Overview: Can you use hypnosis to quit sugar? How actually does hypnosis for sugar addiction work?
That vanilla latte or afternoon chocolate fix might seem harmless. But all of that added sugar adds up over the course of the day.
Our bodies were not designed to cope with the 20 teaspoons of sugar that the average American consumes on a daily basis, let alone the 11,862 cups of sugar (Yuck!) that adds up to over the course of a lifetime.
In fact, a diet high in sugar has been linked to a number of serious health issues, from tooth decay and weight gain, to diabetes and fatty liver disease. Harvard Medical School researchers have even found evidence that a high-sugar diet increases the risk of fatal heart disease.
Here’s the problem though: We know too much sugar is bad for us. But trying to reduce the amount of sweets we eat isn’t easy.
For many of us, giving up sugar seems all but impossible. We can break the habit for a few days or weeks. But before we know it, we’re back to snacking on sugar throughout the day.
If you’ve struggled to kick your sugar habit, you’re not alone.
But willpower alone isn’t enough to quit sugar.
Why? Sugar addiction takes root deep in the unconscious mind. We have an attachment to sweets.
Without untangling and reframing these associations, we aren’t getting to the root cause of our sugar habit.
Hypnotherapy offers a solution for reversing these subconscious urges. Through hypnosis, we can begin to examine how your subconscious views sugar and provide it with new information to change habits.
How Sugar Takes Over Your Body
Eating sugar triggers the production and release of addiction-forming chemicals in the body. These chemicals activate feelings of pleasure, relaxation and comfort. Over time, the brain learns that the body needs sugar to function.
In other words, sugar addiction is very real. In fact, several studies have shown that sugar is as addictive as street drugs like cocaine and heroin.
How does sugar addiction form?
Sugar hijacks your body’s biochemical systems, and when we eat a lot of sugar, the body’s natural mechanisms to control cravings gets thrown out of whack. In particular, an excess of sugar affects the production of three important biochemicals:
When you eat refined sugars, your body produces and releases serotonin. Serotonin helps to control mood and relieve pain. Over time, the subconscious mind learns to associate sugar intake with feelings of comfort, reduced pain and/or calm. This complex biochemical process can therefore explain one reason stress causes weight gain – we use sweet, sugary foods to comfort ourselves.
Sugar addiction also disrupts the brain’s production of dopamine. Dopamine generates the feelings of pleasure we experience after eating a sugary snack like ice cream. But over time, the brain builds up a tolerance. Therefore, you need to consume more sugar to achieve the same sense of pleasure, which reinforces this cycle of addiction.
When you’re hungry, the body releases ghrelin, a chemical that tells the body it’s time to eat. Stress and lack of sleep can cause overproduction of ghrelin. But here’s why ghrelin can reinforce your sugar cravings; people who are hungry instinctively seek out high-sugar, energy-dense foods. The problem is that a lot of sugary foods and drinks like soda have been shown to actually spike ghrelin levels.
How Hypnosis Can Help You Overcome Sugar Addiction
Hypnosis works by allowing us to examine and reframe our subconscious attachments to sugar. To understand this idea, it's helpful to look at our conscious and subconscious minds and how they affect sugar addiction.
Conscious vs. Subconscious Mind
Your conscious mind is the voice in your head. Your conscious mind is rational, it’s always seeking to explain and justify the world around you.
The subconscious mind, however, works in the background. It’s fully automatic. When you touch something, you don’t have to “think” about how it feels. Instead, your subconscious informs you instantaneously based on your memories and sensory inputs.
This is why it's difficult to quit sugar.
Our conscious minds know it's bad and that we want to cut back. But still, the subconscious keeps our habit in place.
That’s why so many self-help programs are ineffective. They’re not getting to the root of the problem, and the subconscious triggers still exist.
Reframing Your Subconscious Thoughts
Your subconscious is programmed through repetition.
You eat sugar, you feel calmer and more relaxed, and over time, it learns that, “Hey, sugar is something I need in order to feel better.” Sugar in your morning coffee might be associated with that caffeine jolt. A rich dessert may be associated with relaxing before bed.
Hypnotherapy empowers you to update their subconscious thinking.
At the subconscious level, you might consider sugar a friend who’s always there to pick you up. But through hypnosis, you can untangle these positive associations and reframe the thinking with new information.
Hypnosis to Quit Sugar: How It Works
During hypnosis, you follow a relaxation process to reach a deep, trance-like state. This state feels similar to meditation.
