by Jacqueline McFadden, born in Scotland, living in Holland
I didn’t even know I had a sugar addiction until I tried to eliminate sugar from my diet two years ago, due to health reasons, and found I couldn’t manage it. That white, soft ‘harmless’ stuff that is found in almost everything took me on quite a trip – it was the artificial sweetener of my life and I was dependent on it.
I work in a nursery. Every other day there is a birthday, so the mums bring in cake for all the children and for the teachers. Then, with family, more occasions to celebrate with more cake: birthdays / anniversaries / weddings funerals etc., and in between we don’t need a special occasion for a sweet treat because sugar is everywhere, in so many things.
I go to the supermarket – tons more sugar waiting there in everything from curry paste to tinned vegetables, along with the obvious sweet food products: we have become so hooked on sugar, it’s the ‘hidden drug’, an addiction we use to get through the day, take the edge off life – to sweeten things up.
SUGAR: MY SWEET REWARD
For instance, I used sugar as a treat and a way to reward myself – it became my ‘feel-good crutch’ to lift me and make me feel better; but sugar only gives a temporary boost, which would explain why I kept needing another ‘hit’, keeping me in a cycle of addiction. Oh yes, the sweetness of sugar I used to sweeten my life to take away the unpleasant taste life had for me.
In this sugar addiction of mine, life was one ‘big rush’. I was rushing around all the time, doing everything in a hurry – in a sugar ‘rush’: no time to stop, no time to eat, so I always ate quickly (which is a nice way to put it – I chucked my food down, like my body was a dustbin). Did I really taste anything? Of course not, that’s why I was always left feeling unsatisfied, un-nourished, and why I always had a need for a sugar top-up after meals. I was exposed to sugar at home and at school / work, and I gave it to my children, creating the next generation of addicts. We get hooked at an early age, so by the time we are adults we are well and truly ‘sugar junkies’.
It made it easier to crack my sugar addiction when I discovered the unconscious association I made with sugar a long time ago: I used sugar as an ‘artificial sweetener’ in my life, a substitute or a replacement for something I had been missing – my own inner sweetness; the beauty, playfulness and divinity I felt in me naturally as a small child, but had lost. When you lose something, if you can’t find the original you take a substitute – and sugar was mine.
Eating and overeating sugar in the form of cake, biscuits, ice-cream, chocolate, bread, dairy and creamy warm, comfort foods, was a way to not feel the pain of missing the connection I once had to myself, my true self. Every day I missed it, thus the need for a daily ‘sugar hit’ to fill the emptiness I felt.
CONNECTION TO MYSELF
It gets worse. Having lost the connection to myself, my natural sweetness and stillness was replaced with hardness in my body, and a ‘fastness’: a need to get as many things as possible done in my busy day (the sugar rush), no matter the quality they got done in, as long as they got done.
I was in such disharmony and the harm / stress I was doing to my body was obvious in my monthly cycle. Every month my body felt broken, so I had to stop and take lots of rest to allow my body to clear the disharmony that I had accumulated every month. I would crave chocolate at this time, so I fed my body chocolate and comfort food and after my draining, uncomfortable period was over I would continue as ‘normal’ in the fast lane. This was my habit and the cycle of addiction I was in, numbing my way through life.
Deep down I knew it was all wrong for me but as much as I tried I just could not escape or change my life because the patterns / behaviours and emotions were so ingrained, they had been playing me for years and seemed to work… that is until I got a huge wake-up call from my body in the form of breast cancer. This created the opening I needed to break the numbing cycle that I was in.
Sugar is still tempting but I no longer consider myself a sugar addict: the more I honour myself and my body, reconnecting to the sweetness within – the most satisfying sweetness of all – my craving for sugar gets less and less. In total it took two years for the cravings to stop.
To help me reconnect to myself, I did the five minute gentle breath meditation every day, as presented by Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine. I am deeply inspired by his presentations to live in a way that supports me in creating a more harmonious life.
For example, I now go to bed early to give my body quality rest, I am up early and have plenty of time for me every morning. I eat food that nourishes my body, including meat. I eat slowly – tasting and enjoying every bite which means I do not overeat. No more rushing and no more comfort foods of sugar, dairy, wheat or coffee.
After two years of making self loving choices my body now feels nourished and truly nurtured so there is a contentment and no longer a need to numb myself. That is, there is no longer an addiction to feed with sugar and its ‘artificial sweetness’. Now my body is smiling without it… smiling from inside with my own ‘true sweetness’.
