Why Are You Addicted To Sugar?
Our body loves sugar; eventually the food we consume turns to glucose (a fancy word for sugar) and that is what feeds and energizes our cells.
But processed sugar (white sugar and the sweeteners found in packaged foods), doesn't have to go through the process that turns it to glucose, so it is super fast energy and doesn't contain any of the other nutrients we need to feed our body.
And then there are high-carbohydrate foods. Bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, and beans all convert quickly to glucose in the digestive process with little other added nutritional value. American diets emphasize these foods, perhaps because they are cheap to mass produce and they fill a belly quickly. But they don't keep a belly full or energize a body for long.
If our cavepeople ancestors found berries or a honey-filled beehive, they could gorge themselves and experience an energy high that was unlike the response to eating meat or wild, leafy greens. But have you ever heard the saying, "what goes up must come down"?
When you eat sugar, your blood sugar level skyrockets and you get a burst of energy, followed by the famed "sugar crash". Your body then craves more quick energy, aka sugar (or carbs) in order to pick your energy back up. This puts you on an energetic seesaw that yanks your digestive system up and down.
You'll crave sugar whenever your energy level starts to drop.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
A study by Natural Society found that Americans currently consume 70 grams of fructose each day, which is a shocking 300% above the daily recommended amount. That doesn't even account for the carb-heavy diet most of us are eating, which adds more fast sugar and little nutrition.
Check a food label today and you will find sugar in essentially all of your food and drink, usually under one or more of these names: sucrose, fructose, dextrose, galactose, or maltose.
One thing is certain, our systems are overloaded.
It's no wonder rates of obesity and diabetes (eg. the sugar disease) are on the rise.
Our brain works on reward system.
Eating is a primal act that carries a lot of emotional weight. By the time we reach adolescence and into adulthood, feeding ourselves becomes a process rife with emotional and social baggage. The messages in our brains create a positive or negative feedback loop about our hunger, what we crave, and how to respond to hunger urges.
When we give ourselves a "treat", our brain receives the pleasure hormone dopamine. In fact, Eric Stice, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute has used fMRI scans to show that sugar consumption activates the same brain regions that are activated when a person consumes drugs like cocaine. In addition, he found that people who consumer large amounts of sugar develop tolerance (needing more and more to feel the same effect), which is a symptom of substance dependence.
Your brain is using habit and reward to convince you to eat sugar!
Why kick your sugar addiction?
- Sugar consumption is inflammatory, which negatively impacts your vital organs and messes up your immune system response.
- Bacteria and yeast feed on sugar, too, so your risk of contracting infections rises with sugar consumption.
- Sugars in your blood attach to protein, which in some combinations causes the skin to lose elasticity and leads to premature aging.
- Sugar can rot your teeth and gums
- Long-term overconsumption is strongly correlated to heart disease.
- Frequent overconsumption of sugar drives up your blood sugar level and can lead to insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes.