Is Sugar Addiction Hijacking your Brain?

Have you ever felt that sugar addiction is hijacking your brain? A Take Back Your Temple program member wrote the following about this issue in her life:

“I have been on both sides, where I have eaten whatever I want, and of course it gives that temporary happiness. But then afterward, I am miserable. And I hated that feeling more than the feeling the junk food gave me.”

If you are unsure about whether sugar is hijacking your brain too, then answer the following questions: 

  • After eating a particular sugary food, are your thoughts pre-occupied with getting more of it?
  • Do you have difficulty controlling the amount you eat of it, which leads to binge eating?
  • Do you fear withdrawal symptoms if you gave it up?
  • Do you tell yourself you are buying it for others (for example, guests, kids, or grandkids), but you are the one who eats it?
  • Do you keep a secret stash of sugary/junk foods?

If you can answer yes to at least one of these questions, then you are experiencing brain hijacking where that sugary food is concerned.

Why Confronting Food Addiction is Critical for Christians

1 Peter 5:8 warns us:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

You do not want to give the enemy permission to devour your life! After all, you need alertness for opportunities to share Jesus with others who do not yet know Him.

However, it is difficult to do that when your brain is hijacked with sugar cravings, blood sugar highs and crashes and robbed of the nutrients it needs to think clearly.

Researchers tell us that foods high in sugar content can hijack our brain’s reward systems.

I call living with food addiction, living in the “briar patch.” As believers in Jesus, we are meant to walk a straight and narrow path with the Lord’s help.

However, living with this condition puts thorns and thistles in your way, making your life’s journey dark and difficult.

Life is hard enough; why make it any harder than it has to be?

When God’s word is sown among thorns, it chokes His word within you, limiting the Spiritual fruit you bear for His glory (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – see Mark 4:18-19, Galatians 5:22-23, and John 15:8).

That is reason enough to face this issue once and for all, especially if your aim is to finish well!

Escaping the Briar Patch of Sugar Addiction

To get free of food addiction requires the willingness to examine the five elements that may be supporting it:

  • False Identity
  • Belief Strongholds
  • Emotional Attachments to a specific food
  • Robot Routines
  • Binge Provisions (a secret stash)

Living entangled with addictions is like living in a briar patch.

False Identity

Have you ever justified excess sugar consumption as “This is just the way I am” or “I will never change”?

If so, then you have a false identity that contradicts the word of God. Your actions will always line up with the person you believe that you are.

Freedom begins with affirming your identity with truth from God’s word:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

Once you accepted Jesus as your Savior, your identity changed because the Holy Spirit lives in you. Your identity is now who God says you are.

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

God would not say to be transformed if change were impossible for you!

If you have unbelief in this matter, then level with yourself; is it possible that holding on to that old identity (Golden Image) feels safer than walking in agreement with God currently?

Idolatry is elevating anything in your life above your relationship with God.

In addition, sustaining a Golden image often comes bundled with pride, self-sabotage and rebellion, which opposes the teachable spirit necessary for change.

Idolatry is elevating anything in your life above your relationship with God.

You can start to change through renewing your mind with the scriptures above. Meditate on them and journal what the Lord speaks to you.

As a loving Father, He wants you free of anything that binds you. He is about restoration, not condemnation.

Belief Strongholds

Have you ever had thoughts to rationalize indulgence in sugary foods such as:

  • “I can’t live without it” or “I’ll die if I don’t have it”
  • “I deserve it”
  • “It’s not fair they can eat this without problems and I can’t”

Do you tend to minimize the negative effects of sugar, such as how it robs your body of nutrients or avoid confronting an excess consumption of sugar as in, “I will think about it tomorrow?”-

Our minds are like courtrooms; we have arguments in our self-talk to make decisions. The side with the strongest argument will win.

If you have thoughts like the above and do not level them with the truth, then those old persuasive arguments will win. Sugar indulgence will lead to blood sugar instability, binge eating, and typically, weight gain over time.

Emotional Attachments to Specific Foods

Do specific sugary foods or a carbohydrate have an emotional meaning that you have associated with them, such as stress relief or a cure for loneliness?

Is binge eating a pressure release value for you when life becomes too overwhelming?

