Rat studies have shown us that sugar withdrawal is real and it is not an unreasonable assumption to say it may happen in our brains too.
In these rat studies done in 2002 there was evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes dependence like morphine can. Sugar deprivation led to physical problems, including teeth chattering, paw tremors and head shaking and psychological symptoms like anxiety and other studies have report behaviour similar to depression.
One of the issues with withdrawal is that it is such an unpleasant experience it serves as a powerful motivator to go back to past the addictive behaviour. So the relief we get from the potential withdrawal symptoms by having that past substance again becomes pleasurable in and of itself and can drive us to continue eating it. It is pretty messed up.
So yes – some people feel some symptoms of withdrawal and some people don’t. If you are worried or feel unwell – talk to your doctor because you may need more support.
But remember that this can be normal and it will pass. Withdrawal usually lasts days to ~3 weeks, depending on the substance and your personal genetics and social situations.
There are lots of ways you can make it easier if you are feeling these symptoms –
- Social support and having someone to vent to
- Sleep lots
- Distract yourself but avoid high stressors
- Taper off the food slower meaning you have less and less over a period of time until eventually you have none
- Drink lots of water
- Exercise more
- Satisfy your cravings in other ways like healthy food alternatives like fruit
- Seek professional help