What is sugar addiction and can you beat it?

What is sugar addiction and can you beat it?
brown and white sugar

Sugar addiction is a real thing.

Getty Images

If you think of one Substance addictionSugar is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. While some people online say that using the term “sugar addiction” scares many researchers agree that it is a real and harmful phenomenon.

You can’t even think about it twice Eat sugar, but sugar addiction has more interesting roots than it seems. Read on to find out why sugar is so addictive and how it ended up in almost all packaged and fast foods.

What exactly “sugar addiction” means

The American Psychiatric Association lists several key indicators of addiction, including high cravings for the drug, intoxication (an intense pleasure, calm or high), failed attempts to reduce substance use, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms after stopping substance use. All of this fits the sugar addiction bill.

sugar has addictive potential because it releases opioids and dopamine in the brain. Eat sugar too increases the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that gives us a “happy” feeling. Simply put, eating sugar causes chemical changes in the brain that make us feel good, and once that feeling wears off, we want more.


Usually, foods that you would call “junk food” – cookies, candy, potato chips, cheese balls and the like – are very tasty, which gives them their addictive qualities.

Getty Images

One of the main reasons why sugar is so addictive is that we feel like we can never eat enough (unless you are one of those with incredible self-control). This is because sugar is absorbed into the blood as glucose (Increasing our glucose level) but this sugar intake also causes it Release of insulinthat normalizes the glucose level. So eating sugar can become a vicious cycle in which we have to eat more once our glucose reaches a low level. This can turn into Sugar boost – a behavior that is common to sugar addiction.

After all, when people stop eating a high-sugar diet, it is they shown to experience typical symptoms of drug withdrawal. Sugar withdrawal symptoms This includes fatigue, headache, irritability, nervousness and the feeling of being depressed or depressed. Sugar withdrawal can also go hand in hand with a strong desire that will get you back on the sweet train right away.

Why are we addicted to sugar?

Perhaps you have now accepted that sugar addiction is not a joke, or even admitted that you at least have a little sugar addiction (I know I do) – but if it is so dangerously addictive, why are sugary foods so common? ?

One reason why we eat so many sugary products is because of the worldwide increase in sugar-rich fast food consumption. The fast food market was worth more than $ 539 billion in 2016 and is expected to exceed $ 690 billion in 2022. Not only the fast food economy is growing, but also the portions – an analysis of the portion sizes of 10 popular US fast food products showed that starters, side dishes and desserts increased significantly in size and calories from 1986 to 2016. Almost all fast food meals, including everything from a cheeseburger to a chipotle burrito bowl, contains a surprisingly high amount of sugar.


Every fast food meal is loaded with added sugar.

Oliver Berg / dpa / Corbis

But even if you cook for yourself most of the time, it’s still more difficult than you think to avoid sugar altogether. For starters, eat with Added sugar protects the wallet – a comprehensive study found that cereal and sugar food groups were cheaper than vegetables and fruit per calorie.

No matter where you shop – at a 7/11 or Whole Foods – almost all processed foods on the shelves contain additional sugar. Sugar is added to the food for different reason, including the fact that it just tastes good and sweetened foods have an almost universal appeal. Sugar also preserves foods such as jam and jelly, helps the bread to rise, acts as a filler in baked goods and balances the acidity of foods that contain tomatoes or vinegar – such as ketchup or BBQ sauce.

Even if you try to avoid obvious culprits like donuts and ice cream, sugar lurks in more staple foods than you might think. Foods that are often called “healthy”, such as fruit-flavored yogurt, muesli, dried fruit and canned soup contain a significant amount Added sugar.

Our uncontrollable sweet tooth wasn’t always like that

Two hundred years agoThe average American ate two pounds of sugar a year – today it’s up to 152 pounds a year. How did so much sugar get into our diet?

Unfortunately, American sugar addiction less than sweet roots. In the old days, sugar cane was a labor-intensive crop that had to be cut by hand and immediately harvested for juices. In 1795, a New Orleans farmer figured out how to granulate the first sugar crystals and it became a product that could last longer than a few days before spoiling. Sugar plantations emerged on both sides of the Mississippi River, so the spread of the sweet stuff became just another marker of the slave labor legacy in the United States.

The factors that have led to our state of sugar consumption are still interwoven with American history. During the 1920s and 1930s ban People turned to soda Replacing (or supplementing) their night hats and sugary drinks became a staple in the American diet. When prohibition ended, we were too addicted to soda to let go.

Cranberry cocktail

When we added alcohol to our drinks after the prohibition, we also kept the soda and the sugary juice.


The last straw was when the Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs published its in 1977 first edition of the nutrition guidelines for the United States. This report focused on curbing excessive fat intake, which was thought to directly cause a heart attack. Instead, Americans were encouraged to eat a high-carb diet instead, and so the low-fat craze was born.

The only problem is that when you take the fat out of food, it doesn’t taste as good. Therefore, food manufacturers started adding sugar to restore the palatability of their products. The Americans bought more fat-free yogurt, fat-free milk, and fat-free muffins – all loaded with tons of added sugar. A few decades later, we have a scientific consensus on the existence of sugar addiction.

In short, sugar addiction has its roots in the founding of the United States. Even if it’s hard to beat, it doesn’t mean we should stop trying. CNET will post stories during the week of May 25 to help you reduce your sugar intake. So keep checking back to find out more.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about an illness or health goals.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *