Is Sugar Addictive?

Are you addicted to sugar? If you feel that you are taking in too much sugar and that it is bad for your health, ask yourself a question. Have I become addicted to sugar?

Obesity and other diseases that are increasingly occurring can certainly be associated with increasing sugar intake.

Sugar is literally everywhere. Drinks, sweets, cakes, pies, ice creams, jams and other industrial products. Sugar is also where you would never expect it, so reading the declaration of each product becomes even more important.

Refined Sugar History

For more than 2000 years, sugar has played a significant role throughout the evolution of human beings. From the East Indies, it was brought to the Europeans in the early 1100s.

Before refinement process was perfected, sugar was valued like gold, and only afforded by the wealthy and affluent. It is stored inside a jewel-studded box similar to the boxes used to keep for valuable substances like opium.

Sugar immediately became known for its opiate-like effect, providing a momentary ‘high’ to those who take it. Refined sugar gives that similar addicting effect to other white powder drugs valued during that time. In France, sugar was labeled as ‘crack’ and was a very popular French delicacy during the 16th century.

Is Sugar Addictive

As expected, demand for sugar quickly rose and soon, it became influential to many European traders and it paved way to the increase in slave labor with the establishment of sugar plantations.

Indeed, sugar has a rich history, holding a legacy of secrecy, addiction, oppression, greed and slavery. With the impact and influence of sugar these days, I would vie that such legacy of suffering still continues up to the present.

Because of its highly addicting nature, sugar is added to most processed goods in the US to increase sales. And the cycle of addiction to slavery continues – a prevalent slavery to sweets so to speak, which are commercially manufactured out of greed.

These overly sweetened products can wreak havoc on the public health by numbing our senses and ruining our vitality.

Effects of Excessive Sugar

Most certainly you are well aware about the effect of excessive sugar in our bodies. Aside from being one of the leading factors of obesity, it can give you that ‘charged-up’ feeling and then followed by a sudden ‘crash’ in energy level.

This can affect your mood stability, brain chemistry and immune system. The significant fluctuations of energy that sugar does in your system can leave you feeling tired and depleted. In some cases, you may suffer from mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, nervousness.

Over time, the body will show signs of stress and exhaustion as it attempts to adjust with the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of insulin. Long-term high levels of insulin also have a negative impact on the release of growth hormones, and the immune system.

Furthermore, overconsumption of sugar increases the release of dopamine, the brain neurotransmitter responsible for memory, energy and focus.

Taking too much sugar can overwhelm the body, robbing out the needed enzymes and thereby, affecting proper digestion and metabolism. This can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, especially the Vitamin B-complex that regulates our energy metabolism and nervous system.

While not an illicit drug, sugar is as destructive as these substances, maybe even more, because it is immensely widespread. Most people are keen to reduce its destructive nature but still continue taking it in excess.

Sugar is apparently unregulated and it goes about affecting our health in several different ways. So think about its destructive nature when you feel the sugar crave.

Why Is Sugar So Addictive?

Now, sugar is not a harmful substance but rather, a healthy part of our diet. It is delicious. And, the sweet flavor of sugar brings energy, boosts our senses and sometimes, even calms our emotions.

The sweet taste of sugar can be divided into three categories.

1. Full sweet – this is the flavor found in vegetables, seeds and nuts. It is strengthening and tonifying.

2. Empty sweet – this is mostly found in fruits and a few natural sweeteners. It has a cooling and cleansing effect.

3. Fractured sweet – this is often found in most artificial sweetener and refined sugars. It may give an irritable, scattered or nervous energy.

The sweet taste is considered as the most abundant flavor among various food sources. In fact, breast milk, the first and primary food source, is actually extremely sweet.

The area of taste buds located on both sides of the tongue is specifically stimulated by the sweet flavor. On top of that, it covers the largest area of your taste buds.

The active form of sugar in our body, the glucose, is the main energy source of the brain. In addition, natural sweet foods can have a strengthening and moisturizing effect on your tissues.

If you are feeling lightheadedness, it could be a sign of low blood sugar level. In every activity we do, our body is fueled by sugar for energy in order to sustain and complete our everyday activity.

When we take more sugar than what’s needed, the excess is stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. Once our sugar storage capacity is overloaded, the excess sugar will be stored in our fatty parts because it is a convenient storage for long-term use.

Sugar Consumption in USA

Sugar consumption and addiction for the past decades in USA has led to immense effect on the mental and physical health of the country. Although we need it, we should only consume a tiny fraction of what an average American takes today.

If you are taking about 2 to 3 pounds of sugar every week, that is about 130 pounds in a year. Twenty years ago, the average sugar intake was only 26 pounds a year.

More so, one hundred years ago, it was only 4 pounds a year. It is not surprising to know that cancer and cardiovascular diseases were non-existent during those times.

When we take too much sugar, the body becomes a storage facility but this is where most problem starts. When we take too much sweet foods, we feel thirsty, weak and congested.

Our immune system is weakened and we feel dehydrated. Based on traditional Chinese medicine, too much intake of sweets is believed to be damaging to the kidneys. It can also weaken the bones and cause obesity.

Why Are We Eating Enormous Amounts Of Sugar Nowadays?

