It’s the middle of the day and you’re at work, craving a candy bar. There isn’t much to do, and your co-worker has a candy dish on her desk. You walk over, make some conversation, but your eyes keep focused on the candy. She pushes it forward and offers you some. “Ah, finally”, you think, as you take a handful of chocolate from the dish and eat it piece by piece listening to her story, and then it hits you, the rush from sugar, you feel so much better. You nod and turn away, go back to your desk. An hour later, you feel the same way again. You think, “Oh no, I’m addicted to sugar”.
Sugar addiction can be compared to heroin addiction. It effects the endorphins and serotonin, both feel good neuroreceptors in the brain. What is a neuroreceptor? It is a part of the brain that brings information from one cell to another. When there is an excess of endorphins or serotonin, you feel good. When they are low, you feel bad. Sugar can increase, temporarily, serotonin and endorphins (also known as the ones that kick in when you’re in pain) so you feel good. But is that good feeling a good thing? It can be bad for you, physically and mentally. Many people are addicted to sugar and they don’t even know it.
Sugar addiction can come with cravings, withdrawal and binges. You glucose levels can go up and down, bringing your body and mood with it. Feeling fatigued near the end of the day? It could be low blood sugar. It can be many people’s first, and only, addiction. It may not be as dangerous as nicotine or heroin, but it has several potential effects on your health, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart problems, cholesterol, and even cancer.
Food is full of sugar, and if you’re on the road a lot, you’re going to get caught up in eating a lot of sugary foods. Foods loaded with carbohydrates, are also considered sugar, and part of the addiction, because a carbohydrate breaks down into sugar, and spikes the blood sugar, where a fruit would have fibre to slow the breakdown and stop the extreme glucose spike. An average person consumes about 20-30 teaspoons of sugar a day. It is found in things you wouldn’t think of it in: cereal, soup, salad dressing, spaghetti sauces, and most of ketchup is actually sugar.
Sugar is an addictive substance, and you can be pulled in by its taste. Many people prefer a fast food burger to a home cooked one simply because there are so many carbohydrates, and a lot of sugar in the food. It’s easier than making your own and relatively inexpensive, so it’s good for when you’re having a long day at work. Who wants to cook when they’ve been working all day? Sugar, as well as high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose all have similar dangers, and are all found in many of the things we eat and drink, either at home or on the run.
I’m Addicted to Sugar: Avoiding the Sugar Rush
Read the package labels and don’t just check for sugars, check for carbohydrates and fibre as well, because fibre breaks down the sugar, so it converts to glucose slowly, and your blood sugar doesn’t spike, so it doesn’t crash, leaving the nasty effects of flu like symptoms and fatigue, afterwards. If you crave sugar because of boredom, try to substitute it with something else.
Some people swear by sugar substitutes, and others can’t stand them; they may increase real sugar cravings. Studies are still being done on sugar substitutes. Eat an apple instead of the candy in your co-workers dish. Pass up on desserts except for on special occasions. Definitely don’t cut it completely out of your diet at once, that is the easiest way to fail, and you’ll feel terrible, physically and mentally, too. Cut it out slowly, piece by piece, literally. Some people just prefer sweet foods, and that is okay, you can replace them with sweet fruits. Take vitamins and supplements, but not too many. If you’re addicted to sugar, you have to admit it, and you can beat it. It isn’t as terrible as a hard drug, and you can treat yourself once in a while.