Everything you want to know about sugar addiction

Are you stuck in a life circling around obsession with food, when and what to eat. Is yo-yo dieting a part of your lifestyle? Do you currently see weight loss as your main goal?

Let us help you raise your sight and solve the problem once and for all.

There are so many more tools to work with, than detailed food plans and diets where others tell what you can and should eat.

We understand that weight is important to you and that you are stuck with x kilos of excess weight that you want to get rid off. However, your toolbox needs to be updated and expanded in order to be able to raise your sight and work with this in a new way.

A way where you don’t have to yo-yo diet anymore.

Curious? Continue reading here

Do you suspect you’re addicted to sugar? Answer the following questions to find out if you are at risk of developing a sugar addiction. Answer yes if the claim applies to you. Sweets mean sweets, soft drinks, chocolate, bread, pasta, potatoes, cakes, pastries and other carbohydrate-rich products.


If you have answered yes to four or more questions, you have also received an indication of the test above that there is a high risk that you have a sugar addiction.

In order to manage an addiction, it is important to know if you are or not, because harmful use and addiction are handled in different ways.

You can book an investigation for Sugar Addiction with us, and you will find out how it is. It is an hour’s interview that is followed up by another hour of conversation after Frida, who is certified in the diagnostic tool SUGAR, compiles your answers. How to do this can be found under the Tab Mapping SUGAR

In the follow-up call as part of the SUGAR mapping, you will also get tips and advice on how to proceed.

Below you will find 5 common sugar-related behaviors in people with an addiction brain.

  1. You hide sweets
    You hide sweets from your family and prefer to eat when no one sees. You can turn it down in front of others, to plan what to eat once you’re alone.
  2. You lie – mainly to yourself
    You lie to yourself and to others about your sugar intake. The day might start with the plan not to eat sugar, but most of the time you fall there anyway, maybe without even noticing it yourself.
  3. You’ve lost control
    You feel like you’ve lost control. Even though you know you’d feel better without the sugar, you can’t help but buy the sweets home. You feel resigned to the sugar.
  4. The sugar takes time and energy
    You feel that the sugar has become a problem and the thoughts of when you will be allowed to eat sugar next time take too much energy.
  5. Your eating goes out on your social life
    You’d rather sit at home alone than hang out with your friends. Eating the candy with others often means feelings of shame, because you know you shouldn’t. You also choose friends according to what is offered on your dates.

Addiction generally sounds very harsh and shameful. At least most of our clients think so. Most people prefer to end up in the “group” for harmful use – simply because it doesn’t feel as bad.

For me (Frida), in order to evolve past my addiction,it has though been a prerequisite to label my behaviour around sugar properly. If I had continued in the belief that “it’s just a matter of getting my act together” or “I can stop whenever I want, just have to get better character” then I would most likely have eaten myself to death one day. It was only when I realised that I was addicted to sugar – and also on my way into alcoholism, that I was able to bring myself to do something about it. A harmful user can shape up and skip harmful eating habits, but for an addicted brain something else is needed.

I had to close the back door in order to open the front door to the life I actually want to live for real. It helped me tremendously realizing that I had an addiction to sugar.

I think we can eat for many different reasons, absolutely! But If you can identify to having an addiction, chance is that you are actually born with it, as it is largely hereditary. I remember my behaviour around sweets when I was a child, when I was looking for cookies in the freezer, making my own batter when no one saw and stole cough syrup from the neighbor’s fridge. I definitely have a reward sensitive brain. Let’s call it an addiction brain

What do you think, you got it too? A very good tool to get an answer to that is to do a SUGAR diagnostics, then you will find out. And if you know, there’s no going back. I becomes much easier to find the motivation to do something about it. That was at least crucial to me.

If you’re born with a special brain, is it reasonable to feel shame about that?

Well, actually, I don’t think so.

I think it is better to make the best of the situation, instead of wallowing in self-pity/victimhood and thinking that life is unfair. I’m sure the latter wont take you anywhere good.