331 thoughts on “Sugar: The Artificial Sweetener… and My Addiction”
This is a great blog for everyone to read because for many of us we do not consider sugar to be a drug of choice as a reward or as you say Jacqueline. ‘I used sugar as an ‘artificial sweetener’ in my life, a substitute or a replacement for something I had been missing – my own inner sweetness; the beauty, playfulness and divinity I felt in me naturally as a small child, but had lost. When you lose something, if you can’t find the original you take a substitute – and sugar was mine’.
Jacqueline I can relate to this blog as sugar is more addictive than I realised. To this day sugar has an entry point in my life. For me it’s in the Indian tea which is often laced with sweetness. As much as I don’t feel it’s because I’m exhausted like I used to be, it is more that I miss that sweetness within me and I too use it as a reward, an inheritance from the family.
I know that just giving it up isn’t the answer and as you so correctly stated, ‘the more I honour myself and my body, reconnecting to the sweetness within – the most satisfying sweetness of all – my craving for sugar gets less and less’. Because in that way the sugar cannot return to pollute our bodies and keep us in that cycle any more.
If we are not feeling great, then something like sugar that will give us a buzz will distract us from the not feeling great and it is like we get a feeling of relief which we can then say feels pleasant – at least compared to the not feeling great feeling. You get used to this and continue with the process.
But consider the opposite scenario – you are feeling amazing, light, settled. You have some sugar and can immediately register an unpleasant buzz, a feeling of loud noise or white noise like a radio being poorly tuned. It is loud and invasive – it feels terrible. You hate the feeling and you can’t wait for it to go away so that you can return to your natural sense of settlement it takes 24-48 hours to clear from your body and finally goes. Phew.
This is a concern and we offer this to children from a very young age, so their choice is taken away from them. It kind of feels that we need to introduce this into your body as it was introduced into ours. And we won’t be able to handle the true sweetness that you will reflect to us and bring to our awareness how far we have strayed too…So let’s pollute this and the supplier will continue to supply as long as the demand is still there. Until we say enough is enough…
Henrietta what if we use sugar to stop ourselves from feeling amazing, light and settled? Is it possible that we actually sabotage those feelings because we feel we are not worth feeling amazing because the feeling is so far removed from our everyday experience of feeling down.
Amazing sharing Jacqueline, and one that so many of us can relate to – sugar is an addiction that is rampant in our society and it really is one that is hard to realise or admit that one has! Sugar is in everything and our taste buds are used to it so that we don’t even notice its presence – we even have receptors in our brain that register sugar and relay messages of dependency so we need our constant supply, and should we try to reduce it then lo and behold we get to feel the consequences of headaches and grumpiness etc all akin to drug withdrawal. Sugar is our number 1 drug in society but is deemed as harmless…
There is the saying that says that when our life is not sweet enough we seek the sweetness from sugar. But this is actually very telling and should be the first sign or symptom that something is not right. Why is life as life itself not sweet enough? And why is it that we need and seek an external source of ‘sweetness’ which in fact only excites us rather than supports us with a deeper connection in life?
Sugar has a very addictive nature, eat some and a bit later you will want some more, and some more, and so it goes on.
What can I say I also was a sugar-aholic and still do love the taste of sweet things but what I hate is the energy that kept me on the fast track and aligned to the eating of anything that was sweet so “the cycle of addiction I was in, numbing my way through life,” could continue until I became aware of the numb-ness! Then once aware the Love of our most divine stillness, that of our Soul-full-essence becomes a Truth that is felt and lived for its unification of us all and no longer do we feel the need to be on the sugary fast track, which actually slows our evolution. Thank you Jacqueline, finding how indulgent my sweet tooth is has been a revelation to keeping the connection to my essence and thus now most fruits and all other sweeteners have also been felt to bring a racy-ness and disconnection, so they all have been eliminated from my health life style diet.
Where I live, sweets are in huge demand. It’s like the entire nation has come to an agreement that life is a misery and we are entitled to as much sweets as we can eat.
Absolutely Fumiyo, one glance at a shopping trolley will tell you how much people enjoy deserts and other sweet so called treats. As I also used to live this life style so I can-not judge or condemn for it is up to us all to find what works for us in our dietary consideration.
So is it possible Fumiyo that on some level we do know there is more to life and that it should not be a misery to live life, because if we didn’t know there was indeed more to life we wouldn’t be using sugar as a substitute to fill the gap of what we are missing.
Sugar’s ferociously addictive nature is the ultimate artificial substance keeping us in disconnect as we race around on the highs and lows it gives us and in a state of oblivion to the naturally, sweetly divine connection that is there waiting for us to return to.
