Many Christians want to know: ”Is sugar addiction a sin?”
Having suffered from sugar addiction for over 20 years before the Lord set me free, let me share some insights from Biblical truths and my own experience.
The Definition of Addiction
Concerning the ”Is sugar addiction a sin?” question, the first thing to consider is: ”What is the definition of addiction?”
The definition of addiction is to have dependency upon a particular substance, to the point that you’ll have adverse effects when you remove it from your life.
So you depend upon that substance to get you through life.
In reviewing this definition, I also considered the definition of idolatry, as author and pastor Tim Keller defined it:
“What is an idol? It is anything that is more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”
– Timothy Keller, author and pastor
In light of this, ask yourself a key question:
Is practicing this addiction more important to me than my relationship with God?
That’s a serious question.
For many years, I would have to admit that practicing sugar addiction was more important to me than my relationship with God.
The reason was that I had an ‘arms-length,’ shallow relationship with Him in the first years of our relationship after I said the prayer of salvation.
But back in 2001 at a Christian women’s conference, God revealed His love to me in a unique way. And once I experienced God’s love, then I had a desire to know God’s word.
I wanted to know what God, as I came to know Him as my loving Father, had in mind for me!
As I started studying out His word, I discovered James 4:17:
therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him is sin.”
– James 4:17
Pause and think about that.
Because I was convicted in how I was using sugar and knew it was not good, to me it was sin.
Now, I became dependent upon sugar as a little child. I was a child of a single mother, and before she went to work to leave me with the babysitter, she would leave me with money to go get candy from the corner store.
I came to associate the fact that sugar soothed the loneliness I felt when my mom wasn’t there. It made me feel better.
That association became programmed into my brain as a little child and I did not know any better. I did not become convicted that my use of sugar was not good until I became much older.
But once God convicted me that I was using sugar as a substitute for Him, then to me it did become sin.
Once God convicted me of that, then I had a responsibility about whether I was going to follow God in this matter or not.
That is the real issue.
Are you Addicted?
I want to ask you some questions to consider in your use of sugar:
- Do you use sugar as a means to soothe emotions that you don’t want to feel?
- Do you feel guilty about your use of sugar/the amount you eat?
- Have you ever tried to hide the amount of sugar you are eating from other people?
- Have you ever kept a secret stash of sugar items as a ”treat” for yourself?
Those are hallmarks of the practice of addiction. When sugar is a stronghold in your life, it is sin.
I read a quote from Christian author Beth Moore many years ago who said:
The strength of sin is secrecy. “
– Beth Moore
You Can Overcome Addiction with God’s Help
The good news in all of this is, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then He also shows you the way out of sugar addiction.
Consider Romans 6:14:
for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.
– Romans 6:14
It’s the difference between conviction and condemnation.
Condemnation says you’re that bad and you’re not going to get any better. Condemnation comes from the enemy to keep you in bondage.
The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy you (see John 10:10). He wants you to feel hopeless, like you’ll never change.
One of the most powerful illustrations of addiction in action is from the show, ”So you Think you Can Dance?” many years ago.
It illustrates the Spiritual reality of addiction. It will chill you:
Every time I watch this, it touches me and makes me want to cry.
I command the spirit of addiction in your life to GO in the name of Jesus and that you be healed for His glory!
Love motivates God’s conviction. Conviction is correction, a desire is to show you a better way to live.
Romans 12:2 is proof you can change and was such a hopeful scripture for me in overcoming sugar addiction:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
– Romans 12:2
While Romans 12:2 is proof that you can change, Romans 6:14 mentioned earlier tells you the power by which you change.
You change through the power imparted to you by God’s grace, the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Qnce you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Holy Spirit came to live on the inside of you. One of the names for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace!
God gives you power to overcome sugar addiction, but it requires being willing to walk out your recovery with him step-by-step and day-by-day.
As a Christian, the very basis of our faith is knowing about the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us on the cross.
Jesus is the author and He is the finisher of our faith.
Once you’ve decided that you do want the spirit of addiction out of your life and regain a right relationship with food, then pray to the Lord for His guidance:
Lord, I am so thankful that by your Spirit I am free from sugar addiction. Show me what is the next right step for me to take so that it’s not convenient for me to practice this. Show me any people around me that may be influencing me to practice sugar addiction. Show me the things that I’ve been keeping in my environment that’s made it easy for me to practice sugar addiction. And above all, show me the destructive thought patterns that I’ve had that have convinced me that it’s okay to continue to practice sugar addiction. “
In overcoming sugar addiction, you will need to examine what’s in you (your thoughts and beliefs that justify the practice of sugar addiction), who’s around you (social influences), and what’s around you (what foods you keep in your environment).
All of these things must work together in order for you to sustain change.
The Holy Spirit will give you the strength to walk out what the Lord tells you to do.
Am I saying that it’s always going to be easy? No, not at all.
Overcoming sugar addiction was not easy for me either. There were days when I had headaches and low energy when I stopped abusing sugar.
But you know what? One of the things that convinced me that I was doing the right thing was, if this substance is making me feel this bad from removing it, then it was bad from the very beginning!
I wrote an article called ”Your Sugar or Your Brain” about how there are actual physical changes made in your brain when you practice sugar addiction that are very similar to the same patterns in practicing drug addiction.
That should be proof enough that this is not a good habit for you!
One of the best things to know when you’re breaking sugar addiction in your life is knowing that you serve a good God, and His plans for you are better than anything that you have for yourself.
