Today’s topic is super important and so, I’m going to get right to it.
There have been various studies showing how addictive sugar is. Some even suggest that sugar is 7x more addictive than cocaine and even heroin.
In fact, if sugar is combined with another food type or macronutrient, it’s even MORE addictive… and I’ll talk about this in another article.
Now, these studies were done on rats, not humans.
However, I don’t think anyone can deny that sugar is very tasty and can have an addictive quality to it.
Now personally, I’m not into sugary foods. I never crave sugar. I’m more of a salty food kind of person.
However, if I do have something with sugar, even though I don’t naturally crave it, I do notice myself still continuing to eat it, even when I’m full.
And if I start to have sugar often, I start to think about it more.
Something that would never happen if I was eating a vegetable for example or even some protein like beef or chicken.
Even fruit has its limits and contains lots of natural sugars.
Scientific Research on Sugar
Now, the rat study basically showed that 94% of the rats, preferred sugar over cocaine.
What is super interesting is the study also showed the rats preferred sugar OR saccharin, an artificial sweetener – over cocaine.
So, it’s not just about the actual sugar calories or molecules attaching to different receptors in the body and the brain, but the actual taste of something sweet, even when it’s fake and artificial.
Thus, something sweet is even more addictive than the actual sugar molecule.
This is one of the reasons I tell people to stay away from artificial sweeteners.
And if you didn’t know, as sugar levels go up, so does your insulin hormone and this leads to so many health problems — heart problems, blood pressure problems, memory loss, weight gain, muscle loss, impotence, fatigue, accelerated aging of your cells, and on and on.
Controlling your blood sugar is a major key to living a healthier and longer life and it’s super hard to do this if you keep eating addictive sugar every day.
Why Does Sugar Taste So Good?
Now, why is sugar so addictive?… because when you eat sugar and something sweet, both opioids and dopamine are released.
Opioids are like heroin and have morphine-like effects and thus, help reduce pain. Physical OR emotional.
And dopamine is a neurotransmitter and basically, a pleasure chemical – which is how cocaine works.
So sugar interacts with BOTH of these chemicals and receptors, both PAIN and PLEASURE and this is one reason it’s so addictive.
It works on both of these powerful forces at the same time!
They work on the reward centers in your body, which can lead to compulsive behavior, despite the negative consequences – which is what an addiction is.
In this case with sugar, it would be all the health problems that I just mentioned, such as weight gain.
You know it’s bad for you, but you keep doing it and can’t stop — THIS is the problem with sugar.
It’s hard to control an addiction with just willpower.
How Do I Stop Taking Sugar?
So the point of today’s topic is that it may NOT be your fault you keep eating sugary foods, they’re addictive and the food industry knows this.
However, now that you know this, it IS your responsibility to take action.
You need to pay attention to the foods you eat and read the labels and do your best to slowly reduce the added sugars in your diet.
Just like a drug, I do NOT suggest you stop cold turkey. It’s just insane and very hard to do with food, especially sugar since it’s in almost everything these days.
Of course, there are lots of hidden sugars in the foods when you eat out. That we can’t control as much. But here’s what you CAN control…
Soft drinks and juices are loaded with sugars. So are many of the coffee and energy drinks people consume.
Read labels and look for words such as
- Sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, or anything similar is all just sugar.
- Glucose or sucrose, dextrose, maltose, or anything with an ending of an “-ose” is sugar.
- Any “syrup” is a sugar.
The less sugar you consume, the less your body will crave, and slowly over time you won’t need or desire it as much.
In addition to lowering your sugar intake, you need to start improving your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
By doing this, your body will also crave less sugar and decrease or destroy that sugar addiction much faster, while also making you healthier.
Again, please pay attention to the foods you eat, read the labels, and visit the links to support healthy blood sugar and decrease your sugar cravings.