Some time ago I was curious about why did I ever crave for food even when I was full. I would never say no to an ice-cream or a dessert even after food. Tea without sugar never gave me a kick and tea with sugar was like an energy boost. At first I thought, I was badly addicted to caffaine but then later when I started adding less table sugar I observed that sugar less tea or coffee never gave me a boost. So, I researched! I like to research when the issue is with me, and thanks Google and Bing for giving me what I want.
I found out that sugar is an agent which gives the same signal which cocaine gives to the brain. Remember the famous word DOPE? Its derived from the chemical agent Dopamine which is released by the body which then goes to the brain and starts making you addicted. Narcotic Drugs like Cocaine, Heroine and many more makes the body release cocaine. Here’s your Surprise! SUGAR also generates high amount of Dopamine in your body. Thus, making you ADDICTIVE to Sugar.
Sugar addiction doesn’t mean craving for table sugar itself. It’s a craving which makes you choose your food with high level of sugar. The brain is smart, it analyses the dopamine craving and makes you choose certain foods that will suit its requirements. Like a sugar craving will lead you to a have juices, extra cheese pizza, Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav, Samosa, and all foods with high level of starch. When you crave for sugar, you don’t look for leafy vegetables. You look for potato or any high fat and high sugar food varients.
The worst part of sugar addiction is that people don’t know that they are addicted. They feel that they are hungry and just prefer junk food instead of healthy homemade food.
Here’s what Doctor Robert Lustig wrote in ‘The Atlantic’: “The brain’s pleasure center, called the nucleus accumbens, is essential for our survival as a species… When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more. The problem is that with prolonged exposure, the signal attenuates, gets weaker. So you have to consume more to get the same effect — tolerance. And if you pull back on the substance, you go into withdrawal. Tolerance and withdrawal constitute addiction.” Dr. Lustig is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California.
Apart from the addiction of Sugar caused from Dopamine, addiction to sugar also comes from Harmone Leptin. This type of addiction tells the brain how energy stored as fat is to be used. It targets taste receptors in the tongue which tells you if you are craving more or less.
Let’s see the negative effects of Sugar;
- Sugar addiction causes Behavioral changes in a person. Anxiety, Hyperactivity, Adrenaline Rush, Drowsiness, Crankiness and decreased activity in children. It causes learning disorders in children. Addiction also leads to Alcoholism and Depression.
- Addiction to Sugar causes Sickness. Sugar feeds cancer cells and induces cell death. Intake of sugar plays one of the major roles in development of Kidney stone and Gallstones. If sugar absorption is done rapidly by your body then it leads to excessive food intake. High Sugar promotes allergies. Excessive sugar leads to many diseases like atherosclerosis (and other cardiovascular diseases), cataracts, emphysema, obesity. It promotes or gives a boost diseases like arthritis, chronic degenerative diseases, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, Parkinson’s disease, Gum disease, Toxima in pregnancy, and many more.
- Sugar brings negative effects to your body. Have you ever realized that sugar promotes ageing? If you are ageing fast blame your sugar addiction. You need to bring it low starting now. Also, your immune system decreases, there is tissue loss which makes you body loose its elasticity, eye-sight gets weaker, and many more. High intake of sugar also brings harmonal imbalance.
After, I found out the above I have been cutting sugar. But it seems that cutting sugar is even tougher than quitting nicotine or alcohol. I have been skipping tea, high calorie and high sugar food items (such as ice-creams, sweets and desserts) and avoiding junk food. When I try to control, I crave like an an addict and i start getting dizzy. Its just difficult. I sometimes feel a person just doesn’t eat just to fill his stomach but he eats also to stop the craving.
Choosing an extra cheese pizza, an ice cream, eating sweets, jalebi’s, to eat is not a matter of choice for many people like me but it’s a matter of craving. When there is a bowl of ice-cream and plate of main course served together, do you think of tasting the ice-cream first? If yes, you are a sugar addict. If not then may be you generally like sweets or have more food than required which means you are a sugar addict.
My personal request to you is, reduce the intake of sugar and try to realize your addiction and bring it in control.
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as shown in the below video, will assist you in controlling emotional behavioral shifts like anxiety and much more caused by sugar craving.
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An Airline Professional cum Hotelier who likes blogging, writing and bringing awareness.