Skip Nav
Weight gain
5 Ways to Tone Your Tummy
10 Tabata Workouts That Will Help You Burn Some Serious Calories
Fitness Gear
Workout Clothes to Show Off Your Love of Wine

Are You Addicted to Refined Carbs?

New research out of New Zealand found that refined carbs, essentially white flour and white sugar, are as addictive as cigarettes. They found that heavily processed foods with a high amount of refined carbohydrates, like sugary cereals and sweet baked goods, quickly raise the amount of sugar in the blood, and that this "sugar rush" activates the same areas of the brain stimulated by nicotine and other addictive drugs. Like other addictions, the refined carbs loses its effectiveness in creating the desired rush forcing folks to eat more refined carbs to capture the high. They eat more sweets despite the negative consequences, a defining element of addiction. These findings support the research out of Princeton that sugar has addictive qualities. That Cinnabon might not be as innocent as it seems.

I have been avoiding refined carbs for a long time now. Sticking with whole grains and keeping refined sugar in check leaves me feeling more even emotionally. But what about you . . .


Join The Conversation
Linds1411 Linds1411 5 years
I do think it's all addictive...I tried doing a diet where you cut out ALL refined carbs/sugars. I have to admit...I am weak. I caved in like 2 days. But I had such a horrible headache I could barely function, felt weak and sick, and just overall very bad. I think I need to slowly cut back so I don't go through that again. And as soon as I ate those refined carbs/ headache went away right away!
Choco-cat Choco-cat 8 years
i do believe sugar is addictive and i come from an family of (recovered) addicts of various things - so it is no surprise to me i'm addicted to it...and i certainly could have worse addictions!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i actually try to stay away from that stuff when i can - it's addicting when you don't let yourself have any and then you have a little taste makes you start fiending for it.
almostloli almostloli 8 years
first of all i'm an emotional eater second.. refined carbs.. almost all of them.. TASTE HEAVENLY. to be honest, okay tuna sandwich with whole grained bread also tastes good. but if i ignore the calories and the health facts and everything else, i'd go for that chinese pork-floss bun lastly.. i have my weight-scale point kind of thing if i weigh myself and i see.. hmm.. i've lost a pound, i'd eat more whatever i want to eat (most of them are unhealthy ones, including the great-tasting refined carbs!)
mem952 mem952 8 years
i think maybe i am but it's more of a convenience thing at 3.30pm when i get tired at work. this week i've gone 'cold turkey' on chocolate/cake/cookies so i've got little tupperware boxes of steamed edamame beans and vegetables this week. i think they should distract me from the kitkats!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
No, I stay away from refined carbs. My carbs are from whole grains. The only time I have some refined carbs are during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. This is only because I dine with family, and I want to try the dishes that my family members made from scratch. I'm just trying to be polite.
usinda usinda 8 years
nope, i've long since given up sweets and refined carbs. i loove whole grains though and i will never give up carbs because you NEED them!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I don't like carbs and starchy stuff in general, so I guess I should consider myself lucky.
Kat-E Kat-E 8 years
I believe it. I want sugar allll the time, especially when I'm tired or need a lift. Sweets/breads are the first things I'm drawn to.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Yes, but most people have the biological mechanism for becoming addicted to sugar/ refined carbs. You can break the addiction with a new diet.
misskacie misskacie 8 years
I do think they're addictive. I don't think they're ever good for anyone. Having said that, I'm not addicted to them-- I can go without for a long time-- but I really, really, really enjoy them!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm not addicted to refined carbs. For the most part, I don't eat them...I'm more of a whole-grain/fruit and veggie person. But I do like candy or chocolate a few times a week. I could probably give them up entirely if I wanted, but I like eating them in moderation, so I won't go "cold-turkey".
jessr1214 jessr1214 8 years
i'm not now but have been in the past. right now i'm not eating sugar or wheat but i have noticed that if i start to indulge myself a little bit with really processed sugary foods i just start to want them alll the time, and when that's what i'm craving i get really cranky if i dont have it. thankfully it only took a couple days not eating it at all to break it.
iamangiepooh iamangiepooh 8 years
I think I was and have the ability to be. I try to stay away from sugary stuff, but I have a weakness for sweets. I used to put sugar in my coffee (a heaping spoonful + creamer), but now I only use my Silk soy creamer. It's only been two days since I've started that, but I like actually tasting the coffee now, not the sweetness from the sugar. I love whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and all that. I could live without refined carbs. I'm also trying to stay away from fake sugar like Splenda, but we'll see how it goes!
Frenched Frenched 8 years
I try to limit my sugar intake but I do know the feeling of being addicted to sugar! It's so horrible! You keep downing cookies trying to get "satisfied" but you never do feel satisfied. It's so easy for me to eat too much sugar so I try to avoid it as much as possible or I try to substitute the craving for something more sensible.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 8 years
I'll eat patries from time to time but I don't have to have them. Most cases when I bake I use whole wheat flower so I try to make it healthier. Now I must have my cereal M-F but only because I don't have time for anything else. I usually wake up late and run out the door.
gabiushka gabiushka 8 years
I don't mean to be a pain in the butt, but I think that poll could have been composed in a better way.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I can honestly say I know I am not! I just started doing South Beach again and I'm not really craving bread or sweets. (By the way I started a group for SBD if anyone's interested!)
soapbox soapbox 8 years
I know I'm addicted to sugar, even though sugary products make me sick. Uggh, I'm still feeling that Nutrigrain bar from lunch :(
jdeprima jdeprima 8 years
Too much sugar gives me a headache, so I really don't tend to overdo that. Fat/salt, on the other hand, throws my self-control right out the window. One bite of a delicious, creamy cheese is enough to make me face-plant in the whole wedge.
Renee3327 Renee3327 8 years
I like to have cookies or cake from time to time but I don't feel like I'm addicted, I don't even really crave it. The only time I ever eat refined bread/pasta/rice is when I'm out to dinner. If I'm cooking myself I prefer the whole wheat versions.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
Only sweet stuff, but I wouldn't say addicted. I just like to have baked goods sometimes, but not too often. But when it comes to white bread, pasta and rice I'm fine living without. I definitely prefer whole wheat versions and brown rice.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
No. They make me feel ill. Which is why I cook 99% of my own meals and bake my own stuff the majority of the time. When I don't I don't just read the label on products I cross-examine it.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Nah but when I'm PMSing I surely am. ;)
What to Eat For Extra Exercise
Are Whole Grains Good For You?
Worst Weight-Loss Mistake
Hottest Photos of Chef Franco Noriega Poll
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds