Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Experts agree that sugar might be just as addictive as cocaine. Can you believe it?
We reward kids with it over the holidays or for a job well done. We reward ourselves with it after a particularly stressful day or to celebrate a birthday or special occasion. We add it to our coffee, bake our favorite treats with it and spoon it over breakfast. We love the sweet stuff. We crave it. But are we addicted to it?
What is a Sugar Addiction?
Eating sugar releases opioids and dopamine in our bodies. This is the link between added sugar and addictive behavior.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a key part of the "reward circuit" associated with addictive behavior. When a certain behavior causes an excess release of dopamine, you feel a pleasurable "high" that you are inclined to re-experience, and so repeat the behavior.
As you repeat the behevior more and more, your brain adjusts to release less dopamine. The only way to feel the same "high" as before is to repeat the behavior in increasing amounts and frequency (aka substance misuse).
Sugar activates the opiate receptors in our brain and affects the reward center, which leads to compulsive behavior, despite the negative consequences.
You may think sugar addiction is something that only has side effects such as obesity. The truth is, there are many other dangers related to being addicted to sugar. These dangers can cause a variety of health issues in your daily life.
In fact, you may not even realize what foods and sources of sugar are causing your addiction, or at the very least contributing to it.
Here are a few dangers to consider, where the hidden sources may be located, and what to do to reduce each danger risk.
When you eat a large amount of sugar your brain reacts to that sugar. This can cause a number of reactions, including energy bursts. When this happens, your regulators are dulled over time. This means that you are not feeling the full effects of the sugar and what it is doing to your system. It also means that more and more sugar is needed overtime to get you the energy you need or the reaction you once had to the original amounts of sugar. When you do not have the amounts of sugar your body has now become used to, you end up with a migraine headache. If you already get headaches, you may notice a severe increase in these headaches and the headaches getting worse.
Hypertension is a severe danger with a sugar addiction. This danger refers to the increased amount of high blood pressure in the system. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and circulation issues throughout the body. It can also cause your blood vessels to become smaller and narrower which affects your entire body and the blood flow through it. By reducing just a small amount of sugar, for example omitting sugary drinks, you can avoid this danger and reduce the risks.
3. Metabolic Issues
One of the dangers that most people do not consider are the effects sugar addictions have on your metabolic system. These dangers include fat deposits in your cells that can cause problems with obesity, weight loss and problems with the way certain cells function in your body. It also causes fat deposits in the blood which can make circulation and blood flow difficult, especially with hypertension dangers that may already be present.
These are the most common dangers. There are many other dangers to consider. If you feel that you or a family member has a sugar addiction, consider taking steps to remove or reduce sugar content in your daily diet, like hiring a health coach and nutritionist, and get your health back on track.