Is sugar addictive?
A wedge of rich, dark chocolate cake iced in thick, sweet ganache beckons.
Each bite melts onto the tongue, delivering a delightful rush and a feeling that all is well. Soon after the plate is empty, the mind wonders when the next piece may come along, inviting the question: Is sugar habit-forming?
In medical terms, a substance is addictive if it:
• induces a pleasant state or relieves distress,
• causes long-term chemical changes in the brain,
• leads to adaptive changes in the brain that trigger tolerance, physical dependence and uncontrollable cravings,
• causes dependence, so that abstaining is difficult and creates severe physical and mental reactions.
Specifically, in analyzing how rats react to sugar consumption, scientists have found similarities to the response to drugs like heroin and cocaine. When humans and rats eat sweets, their brain levels of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that regulates reward and is at the heart of many addictive behaviors) increases.
DO YOU HAVE A BLOOD SUGAR PROBLEM ?
ARE YOU INSULIN RESISTANT AND ON YOUR WAY TO BECOMING A DIABETIC? THE MORE OF THE SYMPTOMS YOU SAY YES TO BELOW, THE MORE YOU NEED HELP WITH YOUR BLOOD SUGAR.
– Eat when nervous
– Excessive appetite
– Hungry between meals
– Irritable before meals
– Get shaky if hungry
– Fatigue, eating relieved
– Lightheaded if meals delayed
– Heart palpitates if meals missed or delayed
– Afternoon headaches
– Overeating sweets upsets
– Awaken after few hours sleep, hard to get back to sleep
– Crave candy, carbohydrates or coffee in afternoons
– Moods of depression, blues or melancholy
– Abnormal craving for sweets or snacks
Sugar cravings are a real problem for many of us. They can cause much frustration as well as feelings of low self-worth as we give in to those cravings.
Here are just 10 of many reasons why sugar is so bad for you …
1. Sugar causes blood glucose to spike and plummet.
Unstable blood sugar often leads to mood swings, fatigue, headaches and cravings for more sugar.
2. Sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Large-scale studies have shown that the more high-glycaemic index foods a person consumes (those that quickly affect blood sugar), including foods containing sugar, the higher their risk for becoming obese and for developing diabetes and heart disease and cancer.
3. Sugar interferes with immune function.
Animal studies have shown that sugar suppresses immune response.
4. A high-sugar diet often results in chromium deficiency.
If you consume a lot of sugar and other refined carbohydrates, you probably don’t get enough of the trace mineral chromium, and one of chromium’s main functions is to help regulate blood sugar. Chromium is found in a variety of animal foods, seafood and plant foods. Refining starches and other carbohydrates rob these foods of their chromium supplies so think wholegrain!
5. Sugar accelerates ageing.
It even contributes to that telltale sign of ageing: sagging skin. Probably another reason ever-young celebrities like Yasmin LeBon steer clear of the sweet stuff. Some of the sugar you consume, after hitting your bloodstream, ends up attaching itself to proteins, in a process called glycation. These new molecular structures contribute to the loss of elasticity found in aging body tissues, from your skin to your organs and arteries. The more sugar circulating in your blood, the faster this damage takes hold.
6. Sugar causes tooth decay.
With all the other life-threatening effects of sugar, we sometimes forget the most basic damage it does. When it sits on your teeth, it creates decay more efficiently than any other food substance, and all the money in the world can’t reverse this process.
7. Sugar can cause gum disease, which can lead to heart disease.
Increasing evidence shows that chronic infections, such as those that result from periodontal problems, play a role in the development of coronary artery disease.
8. Sugar affects behavior in children.
It is believed that one trigger of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be consumption of sugar. All high Gi foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, which causes a temporary surge of energy and at the same time, hyperactivity. Soon after this energy surge comes a dip in energy, with the end result being hypoglycaemia. This will inevitably lead to fatigue, irritability, poor sleeping habits and lack of concentration.
9. Sugar increases stress.
When we’re under stress, our stress hormone levels rise. These chemicals are the body’s fight-or-flight emergency crew, sent out to prepare the body for an attack or an escape. These chemicals are also called into action when blood sugar is low.
10. Sugar takes the place of important nutrients.
According to nutrition scientists, research has shown that people who consume the most sugar have the lowest intakes of essential nutrients –– especially vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B-12, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Ironically, those who consume the most sugar are children and teenagers, the individuals who need these nutrients most.
Now that you know the negative impacts refined sugar can have on your body and mind, you’ll want to be more careful about the foods you choose. And the first step is getting educated about where sugar is hiding and laced into. Believe it or not, a food doesn’t even have to taste all that sweet for it to be loaded with sugar.
When it comes to convenience and packaged foods, let the ingredients label be your guide, and be aware that just because something boasts that it is low in carbs or a ‘diet’ food, doesn’t mean it’s free of sugar.
Don’t let sugar take over and ruin your life. Sugar is so powerful. Large manufacturers today aren’t helping us live full, happy, heathy lives .. stop contributing to those companies that are more concerned about making money than making the world a better place – capitalism is truly ruining us. Start to make the change – thats all it takes – you cant change others but you can change you and hope that your changes are so noticeable that people want what you have and will naturally follow in your footsteps. Lets do this. Quitting sugar is not easy while you go through withdrawals – this will normally take around 3 weeks and will come to pass – I am on day 16 no sugar and feel better than ever .. come join me … you wont regret it.