However, once we're in this state, our subconscious is highly suggestible. We can then use suggestions and affirmations to teach the subconscious new ways to respond to sugar cravings.
You can see how it works in this hypnosis for sugar cravings session on The Doctors:
Ultimately, the subconscious has many positive attachments to sugar, and it creates the automatic thinking that drives our habits, reactions, and emotions.
Hypnosis allows us to reframe these attachments and triggers.
Are You A Sugar Addict?
Sure, people call you a sweet tooth, but are you truly addicted to sugar? Although there is no fool-proof test you can take to give you a definite answer, there are a few tell-tale signs that reducing sugar might help.
For starters, withdraw symptoms when may indicate that the body has become physically addicted to sugar. A few common sugar withdrawal symptoms include:
- Fatigue, crashing in the afternoon
- Mood swings, irritability
- Trouble sleeping
Additionally, you might recognize that the conscious mind is preventing you from quitting sugar. Listen to your thoughts. What are they telling you? For example, if you’ve ever tried to reduce your sugar intake, your mind might have justified why you should, saying things like: “I’m just too stressed right now” or “I’ll give sugar up some day.”
If these thoughts are popping up, it could be an an indication that you’re programmed to commit self-sabotage and continue eating sugar even when you truly don’t want to.
What to Expect from a Hypnosis Session for Quitting Sugar
Hypnosis starts with an induction that's similar to meditation. You relax the body and mind. Our goal is to relax and reach the theta brainwave state.
In this state, you feel safe and relaxed, and you can explore your emotional connection to sugar.
You ask yourself: Where did the attachment begin? What are your triggers? How do you feel about quitting sugar?
Often, when we go back to the “source,” we find ourselves returning to childhood. You might remember a time you were given a treat for being a “good little girl,” or a birthday celebration with cakes and cookies and candy. Or you'll land on a memory of you baking with your grandmother during the holidays, a time when you felt love and safety.
You see, the connection to sugar is not just psychologically addictive, it is emotionally addictive.
At some point your subconscious became confused.
You came to subconsciously believe that the feeling that you felt while eating lots of sugar as a child were caused by the sugar. We know consciously that this is not the case, but subconsciously, we don’t.
Once you've found these attachments and triggers, you can begin to recondition and reframe them.
You might connect healthier food choices with that love and safety you felt. You might remember a time you felt gross after eating too much candy and remember the negative feelings. This helps to reinforce those negative feelings and increase your aversion to sugar.
What Does the Research Say about Hypnosis?
Overcoming sugar addiction requires commitment and dedication. However, some compelling research has shown that hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for addiction of all types, including quitting smoking, smartphone addiction, and gaming addiction.
One of the most compelling studies was conducted by Dr. Alfred Barrios, and it compared hypnosis to psychoanalysis. For the meta-analysis, Dr. Barrios looked at more than 1,000 articles and studies on hypnosis and psychoanalysis, in particular looking at the efficacy of each treatment. Dr. Barrios found that:
- Psycho analysis had just a 38 percent recovery rate after 600 sessions.
- Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, achieved a 93 percent recovery after just SIX sessions.
Many other studies have found hypnotherapy to be effective for a range of behaviors similar to sugar addiction.
A 1992 meta-analysis, for example, looked at statistics from more than 70,000 adults who had given up smoking. The results found that hypnotherapy was nearly 15 times more effective than quitting cold turkey.
Similarly, a variety of studies have examined the relationship between hypnotherapy and weight loss. A recent 2022 study found that, of participants in a weight loss study, those who regularly practiced self hypnosis lost more weight on average.
The participants who received hypnosis on top of another invention lost more weight than 90 percent of those who did not. And these participants kept the weight off for 2 years after therapy.
Try Hypnotherapy for Sugar Addiction Today
Hypnosis is a powerful tool. It can empower you to make real positive change in your life. But like any self-help tool, it requires commitment.
True, you might experience surprisingly powerful improvements from a single hypnotherapy session. But long-term results require dedication.
One of the simplest ways to try hypnosis is by using a hypnosis app like Grace. Our app features a variety of hypnosis to quit sugar recordings, as well as other topics like managing stress, anxiety relief, and hypnosis for weight loss.
Another option: Read a hypnotherapy book like Close Your Eyes, Lose Weight and learn techniques to eat healthier and feel motivated.