I travel to America a lot for work, I found the amount of sugar they add to everything quite astounding, I once was looking at chicken to buy and when I turned it over to read the ingredients sugar was the first one!
Could I be Play-full Anna, and Suggest that the sugar lobby has its finger in ever pie?
It is atrocious that even simple chicken has now started to be adulterated with sugar. I know many savoury meals have sugar in their list of ingredients, it is appalling that sugar is now added to just about everything.
Sugar is in everything and anything, even as an artificial sweetener in toothpaste; additionally and just as stealthily, some vegetables have also been bred to taste sweeter than they used to, as is the case with carrots and pumpkins. The whole world is in the grips of addiction to sugar.
Wow Elizabeth, I had no idea about the sugar being added to the soil to sweeten up carrots growing! It’s true though that the less you have of sugar, the more your taste buds return to being more sensitive and you can taste even the slightest bit that is there.
What I love is that we don’t actually have to conquer our addictions, we simply need to raise the standards in our life when it comes to how we care, love and nurture ourselves and addictions naturally fall away.
I love how the Ancient Wisdom as presented by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine exposes the blind belief that addictions have to be fought and conquered. The fighting and conquering mentality keeps us tangled up in a war that rages continuously whereas as you say, Meg, raising ‘the standards in our life when it comes to how we care, love and nurture ourselves…’ allows for addictions to naturally fall away bringing us and our bodies to a graceful way of being in balance and harmony.
Meg what you have written makes sense, is it possible that society is demanding sugar and so the food industry is giving us what we demand. It has become so obvious that the more we take care and nurture ourselves the need for sugar or any other false stimulant naturally falls away.
Sugar is perfect to disconnect from a life you have not truly connected to.
Often we need that opening to look at things we need to address and know we need to address, and how amazing that you were able to seeing your breast cancer diagnosis in this way, this is a very different way to approach it, to understand that it’s a wake up call in how we’ve been living and to look at what needs to change.
Sugar is a very poor substitute from the sweetness we are but when we have forgotten that or pushed it away there is so much out there that is available to use instead.
Love this Aimee. We have a natural sweetness that is a constant – no dips and highs. It is this quality we need to connect to within ourselves.
Love the play on words here, that points to a deeper malaise… we have a natural sweetness which is 100% enough to satisfy us if we are willing to.
I was talking with someone yesterday and they mentioned that they were doing great then had a bit of sugar and before they knew it they were eating tonnes of it and completely lost focus. It is one of the scary things with sugar as whilst it can satisfy you in the moment it calls you back for more. You say yes to it once and so it can call you back for more. The problem I find is the way I feel after sugar and how it disconnected me not only from myself but also from others and I find it much harder to concentrate – so it really is all or nothing there is no inbetween and no fence sitting!
Spot on James, take a small bite of cake or biscuit and it calls you back for more and more, and before you know it, we are back on the sugar trail and craving… There have been so many times I have been tempted to eat refined sugar, especially when I am working a backshift and am feeling quite tired, I have been really tempted to have some sugar as a boost, but every time I have walked away and not succumbed as the momentum of not eating sugar for 7 years holds me, and brings me back to my senses as I find my body walking away from temptation, but sugar does still try to seduce me when I am tired!
And that is the key the temptations will always be there but the question is how willing are we to see them and what is ahppening for what it is and not let ourselves fall further away. We are not perfect nor ever will be and the mroe we accept this the less we will feel the need to turn to sugar and other things to numb and suppress what we are feeling.
This is the very nature of addiction. Anything that calls us back for more and more is an addiction. We turn to substances and distractions to fill the void we feel inside and end up with a plethora of addictions, comfort blankets, that disconnect us from our true essence and dull our natural aliveness.
It is Kehinde but then we have to look at what is underneath it and what are getting from it? For me it usually means I am not wanting to feel something and I have allowed things to get too intense. Yet the moment I stop and reconnect I get to see things clearly and so the intensity lessens with the clarity I get by observing what is going on rather than being caught up in it.
Hands up James the same has happened to me. Enticed to buy a ‘gluten, sugar, dairy free’ dessert with chocolate, I was back on the slippery slope. Each time I went into the restaurant, I had to have this dessert to finish the meal. I once went in to buy it take out too. it became a reward, a comfort blanket. Like taking one cigarette after giving up for years, I was hooked. Took months to re-claim myself from feeling the need to have any dessert after a meal. Great learning.
