Sugar Addiction

Categories: Food Addiction

Sweet Surrender – What You Need to Know about Sugar Addiction

sugar addiction

If you crave sugar-laden treats, such as jelly donuts, candy bars, pastries or gummy worms (to name just a few sweet snacks that many people want to nosh on), you should know that you may be addicted to the “rush” that sugar brings. Because sugar creates a powerful and intense physiological reaction, which results in a short-term burst of energy (think of it as a quick “high”), it’s possible to get hooked on the substance and what it does to your mind and body.

In order to help you understand the science of sugar addiction, we’ve created a detailed guide. Once you gain a deeper understanding of what sugar gives to your body (as well as what it takes away!), you may develop the ability to resist (or at least to be more judicious in terms of how and when you choose to indulge).

Of course, a little “sweet nothing” once in a while isn’t really going to hurt you, unless you have a blood sugar-related health issue, such as hypoglycemia or diabetes. However, over the long term, it’s safe to say that eschewing sugar will be one of the keys to unlocking stable energy levels, a stronger immune system and better general health. In addition, staying sugar-free may help you to slim down or to maintain a healthy body weight.

Now, let’s talk about sugar’s role as an energy booster and mood enhancer, and why its ability to alter energy and mood often triggers sugar addiction in men, women and children. You need to understand this, because getting hooked on sugar is about much more than craving the pleasing taste of this popular and ubiquitous food ingredient.
Also be aware that sugar may be found in just about anything, from sauces to mixes to juices to bread to booze; that’s why staying sugar-free requires a long-term dedication to reading food labels and avoiding foods that contain white or brown sugar.

How Sugar Affects the Human Body

You probably already realize that sugar gives you energy (for a little while). That’s why people reach for sweet snacks when they’re feeling low. This burst of energy happens when glucose (sugar) hits the human body. At this point, the pancreas makes insulin, which tells all cells to suck in sugar. The sugar is utilized as fuel all over the body, spiking energy levels temporarily. Extra sugar is turned into glycogen, which settles in muscle tissue and other forms of tissue. If the body can’t use this “glycogen load”, the “leftovers” get turned into excess pounds.
In addition, eating sugar just feels good. But why…why does eating sweet treats give us a sense of supreme well-being?
Well, it’s all about the neurotransmitter which is released every single time that we sip a sugary café Mocha from a local coffeehouse or feast on any sugary food item. Every time we eat sugar, our brains release dopamine, which makes us feel pleasure and a sense of reward. That’s why eating sugar feels like pampering ourselves or winning a prize!

It’s all physiological, and it often leads to a cycle of addiction which becomes a negative element in all of our lives. We want more pleasure and more reward, because we remember how good sugar made us feel the last time that we had it. Alas, the feeling just doesn’t last, and we’re left to deal with the detrimental consequences of “giving in” to our desire for sugar. Because giving up sugar leads to withdrawal symptoms that make us into veritable “sugar junkies” (such as depressed mood, anxiousness and aggression), staying away from the sweet substance is just plain hard work!
As if the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, isn’t enough, sugar also provokes the release of opioids within the brain! These opioids give us a surge of happiness which is definitely extremely addictive.

This is why some people who are extremely addicted to sugar feel a kinship with drug addicts. These sugar junkies know that the cravings get so strong as to render sugar addicts “powerless” to resist. Of course, you really can resist sugar. It’s just that it’s hard to do so, particularly if you rely on the substance for much of your energy or happiness; in other words, if you’re prone to “emotional eating”, you may be a prime candidate for sugar addiction.

How to Stop the Cycle

If you want to go sugar free, the best strategy is to find other ways to get the “high” or “rush” that sugar brought to your life. One healthy option is exercise, which causes the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins fill the body with a sense of well-being. In addition, regular exercise will make it possible to enjoy higher energy levels. Exercise makes the body function like a well-oiled machine, so turning to it while giving up sugar may be the best way to replace the sugar high with a healthier high.
Now that you know more about “sweet surrender” and how it can be avoided, you’ll be ready to change your approach to sugar addiction today.

 

Doriet von Fircks

About the author

Doriet von Fircks is a health practitioner and a nutrition expert.
She specializes in food related problems, such as food addiction.
After reading many articles about food addiction, especially lots of scientific journals, she realized that there was hardly any discussion about food addiction from a scientific perspective.
She updates the site frequently, ensuring that the latest scientific findings are always featured on FoodAddictionScience.com. If you have questions about this site or suggestions for improvement, please feel free to contact her.