Unless you find a healthier way of filling those legitimate emotional needs, then excess sugar consumption or another substance will fulfill that role in your life.

Robot Routines

Do you have a daily routine in which you have paired sweet food with another activity?

For example, have you made 3:00 PM your cookie time? Or have a mental association between watching TV in the evenings with getting ice cream?

If so, that association needs replacing because if there is a void left behind with the sweets removed, you leave yourself open to sugar cravings and it will not be long before you go running back to sweets when those trigger routines occur!

Plus, fear of withdrawal symptoms can also keep you under sugar’s power.

Binge Provisions

Have you made it easy and convenient to indulge in sweet food by keeping a stash or supply of them?

Temptations start with our eyes; the easier and convenient the habit, the more likely you will do it.

Here is a tip make your life easier: “Keep the things you want to do, close to you; put the things you do not want to do, far away from you”!

Consider this quote by Pastor James MacDonald

Nothing is different until you think differently.”

Be blessed in health, healing and wholeness,

Kimberly Taylor

Author of the Take Back Your Temple program

P.S. Do you struggle with eating too much 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 (inside the 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 success.

Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program.

About the author 

Kimberly Taylor

Kimberly Taylor is a certified Christian life coach and has a heart to help others struggling with emotional eating and weight loss. Once 240 pounds and a size 22, she can testify of God’s goodness and healing power to overcome. She lost 85 pounds as a result of implementing techniques to overcome emotional eating and binge eating disorder.

Kim is the author of "The Take Back Your Temple Program," which teaches Christians how to take control of their weight God's way and the books "The Weight Loss Scriptures" and "The Weight Loss Prayers."

Kim has been featured in Prevention Magazine, Charisma Magazine and on CBN’s 'The 700 Club' television program.

  • I have been struggling with all of these since my husband got sick in 2016 and then passed away in 2018. Today I weighed myself and found that I have gained 20# over the period of time. Prior to that I had been sugar and flour abstinent for a long period of time (10+ Years). I know I can do it, yet I’m afraid I can’t do it. I have committed to at least read these articles daily in hopes of finding the willingness again. Along with prayer and meditation, I am hoping to renew my relationship with Jesus that gave me the freedom from food addiction in the past. Thanks for being here.

  • Sweets are THE problem for me…..I can be self-contolled in all of my eating in all my other foods. I need GOD’S help BIGTIME with sweets

  • I don’t know how many times in all my years I have invited Jesus to be my Saviour and yet I am still at strong addiction at 61 years old. Everything you said in this post applies to me since I was a little girl having been sexually abused yet I am killing myself with anything that turns to sugar in my body, any carbs because my blood sugar levels have been through the roof for the past 4 years and my test results are showing that all my kidney liver heart functions are diminishing because of this. From an intelligence perspective I know this most likely means I will die early yet my heart and mind and soul seems to dismiss it as though these health issue are nothing as though God will still grant me to live until I am well into my 90’s. But I feel extremely unwell everyday and have to push myself to function. I read the booklet you wrote but nothing helped, it’s like my mind refuses to take any of it in so that it becomes good habit.

    • Hi Grandma – What you have described (neglected self care) is common in sexual abuse survivors; please check out this article on the TBYT website from a sexual abuse survivor who I believe you will relate to:

      How Sexual Abuse Survivors Can Heal

      In addition, if you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you do not need to keep doing it over and over again. He is your Savior once and for all when you believe in your heart and confess with your heart that He is Lord (Romans 10:9-10). He is the Great Physician and can heal all wounds. Trauma can cause a person to develop a hard heart to cope with the pain, unable to receive the healing the Lord offers. The Lord told me this once: “Unless you allow the Lord to heal your heart, you will never grow past the place of your wounding.”

      Here is more about that: Ministering to a Hard Heart (Prayer)

      I do recommend that if you have not, to seek a Christian counselor. That person can be a compassionate listener to help you move forward and heal from the trauma of past abuse. May the Lord bless you.

  • I don’t have a sugar problem. I can binge eat on cookies if I start so don’t keep any in the house and when offered I tend to refuse most times. My problem is fats/oils salty food. Certain types of crisps & chips. If I swap out your sugars for oils it applies. So really good for me to focus on what you have advised. Thank you

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