What’s the deal with Sugar? Why are we Addicted?

We have all heard how bad sugar is for us. Let’s look into why that is and how we are all so addicted to it.

Sugar, put simply, is a sweet yet addictive carb. “Sugar consumption can create a short-term high and a spark of energy in the body. Some studies have suggested sugar is as addictive as cocaine. People often enjoy the dopamine release sugar brings. However, due to the addictive nature of sugar, long-term health effects like obesity and diabetes are a risk of sugar overindulgence. Similar to other compulsions or behavioral addictions, sugar addiction is a special risk for people with low moods, anxiety and stress. (Addiction Center)

Here is a video of how sugar affects the brain

Let’s look at some of the ways sugar can harm our bodies. We all know eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, acne, and diabetes, but did you know that sugar also feeds cancer, causes mood problems, and puts us more at risk for heart disease? Here are 11 ways sugar harms our bodies.

Sugar obviously leads to tooth decay as well. It lowers the pH in our mouths which makes it more acidic. Acid harms the enamel on our teeth making it easier to get cavities. Check out this article for more about how sugar leads to tooth decay.

There are many types of sugars. Typical table sugar is sucrose. There is also fructose and glucose. Did you know that sugar can also hide under 56 different names in food products? Check out that link for some of the names you many not recognize. Sugar is hidden in most of our processed foods, from bran flakes cereal to bbq sauce, peanut butter and salad dressings. It is also found in many snack foods and other processed foods like pasta sauces. There are many natural fruits that contain sugar as well. However, when you eat the whole fruit you also ingest fiber which slows the release of the sugar into the blood stream, maintaining blood sugars compared to eating a sugary food without the fiber.

The food industry is a business and needs to make money. They are quite good at getting people addicted to our foods. Whether it be in the form of added chemicals, flavorings or sugars. It is a good idea at first to always read the labels and to know what you are looking for. Try to avoid as much processed food as possible. Look out for when food products claim to have “low fat.” The fat is probably replaced by sugar under a hidden name.

How much sugar do we eat? “The average person in the United States consumes around 17 teaspoons, or 71.14 grams, of added sugar per day, which far exceeds recommended limits. A gram (g) of sugar contains about 4 calories, which means that many people consume almost 270 calories a day from added sugar alone.” (Medical News Today)

There is so much more information on the harmful effects of sugar. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to read more about it. And now you know why it is so hard to just eat one cookie!


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