It is a great learning and can be so very subtle, it only takes one little thing to then want more. It is like saying yes to something and only wanting a bit of it, you always get the whole and cannot simply turn a blind eye to something you do not like. It really is the case of all or nothing.
You are describing the addictive nature of sugar and how it demands to be fed … by more sugar. What a perfect marketing ploy!
It is one of the best, not so secret, marketing ploys around – legal yet super controlling at the same time. It is staggering when you look into it quite how much manufacturers manipulate food with sugar and other flavours to entice us to come back for more.
Sugar is something that I find I do not want yet when I get a bit run down I start wanting it and then if I have some suddenly find myself craving more and more, getting all foggy and blurred in the head and not being able to stop this incessant need I have for it. It really is like a drug calling you back for more. The choice I now get when I feel tired and wanting something to pick me up is what am I really choosing and wanting to stop feeling the exhaustion momentarily knowing that I will have to then face the further exhaustion or actually wanting to see the choices I have been making that led me to where I am and so not actually choose the sugar but rather choose to connect back to me. In the moment it can seem challenging but as soon as I say Yes to love I feel really energised and craving goes.
It truly is a simple choice of allowing the body to voice its fatigue and then also addressing the real underlying cause rather than reaching for a quick fix it through sugar.
I used to eat lots of sweet things and yet if anyone called me sweet I would cringe. Now I really appreciate my own sweetness and that of others and no longer have the need to feed myself sweets and very sugary things like I used to. I can taste the sweetness in food like broccoli for example where before I felt none. When we stop bombarding our taste buds with refined foods we get to detect the natural and more subtle flavours in what we might otherwise deem quite boring things..
Sugar addiction is rampant, but not understood because it is so prolific in our foods. Today we have the opportunity to make changes that slowly eliminate sugar, and thus offer insights into the impacts it actually has on the body.
And how much more honouring of others when we are fully present and honouring of ourselves.
Seeking a reward, regardless of what kind, is indicating that we are feeling that there is something missing in our lives.
This is true Elizabeth, ‘Seeking a reward, regardless of what kind, is indicating that we are feeling that there is something missing in our lives’. Which brings it back to the importance of staying connected with our bodies and asking ourselves why we are seeking this ‘reward’?
It is fascinating how so easily thoughts can come in when I am in a supermarket of what about this food or that and my mind can wonder. And then I catch myself and go why would I want that? And how I know if I let the thoughts run wild in my head then I might as well be eating it, as I get the taste and everything! I was having a discussion earlier about how supermarkets pump fresh bakery smells into the air especially by the front doors to entice and tantalise you which shows how much we are being manipulated. And so how present we need to be with ourselves so as not to get drawn into the temptations on offer.
I’ve come to understand how I am very good at the doing and not so good at the consolidating and appreciating – and this very obvious links to my sweet tooth – wanting things that are sweet because they make me racy – which just feeds the cycle of more doing. A huge stop moment for me to consider the way I live is set up perfectly to feed this – so reading this sharing is a great reflection of the trap we can fall into.
Sugar does have that wonderful configuration of pepping me up so I can just squeeze one more thing in, but does not whisper in my ear the crash that awaits unless I keep up my intake. Like any drug it lures us with an effect but does not inform of the consequences.
I agree Doug, I travel to the USA frequently where they add sugar to everything, it was quite an eye opener trying to source meat or food that didn’t include sugar.
Most of the world’s population is addicted to sugar; it is a major contributing factor in illness and disease, especially in type 2 diabetes that is continually on the rise. How many more people have to die or have a serious illness before people wake up to the many harms and dangers of ingesting this known poison, which is considered more addictive than cocaine.
Amazing to feel your commitment to honesty for you to arrive at the realization that sugar is an artificial sweetener in your life, Jacqueline. When we are enmeshed in that reward mentality, it is unthinkable to give up the ‘sweets’ in life, be it sugar or any other kinds that we give ourselves.
I find it amazing quite how addictive sugar can be. If I do not have it I do not want it yet if I have some then suddenly I get major cravings for more and find it very hard not to have more. It is like one of the most addictive ‘legal’ drugs we have and is readily available to all.
We are all too used to sweetening life with sugar to elevate us to not only change the flavour of our daily life but avoid the taste of our reality.
Sugar is not just the artificial sweetener of life, it is also the guarantee that we will not feel its true taste.
Very true Eduardo it is like the saying goes about sugar coating life but this is not reality, and keeps me away from connecting deeply with myself and thus in turn keeps me away from deeply connecting with others. We then miss this true connection and so seek the sugar and sweetness to fill our lives, which is a vicious cycle.