Apparently, it is not that hard to because sugar is virtually in almost every food we see in the grocery stores and in the foods and beverages served in restaurants. Sugar and artificial sweetener are already in every single food we take and they are in astounding amounts.

Take it for instance, one can of soft drink contains 40 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 14 teaspoons.

What’s amazing is that it is found in some foods you wouldn’t expect such as cereals, breads, sauces, salad dressings and frozen goods – and surprising, they contain high amounts of sugar too.

Thus, our taste buds become accustomed to how everything tastes. The foods we ate today are super sweetened.

For this reason, any food we eat becomes tasteless and bland without it. Furthermore, unlike unrefined sugar, refined forms are broken down by our body quite differently due to its little mineral content.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of refinement process is that it makes sugar even sweeter. Artificial sweetener offers no useful benefit to the body but to just over-stimulate the brain, disrupting the normal brain activity.

Can You Get Addicted To Sugar?

Of course, it is perfectly normal to crave for sweets. Of all the five types of tastes that our taste buds can distinguish, sugar is by far the most detectable.

Nowadays, our sugar receptors are overly stimulated that you will crave for more sugar just to be satisfied. In fact, sugar can be like an addicting drug. And there are two reasons for this.

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine

First, because of the physiological processes that take place in our body when we eat something sweet. And then because of our brain, which begins to treat sweets as a reward.

According to a study conducted in 2013, sugar can stimulate reward and craving, which can be compared to the addiction caused by drugs.

If you can’t go thru a day without sweets, admit that you have a problem and move on to getting rid of sugar addiction.

How To Get Off Sugar Addiction?

Sugar cravings have a physical and mental component, so it is only right to get rid of both.

The first step is proper nutrition. When we get all the necessary foods in the diet, our body is satisfied, so to eliminate excessive use of sugar we should first eat properly.

As soon as the body is in check, we should focus on the psychological component of addiction and deal with the most demanding organ – the brain.

In order to get off sugar addiction, the most important thing, but also the most difficult, is to stop eating (and drinking) sweets for at least 4-5 days.

As soon as we add sugar in any form, we will want it even more, so it’s like putting out a fire with gasoline.

Only when we break the magical circle of desire for sweets, we can eat sweets in very small quantities, but not because of habit, but pleasure. Don’t think that this is as simple, sweet habits are hard to break, and we fall into it very easily.

It is very important to make a strategy on how to get off sugar addiction.

Read About The Effects Of Added Sugar Intake

Educate yourself about how important it is to reduce your intake of sugar. When you are aware of the health issues, it will be easier for you to go further.

Remove Yourself From Temptation

Remove sweets and everything sweet you like from the house. Everything from the pantry, drawers and secret places in the house must be removed.

I’m not saying you should throw away food in this time of crisis: NO. You can leave it out of your home or give it away. Do not rely on your strength of will to refrain from temptation. It can be very difficult and stressful.

Fool Your Brain

Instead of eating cake, you can do some completely different activity. Find a new habit that will eliminate the old one.

If you like to eat sweets while watching TV, maybe you shouldn’t watch TV at all. Find new pleasure, find a hobby unrelated to food.

Think And Plan

For many people, the intake of sweets is related to something, whether it is the time of day, a place or an event. When you end that relationship, you will not eat sweets.

For example: change the route from home, so do not walk past the candy shop. If you are planning to go to a party, come when they have already served and removed the cookies, or get up from the table before the sweets are served.

Find Healthy Alternatives To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

If you used to drink any sweet beverage with lunch, replace it with mineral or non-carbonated water. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil to coffee instead of cream, replace the cake with an apple …

Experiment with substitutions, because we all react somewhat differently. You have to like the alternative in order to survive withdrawal symptoms.

Avoid Foods With Hidden Sugars

Dextrose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), barley malt… Don’t be fooled, it’s all SUGAR! Low-fat yogurt, various sauces, ketchup, fruit juices, chocolate milk, ice tea – these are all foods with cleverly hidden sugars.

Also, avoid using other sweeteners, whether they are stevia, fructose, dextrose, sucralose or some of the bunch of artificial sweeteners. If you don’t know what’s in the product you took, put it back on the supermarket shelf.

What Happens When You Give Up Sugar?

When you have endured the first 4-5 days without eating sugar (the first two are real hell), your craving for sweets is significantly reduced, so if you can, push through the whole week.

Of course, during that week, you gradually adopt a healthy diet and get rid of bad habits. Keep eating as little sweets as possible until new habits replace the old ones.

Sugar addiction should become a thing of the past after about a month or two. During all that time, reconsider why you liked sweets at the first place. Is it because everyone likes sweets, because of some stressful situations, or maybe because you like to be rewarded?

If it is the last one, reward yourself in a better way, and I believe you will find a bunch of better ways to reward yourself.

Once you get rid of the sugar addiction, your taste for sweets can change, so your once favorite drink or cake can now be too sweet. Eliminating sugar or reducing your sugar intake is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. And it will significantly improve your health.

Moderation in everything is the basic goal of a proper diet, even in sweets if you like them. Greek poet Hesiod said, ‘observe due measure; moderation is best in all things’. Find your measure, don’t be a sugar addict!

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