Sugar: an Emotional Pain Killer?

By Kimberly Taylor


Sugar emotional pain killer

Once I was driving home after a long day at a Ministry Leadership conference. Although I’d had a wonderful time, I was tired and wired at the same time.

Have you ever felt that way?

Suddenly, thoughts of getting a sweet muffin from our neighborhood coffee shop flashed into my mind.

I imagined using the sweet as a reward, to do something “special” for myself, and as a way to relax.

Where did this emotional connection to sweets come from?

In this article, let’s examine how we can come to use sugar as an emotional pain killer:

Where Sugar Addiction Can Start

For me, the attachment to sugar stretches back to childhood.

My mother worked a lot as a single mom. Before she would leave me with the sitter, she always gave me candy money.

I missed my mother and I was lonely. Eating the candy made me feel better.

Recently, I read about a study that demonstrated why the sugar worked.

Dr. Elliot Blass of Cornell University found that when sugar water was given to newborns, their crying time decreased from 40 percent to 3 percent.

He determined that sugar activates pain-killing receptors in our brains via the Dopamine Reward Pathway (DRP).

Drugs like cocaine and morphine use the same pathway.

So my desire to reach for sugar to make myself feel better had a biological component as well as an emotional one.

God’s Promises for Healing

Now when I was a child, I did not know that I was medicating myself against emotional pain or discomfort.

However as an adult, I know what is going on.

I have a choice now as to what to do when uncomfortable feelings occur. I don’t have to eat my feelings.

In Psalm 147:3, God’s word promises:

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.”

When I was struggling to overcome emotional eating when I was 240 pounds, I had to make a choice:

I could continue to use sugar to eat my feelings – or have courage to feel them, leaning into God and trust Him for the strength to get through.

If I made the second choice, I could come to know God’s nature as my Jehovah Rapha…my Healer.

That second choice speaks to the essence of eternal life. In John 17:3, Jesus said:

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Is it possible that our emotional struggles could be an opportunity to know God better through our journey of healing day by day?

Meeting your Real Needs

Now back to my drive…what choice did I make on my drive home?

I decided not to stop for the muffin. I asked God for wisdom for what to do instead.

I know God could show me my real need.

Although the muffin would have medicated me, it wouldn’t have addressed my real need, only smothered it.

I didn’t want sugar hijacking my brain like it once did!

My real need was to simply rest and de-stress.

So I decided to go home, take off my bra and shoes, put on some comfortable clothes, and take a nap.

That’s what I did! Giving myself permission not to do any work and take a nap made me feel special.

Here’s the truth: Each of us must remind ourselves about our life priorities each day.

Otherwise, it is too easy to lose focus and get off-track.

I decided I did not want to go through life with low energy and in a brain fog.

So many of our mood swings and depression occurs because the enemy takes advantage of biochemical imbalances in our brains.

However, when we eat to maintain emotional stability, we can shut that door in the enemy’s face!

In that way, we can finally start living the abundant life Jesus came to give us.

We can fulfill our purpose and show up alert and engaged for those we love most.

Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,

Kimberly Taylor

Author of the Take Back Your Temple program

P.S. When it comes to weight loss, do you often know what you should do but have a hard time doing it?

I struggled with this issue on my own weight loss journey, but I discovered the truth of this statement:

“Nothing is different until you think differently.” – Pastor James MacDonald

In the Take Back Your Temple program, you will discover how to win the Spiritual and mental battle that often causes us to become inconsistent and get off-track on our weight loss journey.

Join a community of other Christians losing weight and keep it off.

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

Kimberly Taylor

About the author

Kimberly Taylor has a heart to encourage others struggling with emotional eating and weight loss. Once 240 pounds and a size 22 herself, she can testify of God’s goodness and healing power to overcome. She dropped over 85 pounds through renewing her mind with Biblical principles.

  • I am on my way to cutting out sugar. But using honey in my oatmeal and tea. Is honey just as bad as sugar. Thanks for this amazing article. You are so strong. I wud yield lol .

    • I am glad to hear that this gave you more understanding, Gwendolyn. With God’s help, you will receive healing as you trust Him and walk out your healing journey with Him on your side, day by day, step by step.

  • I am going to memorize 1Cor 6:12 to remind myself that “all things are lawful for me (all food choices) however all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me but I will not (in Jesus Name) be brought under the power of any (ice cream bars binge because I am tired and overwhelmed from a long day). I can come to You Lord for You are my constant. Amen

      • I m like yourself,single parent home, learned how to medicate with those addictive foods you mentioned. I’ve been on my lifestyle changes for over 16 years now, I know what,why but have been rebellious and giving in,I’ve lost 100 give or take,the up and down cycle.. but this habit/behavior is a stronghold I want to be free from!!!

  • Thanks so much for sharing Kim. This is an awesome article and I will be implementing the things you said in my life. The scripture that you used is so powerful (Psal 147:3) and I can see myself standing on it and watching God move! God bless you!

  • I’ve used food and shopping to medicate my brokenness instead of giving it to the Lord. Thanks for the encouragement by writing about your own struggles with food.

  • THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME REALIZE MY MY ADDICTION TO SUGAR AND WHY I RUN TO SUGAR,TO COMFORT ME… I REALIZE DAILY THIS IS A TERRIBLE CHOICE I CONTINUE TO STEUGGLE WITH,BUT I ALSO KNOW GOD CAN HELP ME AND HEAL ME OF THIS ADDICTION. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK YOU ARE DOING THIS IS A STRUGGLE I AM DEALING WITH AND YOUR COMFORTING WORDS HELP ME REALIZE I AM NOT ALONE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT AND SCRIPTURES YOU ARE SHARING WIFH THE WORLD! YOU ARE GODA LIGHT TO PEOPLE LIKE ME. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this, i really needed to hear this especially trying to figure out why i was drawn to eat lots of unhealthy oily food stuff like fries and samosas yesterday, when i had been on such a good note with eating healthy and working out. God is faithful indeed.

  • This is so what I needed to hear! I work out but still can’t resist treats. Sugar does emotionally make me feel better.

  • I’m almost fifty yrs old me and my daughter eat to our feelings . I scare my self some time I need healing and discipline in my life. The enemy thinks he has won . Be he’s a liar

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    >