Addiction: Compulsive need for and use of habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and well-defined psychological symptoms upon withdrawal
You’ve probably heard about people being addicted to hard-core drugs, like cocaine and heroine, or alcohol. Rarely, however, do you hear about people being addicted to sugar. After all, we all need a certain amount of sugar to survive, unlike other drugs. Furthermore, sugar comes from the food that we eat, so there’s no way that it can be compared to something as harmful as heroine… right?
It turns out that excessive sugar consumption creates your dopamine levels to elevate, much like tobacco and morphine. As you continue to satisfy your sweet-tooth, your need for sugar will increase over time, which means that you’ll need to consume higher doses to feel satisfied. Now that is quite a vicious cycle.
Keep in mind that sugar – as it’s consumed in small quantities – is not a huge concern. The problem is that most of us have simply exceeded the amount of sugar that we should be eating.
Is sugar really addictive?
Several studies have been done over the years to showcase the effects of sugar as it relates to the human addiction. Unfortunately, the majority of those studies either contradict one another or are inconclusive.
On one hand, some studies suggest that sugar addiction is a psychological dependency instead of a biochemical one. In other words, such studies claim that it’s up to you to rationally decide whether or not you eat sugar. It’s not something that your body is telling you that you need to have.On the other hand, several studies claim the complete opposite.
Although I can’t prove with a 100% certainty that sugar is addictive, I want you to ask you to refer back to the definition I wrote about addiction at the top of this page. Then, ask yourself the following questions…
Does your body crave something sweet the majority of the day?
After you get those cravings, is it easy to ignore them?
Or do you eventually give in and satisfy them?
Whenever you don’t eat sugar, do you feel odd? Out of energy? Moody? Anxious?
If the answer is yes, you might want to reevaluate your sugar intake.
How do I battle my sugar addiction?
Well, don’t try anything too dramatic, such as eliminating all types of sugar from your diet. Instead, try to change your eating habits on a daily basis. Start by substituting artificial sweets for healthier ones. Then, reduce those healthy sweets to the point where you’re eating the set amount that your body actually needs.
If you’re having cravings, I suggest you read one of my previous blogs about satisfying them in a healthier manner.
How do I know if a food item has sugar?
I know that it’s time consuming, but please read the nutrition facts of the food that you’re buying. The majority of foods will not have ‘sugar’ listed. You see, companies are smart, so they know how that if they list sugar as one of the ingredients… you probably won’t buy.
Instead, companies like to add words like brown rice syrup and dextrose, which is basically sugar.
Here is a list of ingredients you should look at to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sugars.
So, should I eat fruit instead?
Even though fruit is a healthier option, it’s still sugar.
It bothers me when people think they’re doing the right thing by eating two or three apples instead of a couple of cookies. In reality, they’re not changing anything. They’re still consuming a large amount of sugar that’s probably going to end up as weight gain.
If I experience sugar withdrawals, what do I do?
Give it a little time.
Your body is going to take some time to adjust to the changes. It’s normal to feel out of sorts, because you’re not feeding your body the high-levels of sugar that it’s used to. If you’re truly not feeling well, speak to your doctor… but keep in mind that it’s all part of the detox process.
I truly hope you learned a little bit more about sugar through this blog post. Sugar can be addictive. Trust me, I’ve experienced it first-hand. Just like everything else, if it’s not consumed in moderation, it can affect how you feel and how your body functions.
What is your personal experience with sugar? Do you crave it? Have you been able to get rid of it?
I want to know!