You have to remind yourself of that truth as walk out your recovery with the Lord’s help, day-by-day, step-by-step.”
Meditate upon Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremiah 29:11
That’s the bottom line: See the vision that the Lord has something better in store for you with the sugar addiction out of your life.
Remove that sugar idol out of your life.
Knock it over, remove it, break it so that God can be first in your life in every single area because His blessings are bundled in obedience to His word.
Be Blessed with Health, Healing, and Wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with overeating sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my journey to losing 85 pounds and dropping from a size 22 to a size 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge online course (inside the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss.
Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program.
“Prayer for Weight Loss”
Just found this article and some of your other resources. I always seem to question moderation or abstinence. Does removing sugar as an idol mean never eating anything with sugar in it again? I seem to end up binging if I go with abstinence and with moderation I gain weight. Feeling stuck. Patti
Hi Patti – To answer your question, removing sugar as a idol does not mean never eating anything with sugar again. However, it does mean being honest with yourself about which sugar foods are hijacking your brain and deciding on replacements that may give you a sweet taste but does not hijack your brain. Here is what I mean: https://takebackyourtemple.com/is-sugar-addiction-hijacking-your-brain/
Kim, Thank you for taking the time to answer. I’ve read your article and will do so again. There’s lots to process. I’m beginning to see that sugar may not be my idol but a symptom that there is a deeper heart issue or idol that I need to work through with God’s help. I’ve always attacked the sugar rather than my beliefs or emotions.
I know this is God cause I prayed and ask God to help me with this addiction of sugar it’s always Monday when I say aim going to start to do better but Monday come and go this message hit me hard cause I know it’s truths and the truth will make me free so thank you my sister for always confronting me to look inside myself I had a gastric bypass and still don’t keep the plan
Hi Tracy – I speak to the spirit of addiction and command it to GO in Jesus name! Now that you are delivered, the responsibility becomes walking out in freedom for the glory of God, day-by-day, step-by step. You are walking with Lord now and exercising dependency on Him. The surgery worked on your stomach, but it did not change your MIND, which is where transformation takes place according to the Bible (Romans 12:2). You have the Holy Spirit to give you power to do what the Word says. So be free in Jesus name and never let yourself be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Your testimony of deliverance will set others free!
Thank you for this article and the verses of encouragement. While this article is about sugar.. my addiction is smoking. So, as I read I replaced the word sugar with cigarettes.
The struggle is real but my faith is strong.
Thank you for your time you give to writing these words of wisdom and sharing God’s word.
Thank you Karen – I appreciate your feedback and believe that you have overcome nicotine addiction by faith! I hope this article also helps you be kind, compassionate, and patient with yourself on your healing journey. With any addiction, brain networks develop to support it. That’s a stronghold. The Bible says, ”For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5),” Renewing our minds to God’s word and following the leading of the Holy Spirit is the day to day work to re-wire those brain networks. You can do this with God’s help!
Wow! I am so inspired to begin my journey of deliverance from sugar addiction and obesity. I have budgeted to begin the “Take Back Your Temple program” in August. I praise GOD for leading me to you, Kimberly Taylor. I’m a member of the NextDoor (ND) community network and RARELY open up the emails that I get from them. However, a couple days ago; or so, I opened an ND email regarding an issue in our sub-division. While on the website I saw your post regarding your Weight Loss Prayer audio book. I sampled the ebook and decided to purchase it. I went on further by visiting your website; all the while just praising GOD in my spirit with a huge smile on my face because I realized that HE finally answered my prayer which I had been seeking for quite awhile, and that is to find a weight-loss program constructed by HIM.
I’ve never had problems with losing weight. My problem has always been keeping the weight off. However, as I’ve gotten older; 53 now, I have lost the ability to do this and at 5’7″, I have ballooned to 307.8 lbs (as of 7/15/2019). My only hope is GOD and a stronger relationship with HIM and yielding to the Holy Spirit for strength and power.
With HIS grace I know the shackles and strongholds are being broken; and will continue to be broken, as I abide in HIM.
May God’s grace and mercy continue to follow you, overtake you and bless you Kimberly Taylor.
God Bless You!
Praise God, Debra! You are healed in the name Jesus. Our God is a Healer and He said in Psalm 107:20 – ”He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” I recommend checking out the free articles right now available on this site as well so you can walk in health at this moment: https://takebackyourtemple.com/blog/.
Hi Kimberly. I do agree fully but there are also hormonal factors to take into consideration such as PCOS, insulin resistance, thyroid dysfunction, PMS, Pre-post menopause, that can affect one’s brain chemistry and cravings, which are more neurologically based. Also food allergies can set off food, sugar cravings. So as Christians we need to consider the physiological, neurological complications which can greatly influence one’s sugar consumption. God bless and thank you so much for your grace and Christ-centered approach to diet and good-addiction! God bless you. ♥️
Absolutely, Mary – I agree completely. Even with those conditions, we aren’t at the mercy of them. We serve the Great Physician in Jesus and there is nothing too hard for Him. One of the names for God is Jehovah Rapha, ”The Lord who Heals” and that aspect of His character hasn’t changed, nor has that name.
Too often, we might use these diagnoses as a reason to keep on practicing sugar addiction. However, it is still our responsibility to seek the Lord for the steps we need to take to control the cravings and walk in health through the power of the Holy Spirit.
He has given us foods that help support the health our brains and control the cravings. So we seek them out and use them to avoid leaving the door open for the enemy to destroy us in this matter.
Stay blessed, Sister!