Sometimes I can see the benefit of being sugar addicted. That means I can’t eat the kind of nonsense that doesn’t actually make anyone feel good and healthy. After all, a harmful user can eat rubbish for periods without losing control of it, but that does not mean that they feel very good or healthy. Now I know that if I don’t want to get the consequences of eating junk, I don’t have to, or I’ll lose my grip again. And I really don’t want to. Going back to the life I lived years ago really feels a bit like suicide.

So be proud of your brain and find your personla strenghts and edge (which of course is completely individual).

And if you’re starting to realize that you can’t handle it yourself, then give yourself the gift of asking for help, At least that was the best thing i ever did. Now I live the life I want and am proud of me and my brain.

Many people argue that food cannot create addiction – the argument is that food is one of our basic needs for survival and that we cannot live without – and we need it for nutrition – that is clear – but sugar is also one of the most nutrient-poor food substances there is. It provides fast energy but stresses our system if we get too much too fast.

Some also say that sugar is not addictive like alcohol and narcotics. One argument used is that you do not get withdrawal when you abstain – something clearly brought with alcohol and drug addiction once it gets to the point where it has created physical dependence.

Below you will find a list of withdrawal symptoms that can occur if you have been a high consumer of sugar and flour food substances for a long time – we have borrowed it from the foremost in sugar addiction in Sweden – Bitten Jonsson, who has more than 25 years of experience working with food-related addiction.

This isn’t fun reading – and of course not everyone gets everything, but can be useful to know so you understand why you feel shit when you give up.

Also know that the worst PHYSICAL withdrawal is over in about 3-4 days and that days 3-4 are typically the worst.

The hard part is not quitting – it’s not starting again, and here you understand why


Anxiety ( panic attacks )


Wakes up at night with craving, (sometimes also eating?)

Heart palpitations, rapid heart rhythm, tachycardia

Sweating Flushes, heat wave

Bleaching Cold, freezing,

cold sweat

Dilated pupils (mydriasis)

Numbness, tingling ( parasthaesia )

Strong hunger, cravings

Rumbling/gurgling sounds from the stomach

Nausea/vomiting/stomach discomfort


Fog brain, Inability to think clearly

Impaired judgment

Anxiety, dissatisfaction with life






Rage outbursts

Aggressiveness, anger

Personality changes

Delusions Paranoia

Coordination difficulties ( sometimes mistaken for intoxication)

Paralysis feeling

Weakness in the right or left side of the body

Ant crawls Coma


Dizziness Fainting attacks Blackouts

Staring glassy appearance

Double vision

Speech difficulties, slurred speech

Short rapid breathing. (Several of the above symptoms are reminiscent of intoxication of alcohol arising from poor energy supply to the brain) 



Muscle Weakness


Blurred Vision

This is also a reason that a lot of people say – I tried to remove xxx, but my body felt bad about it so I realized I probably needed it. A bit like saying that smoking is something we need because you feel shit about quitting it too….

Once you’ve made the decision – it’s also important to find the factors that actually motivate you (click on link for youtube clips) to stay away, which allows you to get through the withdrawal and out the other side as the first part of being free.

And if you feel that you need support and help along the way, you can always contact us for focused help activity or more structured help to manage addiction.

Here you can book a 30 minutes free call

That feeling of not being in control of your own actions, of feeling that another voice in your head is controlling and making you do things you KNOW you shouldn’t really do – That feeling is normality for a lot more people than you might want to think.

Some call it the tug-of-war between the devil and the angel on each shoulder, others call it the Red dog barking in your ear – or you might call it something completely different?

Either way, it’s hard to constantly have “someone” whispering sweet or punishing words in your ears.

Do you recognize one or more of the following?

  • Well done – of course it should be celebrated
  • The candy/cake/bun/chocolate (which one is the favorite) IS actually quality of life
  • Just one more, you’re worth it.
  • Of course I’m going to get one – everyone else can so why no i
  • It’s much easier to go shopping for the favourite 12 miles away than to get into the kitchen and cook dinner
  • What dy you mean by problem? – I can stop tomorrow – if I want to!
  • But I WANT to eat this.
  • Food addiction – noooo – I heard on TV that there is no such thing
  • Pity me – of course I’ll have my favourite for comfort
  • Let the hubbie go to bed now – and the cookie jar and i will binge in the couch to my favorite series
  • Start a fight, that’ll give an excuse to eat.
  • Booooored – check the pantry if there is something there to eat, at least i will be doing something

Hard to say no when these thoughts pop up in your head? Do you think it’s you or something else in charge? Red dog is amazing at normalizing extreme behaviors and making you believe and feel like it’s totally OK and something everyone else does too.

Red dog, or whatever you choose to call your little voice in your head, doesn’t care about anything but here and now. It tries to solve problems in the simplest and fastest way it knows – without awareness of possible consequences. It is not aware of the anxiety that often comes as a letter in the mailbox afterwards. And you can also eat on anxiety, right?

After all, eating has proven to be a good strategy for many years? a perfect way for pain relief, escape, reward, punishment, entertainment and comfort.

Then how do you neutralize your red dog and make it go to bed in the basket?

One think that is important – make sure it doesn’t feel threatened! Let me tell you the story of Eva as an example.

The story of Eva and Red dog

Eva lives single in the countryside with the company of her Red dog (lets call it rubella). They are close friends and rubella takes care of Eva so she does not feel alone. Deep down, Eva feels that something is chafing, but she can’t put her finger on it.

One evening, she’s surfing and reading about a retreat in Spain – Learn to live sugar-free. It looks exciting. Not that she needs to learn to live sugar-free of course, but Eva tells herself that it would be a week in Spain with nice socializing and good food, with lots of food inspiration. Rubella spins around himself and falls asleep in his basket – nothing is happening here right now. While the dog sleeps, Eva has time to book the trip and write it in the calendar. Rubella detects nothing alarming.

Then approaching the day of the course. Eva packs and rubella keeps company and runs around wagging his tail. Eva and the dog go to the airport and meet the other retreattravelers who depart from the same airport. It just so happens that the three retreat leaders, Frida, Charlotte and Kristove are waiting to board the same plane. On their clothes it says in print – LIVE SUGAR-FREE.

Rubella gets big eyes, starts to bellow and barks and pulls and toils in Eva. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!! Eva panics. The dog looks at her with big begging eyes – but Eva, that’s crazy…..we don’t want that.

Eva thinks for a moment to forgo the trip and return home, but manages to fight off both the anxiety and rubella for a little while and board the plane. Now she could hand over, at least for a week. There and then she entered the safe bubble that the retreat constitutes and let Frida, Charlotte and Kristove lead her and the other participants in safe forms for a week, to knowledge, insights, tools and strengthening in the desire to live free.

Rubella was with her on the trip, but Eva was given the tools to take a different approach to it during the week, and she also took both tools and dog home with her.

Eva continues to work with herself and her red dog in her very own work programme for a sustainable life. The journey was the starting point, and one that she would never have got to – had she not, completely unaware of her own thoughts, fooled her red dog that late night when she read about the retreat and booked it.

Eva’s fine today. She knows that the dog is strong and that she still needs to keep up “fences” around her for protection while she works with her inner emotions and programming. All the things that allow the dog to have the power to control her. But she knows it’s possible and she knows it’s not just her and Rubella – that WE’re also there to support her along the way.

Regain your power and reclaim your life

The negative impact that sugar has our health have not avoided anyone. This has led more people, for the sake of health, to try to make conscious choices in everyday life. Choices that involve removing as much sugar as each individual finds reasonable and are capable of.

However, this is not an easy job as the sugar is hidden in so much food today, which makes us sometimes think that we make better choices than we actually do.

Here we have the foundation for Leva Sockerfri, as a knowledge builder and help to make better choices in everyday life based on the individual’s circumstances and needs.

In our opinion, Living a sugar-free life is not about being Taliban and control freak (unless that’s what’s needed at first to cope with the first acute withdrawal). Instead, it is about making knowledgeable and motivated choices in everyday life that works for you as an individual. This is individual and the solution for me as an individual is most likely not the same as your solution.

Living sugar-free is therefore about an individual definition based on the active conscious choices in your everyday life that suits one person – namely YOU.

