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The Problem with Sugar

July 5, 2019 by

When you think of the word “addiction”, what comes to mind?

Probably cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol, right?

Well, what about sugar?

Sugar is actually one of the most harmful and most addictive substances that people consume. Not only is it directly related to so many diseases, it is also extremely hard to avoid.

The average person consumes almost 18 teaspoons of sugar every day, which is more than 5 teaspoons higher than what the U.S. Dietary Guidelines tells us to eat. About three quarters of packaged or processed foods that are sold in our grocery stores have added sugar in them, including everyday foods such as cereal, fruit juices, and snacks. Sugar is even present in packaged children’s food and baby formula, meaning children are getting addicted to it at a very young age.

Avoiding sugar isn’t as easy as one may think. It isn’t just about not eating dessert, the dressing that you put on your healthy salad is likely loaded with sugar if you bought it at the store and pizza sauce is high in sugar as well. Sugar hides behind over 60 different names on food labels, which may be tricky to pick out if you don’t know what you are looking for. The most common names include sucrose, glucose, maltose. and high-fructose corn syrup.

So why is sugar addictive? Eating sugar activates the reward center of your brain by releasing dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that controls feelings of pleasure. This means that eating sugar makes you feel good, so you want to eat it often to get that feeling back once it is lost. However, the more sugar you eat, the weaker your body’s dopamine signals become because your body gets used to the feeling. This means that you need to eat more sugar to achieve the level of pleasure that you were once able to get from just a little bit. This results in a sugar addiction–which is why manufacturers add so much sugar to their products. The more they add, the more you will buy.

In fact, studies have found that sugar produces more symptoms than it is required to in order to legally be considered an addictive substance. It has the same effects on people as drugs, including craving, tolerance, bingeing, symptoms of withdrawal, and cross-dependence. In fact, other studies have shown that intermittent bingeing on sugar and abusing drugs are both able to increase one’s extracellular dopamine in the brain.

There are many ways in which eating sugar can ruin your health, both in the short and long term. Eating too much sugar can quickly lead to weight gain and increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. It can also increase your risk of developing metabolic disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Consuming too much sugar may also cause an imbalance in your hormones–estrogen and testosterone–which can lead to acne, infertility, and an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.

You do need to consume some sugar. You have to have a healthy level of glucose in your body in order for your brain to properly function and to maintain your metabolism. However, this is just a small amount. Women’s bodies only need 6 teaspoons of sugar each day and men only need 9 teaspoons in order to maintain the best brain and metabolic function. But remember, you can get this sugar from eating natural fruits, dairy, and vegetables.

When you fill your body with processed foods that contain sugar, it is taking the place of eating whole, healthy foods that your body needs in order to function properly. You can turn back the damage that you may have caused your body by eating too much sugar by choosing a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. If you already have heart disease, diabetes, or another disease that was caused by eating excess amounts of sugar, talk to your doctor in order to develop a healthy diet and exercise plan. If you think you have a sugar addiction, the best thing to do is to stay away from sweets entirely. Simply don’t buy them.

While it can be tough to pass up a warm cookie for dessert or a piece of cake at a party, once you replace these foods with more fruits and vegetables, you will notice the changes in your body and see how toxic sugar has been to your health.

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