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Quiz: Are You a Sugar Addict?

Do you binge on sweets—only to crave them hours later?

Do you feel a little guilty after every Oreo—but keep gobbling them up anyway?

Do you eat pastries or other treats—even if you aren't actually hungry?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you could be hooked on sugar. And you'd hardly be alone. That's why I knew I had to write Zero Sugar Diet, my new book that's based on a simple and delicious 14-day plan to help flatten your belly and crush your sugar cravings. (The results are real, by the way: more than 700 test panelists—many of whom struggled with real sugar addictions—were able to loosen their dependence on added sugars and lose up to a pound a day.)

Fact is, the more sugar we eat, the more we reduce our brain's ability to produce oxytocin, the "feel-good" hormone that tells us when we're sated. Just like with any drug, we need more of it to feel "normal" again. So weaning yourself off of the 80-plus grams of added sugar you get each and every day is an important goal. And it's why I filled the book with 600+ brand-name foods free from added sugars—and included this revealing quiz. (Some of the answers will shock you.)

So take the following test to find out whether you are, in fact, a sugar junkie, and learn more about Zero Sugar Diet here to start losing weight and looking and feeling better than ever.


cookies pile

Do You Eat Sweets When You Crave Them, Not as a Result of Hunger?

In a 2015 study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers found "compulsive sugar consumption is mediated by a different neural circuit than physiological, healthy eating." In other words, you may plan out balanced, healthy meals throughout the week, but that won't stop you from digging into the pantry to find a box of cookies, because the brain system that makes conscious, healthy choices is entirely different from the one that sends you scampering into the Skittles.


little cups of m&m's

Do You Binge on Sugar, Experience Withdrawal, and Then Crave It?

Binging, withdrawal, and craving are the three stages of addiction, according to the American Psychiatric Association. It boils down to this: If you overeat sugar on more than a very occasional basis, or if you ever feel anxious when you can't get your hands on it, you may be struggling with addiction.


old fashioned

Have You Ever Been Treated For Drug or Alcohol Abuse?

People who develop dependencies on one type of drug are more susceptible to developing dependencies on other substances—for example, alcoholics are more at risk for becoming addicted to prescription pain medication than the general public. This is known as "cross-sensitization." And because sugar affects neural pathways in a similar way to drugs, those of us who have experienced immoderation in one thing can easily become overeaters of sweets. Animal studies have shown that sugar can be a gateway to alcohol abuse. It's also been shown to be cross-addictive with both amphetamines and cocaine.



Have You Ever "Purged" After a Sugar Binge?

Animal studies that monitor the way the brain reacts to sugar have found that a cycle of binging and purging causes the brain to react to sugar not like a food but rather like a drug. The brain doesn't get the signal that one has stopped eating; rather, it stays geared up for more sugar.


no to sugar

Do You Take Breaks From Sugar Without Eating Any Sweet Foods?

Cyclical binging and food deprivation may produce alterations in our brain's opioid receptors, causing us to need more of a substance to catch that buzz. That can trigger greater binging behavior.


Cookies n cream ice cream

Do You Drive Out of Your Way, or Get Out of Bed at Night, to Eat Sweets?

One of the hallmarks of addiction is what researchers call "an enhanced motivation to procure an abused substance." In other words, you'll take extra steps, even destructive ones, to get your mitts on what you crave. If you notice that you're doing things to procure sweets that you wouldn't do to get other forms of food, that's a sign of addiction.


blackberry wine chocolate cake

Do You Feel Guilty After Eating Sweets?

Can you think of a specific consequence that you've suffered but which has not deterred your sweet tooth? Doing something that you know is unhealthy for you, and repeating the behavior over and over again, is a signal that you're not in control, and could be addicted.


starbucks cupcake frappuccino

Is Eating Something Sugary a Planned Activity in Your Day?

Do you take sugary foods with you when you go For walks or car rides? People who are addicted to a substance will always have it on hand and will rarely venture to places where they can't get their hands on it. If you would never consider leaving the house without a treat, or going somewhere where eating wasn't a possibility, it may indicate an addiction.


kid hiding candy

Do You Eat Sweets Alone and Lie About or Hide Them?

Secrecy and solitude—the compulsion to consume a substance without anyone knowing about it—is a common hallmark of any addiction. So, too, is the common behavior of creating a "stash" of something so you always have it on hand.


soda pop cans

Have You Ever Tried and Failed to Limit the Amount of Sugar You Eat? Do You Have Trouble Waking Up in the Morning and Often Crash in the Afternoon?

Poor sleep, moodiness, poor focus, and fatigue are general symptoms of withdrawal; afternoon crashes are often a sign that you've had too much sugar earlier in the day.


different sugars

If you could not relate to these questions…
…you're not a sugar addict, just someone who has to do a bit better at watching what you eat. You might consider trying the Zero Sugar Diet to help you get on the right track to cutting back on, or eliminating, added sugars from your life.

If you answered "yes" to several of these questions…
…you're definitely eating too much sugar and, more important, you're eating it in a way that indicates you have a problem with it. If you notice cravings, fatigue, weight gain, or an inability to resist sweets even when you're trying to cut down, closely monitor both your physical and emotional state as you go through the fourteen-day sugar cleanse, and be aware of all of the positive changes along the way.

If you answered "yes" to nearly all of these questions…
…you have a full-blown love affair with sugar—and it's likely a pretty unhealthy one. You're probably already aware of the impact sugar is having on your life, and you've made some (less than successful) attempts at cutting back. Zero Sugar Diet can go a long way toward helping you break your addiction. Strive to replace your empty calories with essential ones and discover the 14-day plan to flatten your belly, crush cravings and stay lean for life with Zero Sugar Diet! It's easy—and works.

David Zinczenko
Dave is a globally recognized expert in health, fitness, nutrition, and weight loss and is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 25 books in 15 languages. Read more about David