific suggestion out there that it is the TASTE of sweetness that causes a reaction in a part of the brain where caloric sugars cause an addictive high, satisfaction-reaction.
    Seems like testing on oneself is best. ANYTHING that you eat, on it’s own, then your body & brain respond with a small or raging hunger for more that has nothing to do with hunger = it causes addictive cravings. But until I went overboard with food in general, Stevia actually seemed to fill in just fine for sugar. Problem is – using it still left me returning to sweet things for a bit of comfort.

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