Let’s take a few examples:

Charlotte has IBS and has learned over the years that sugar and starch cause problems physically, with swollen stomach, stomach cramps and gases as a result. She avoids what causes problems to the extent possible and are OK with it. She can sometimes, in certain situations, choose “to take one for the team” and eat something she prefers to avoid, well aware of the consequences. She then takes the hit – for example, an evening with stomach pain, and then feels fine again the next day and can continue life as usual.

Frida has since 2014 known that she has a sugar addiction that has been going on all her life. She has learned the hard way that for her, there are no good exceptions. Everything has consequence as the cravings come as a consequence every time and affect her mentally with kidnapped brains for several days. If she is not aware of it, then it is easy to fall and let a small “slip” quickly escalate into unbridled eating.

Different foundations for us create different conditions for what works and what does not. The base and basic conditions are the same for both of us – we can’t tolerate sugar and starch, but have different consequences.

When food causes problems, food is also the solution. Learn recovery from food/sugar addiction and/or IBS

Do you strive for better choices in everyday life or do you want to live sugar-free because you see and feel that you have consequences?

First of all do you know and see your consequences?

How do you deal with your consequences today? Does it work?

For some, living sugar-free can mean ditching the obvious sugar by reducing sweets, ice cream and cakes and that may be enough to feel that increased weight or other ailments are disappearing. Here, initiatives like Sockerchecken in Sweden is fantastic for enlightenment and public health. If you recognize yourself here – Congratulations – you can call yourself a “normie”.

For others, more drastic measures are needed. This may, as example, be due to specific food hypersensitivity/intolerance, inflammation, diabetes or other health reasons. This can mean that you need to remove certain things from your diet which is potentially much more and other than the visible sugar. Here you need to lay your own puzzle, but a good start is always to try to remove sugar and starch and see what difference that makes.

Or it may be that different foods create uncontrollable cravings. A craving that causes you to stop acting consciously, and continue to eat past the point where you would really like to stop. This last often results in loss of control, increased weight that forces different dieting regimes. It can go as far as anorexia, binge eating or bulimia. Here you can start to think about whether you engage in harmful use by eating on emotions or if you actually have a reward-sensitive brain. More about how to distinguish between these can be read in UNCOPE above

Where you land in this also says something about how easy it is for you to follow common dietary recommendations.

The Swedish Food Agency assumes that everything will be fine if we just follow their recommendations, and many dietitians assume the same. That is, we get recommendations, lists of what to eat as part of a healthy diet. Perhaps even recommendations on what unnecessary nutrient-poor alternatives, given that we can eat in moderation, can be taken as extra luxury (some also call it quality of life – as if we live to eat and not the other way around). Then we are left to follow this – often without further help than follow-up by looking at the scale. Very rarely does anyone ask if we are actually able to stick to the recommendations and what we need to get there.

In the media, we can also read that the problem is not the wrong recommendations – that the problem is that we do not follow them.

If you are a “normie” as we described above, you may feel that you have no problem whatsoever with eating – that you can take a chocolate bar and forget that there is more in the cupboard? And then you may not find it difficult to follow the recommendations of the Swedish Food Agency and feel that you live a good and healthy life based on it without any major physical or psychological consequences.

A completely different game is when you automatically dive into the pantry (or pill jar, exercise, job….) when you experience situations or emotions that you find difficult to deal with. Or if you have a biochemistry that has given you a reward-hungry brain. Then lists and recommendations help very little – you eat anyway.

Often we get the label that we have no character. That we would feel good and lose weight, if only we did as the dietitian says. That there is nothing wrong with the dietitian’s advice – but that the problem is that you “choose” not to follow them. As if free choice still exist when the emotions or cravings take over…

For example, do you recognize yourself in one of the following? When you are on your own, you empty the candy bag or chip bag once you have opened it; That you eat just right among people but empty the ice cream package for yourself in the kitchen after guests go home, or that it is easier to dress the toddlers and drive 20 km to buy your favorite, instead of getting into the kictchen and cook a proper meal?

