Remember the time, you had a major sugar craving, and you devoured that huge piece of cake. You felt as if you needed to eat something sweet, even though you weren’t hungry. Do you feel cranky sometimes if you don’t have sugar soon? If so, its time to understand that sugar addiction is real!!
Have you observed that after a long and stressful day, often a small piece of chocolate instantly brightens our mood. Sometimes, a candy bar is all that takes to stop a crying child. How is sugar bringing all this happiness along with it?
To answer in one word- Dopamine!!
How does addiction happen.
All that happiness and pleasure happens in our body after eating sugar happens for a reason. When an individual engages in a behavior that the brain perceives as beneficial to survival, it produces a chemical signal called dopamine. The brain uses it as a reward system to make certain behaviors as a habit to our body. And the release of dopamine is highly linked to any kind of addiction.
When one consumes drugs or alcohol, dopamine starts its work in our brain and tricks it into believing that drugs are necessary and important for human survival. Over time, the brain loses its ability to produce its own dopamine and depends on substances to create it. This is how addiction happens.
The same thing happens, during the intake of sugar. Sugar spikes the dopamine release just after its consumption. In the long term, our brain gets used to this effect, thus stopping the release of dopamine naturally. It begins to consider sugar as an essential for our survival and thus begins an endless cycle of sugar cravings. This is very similar to what happens in the body of a drug-addict.
The reason why we find it hard to resist the urge to eat a piece of cake or have a bite of chocolate is the same. Our body begins to demand it from us.
Effects of Sugar addiction
A study done by American Diabetes Association on 24 obese adolescents  shows that, ingestion of sugar reduces the passage of blood towards of the executive region of the brain which is responsible to activate, organize, integrate and manage functions in our body. On the other hand, it increases activity in the “reward” or “pleasure” centers that further leads to addiction.
It has also been found that sugar can exert a powerful influence over behavior, hence making it very difficult for our body to stop its consumption. If one tries to quit a high sugar diet, then they have been found to experience major withdrawal effects. These include high level of sugar cravings, behavioral problems and even anxiety. Although it varies from person to person.
Just as it is difficult for a drug-addict to quit the addiction, at once. Similarly, one cannot quit sugar all at once. It is better to cut back on sugar slowly, so that the body can get used to it. Not to forget that still, it is pretty difficult to quit.
If your sweet tooth is overpowering you, then maybe it’s time to have a reality check. Let’s have a look at the symptoms, that happens:
- You are beginning to reward yourself with sweets.
- Increase in cravings for sugary drinks, such as cola.
- Binge-eating of sugary food at night or when you are alone.
- It’s hard for you to resist anything sweet.
If you are one of the above people, then it’s time for you to take a step back, because sugar has started controlling you now. Try reducing your sugar intake slowly, day by day. Resist those urges, because not only is it addictive, but as we know has many health repercussions as well. Research done by NCBI  has also found that heavy sugar consumption leads to an increased risk of depression and other mental health problems as well.
Obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and heart troubles being some others that we already know of. But the list doesn’t end here. It goes on.
If we think about it, who knew that this sweet little thing can cause such havoc in our life. It may feel as if that a tiny cupcake won’t make trouble for now, but it reeks of addiction. Sugar is a necessary component in our diet, it is what gives us energy. But this doesn’t mean that we become dependent on it.
Remember after every sugar rush, there is a sugar low.