Depending on where you land here, different remedies may be needed, such as:

  • Eat consciously and remove triggers to avoid kidnapped brain and loss of control that causes all plans to crack – this is the solution for a food/sugar addict.
  • Eating consciously and actively working with emotion management in a different way than through eating – this is the solution for harmful users
  • Eat consciously and skip food that causes hypersensitivity/intolerance and possibly take one for the team when needed (unless fatal) – this is the solution for a normie that cannot tolerate certain foods where the body reacts physically.
  • Eat consciously everyday and “sin” on Fridays or Saturdays – which is often the solution for a healthy “normie”

Are you normie, have harmful use or do you possibly realize that you have a sugar/food addiction?

Where you land only you know but if you are hesitant, there are easy ways to investigate further.

For example, try 6 simple questions UNCOPE, or book an appointment with Frida to do a SUGAR diagnostics. By getting confirmation of how you stand, it’s so much easier to determine what living sugar-free basically means to you.

A trigger free diet is the base for everything else, and as provocative it may seem – it accounts for approximately 10% of the entire solutionspace. There are so many more tools than food restrictions, which altogehter can help you to regain your power and reclaim your life.

Your free copy of the workbook for a healthy life is one of the means to realize which solutions are relevant for you – and to start DOING.

The important thing in life is not what you have on your plate – It is about what you make of your life between the meals – how you feel, think and act.

Recovery is not a straight path forward and you will feel both ups and downs.

sugar/food addiction is a complicated addiction as the drug is socially accepted and is available everywhere and always. This also means that the relapse rate unfortunately is quite high. You will have the surroundings against you, unless you make sure to have a number of basic recilience factors in place to support you in your recovery.

You can map this yourself in the survey below 🙂

If you want to read more about the different health factors, follow the link here.

If the answer to the questions above indicates that you have addiction problems, a first step may be advisory talk or SUGAR diagnostics in conversation with Frida Sandin, a HAM therapist trained by Bitten Jonsson and who herself has been living sober in her sugar addiction since 2014.

Click on the image for more about Frida Sandin and the team at Leva Sugar Free

A first FREE advisory call

I’ll talk to you by phone for 30 minutes. You tell us what your relationship with sugar looks like and get advice based on your story.

From all you have read above – Do You think you have a reward sensitive brain- aka an addiction brain? It is a great advantage to know if you have an addiction or a harmful use of sugar, because these are different treatment methods. To find out about this with our clients, Frida is trained in SUGAR Diagnostics.

SUGAR stands for Sugar Use General Assessment Recording and is an interview that makes it possible to assess your relationship with sugar. The instrument is based on the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10).

The interview consists of about 70 questions that help mapping out what negative consequences you get from your eating and what give you loss of control.

We “meet” twice over Zoom, a simple tool that everyone can use via computer or phone. First for the interview itself and then to review the results. You get recommendations on how to move forward in life based on the result and your own story.

If you feel that your partner needs to understand your situation, include this when we talk the second time.

The mapping takes a total of 3 hours, cost right now 1250 SEK (ordinary price 2995 SEK)

Do you recognize yourself? Read more about the different paths to freedom that we offer or contact us in the form below.

    Here you will find a collection of blog posts we have written and information about literature, films and other small things that exist about sugar addiction. But first you get a little introduction to Frida which is the central point for us at Leva Sockerfri when it comes to first hand experience with sugar addiction

    Here we list books that we have fallen over and found good from some aspect about knowledge building around sugar and addiction. This list is by no means complete but can give you an idea of where to start reading.


    • Sockerbomben i din hjärna (Bitten Jonsson)
    • Lär dig leva sockerfri – Self-Help Book on Sugar Addiction (Leva Sockerfri)
    • Leva Nykter (AA book)
    • Vid sunda vätskor (Terence Gorski)
    • Rötter och Vingar (Göran Larsson)
    • Skamfilad (Göran Larsson)
    • Ett sötare blod (Ann Fernholm)
    • Det sötaste vi har (Ann Fernholm)


    • How to quit without feeling sick ( Patrick Holford)
    • The edge effect ( Eric Braverman)
    • Food Junkies (Vera Tarman)
    • Fat Chance (Robert Lustig)
    • A fork in the road (Jennifer Unwin)
    • Beyond the emptiness (Rouba Chalabi)

    Other languages

    • Frisk uten sukker (Bente Josefsen, Norwegian)
    Shopping Cart