Always feel that your meal is incomplete without a dessert? Then perhaps it’s time you started thinking about whether you are addicted to sugar. Surely, one ice cream, one piece of pudding, or a slice of cake cannot turn out to be something so bad, right?
However, evidence suggests that sugar releases opioids and dopamine in the body which might be expected to be addictive in nature. This could turn out to be a natural form of addiction. Sometimes the foods that we don’t associate with sugar turn into sugars in our bodies.
Hence, it is better to be aware of the symptoms of sugar addiction and take precautions. Here are the signs of sugar addiction you should be aware of.1
If you attracted to sweet foods, and feel like you cannot resist it at any time, then perhaps you have sugar cravings. Sometimes, you feel the irresistible urge to go looking for something sweet to satisfy your needs. This is because sugar addiction is comparable to drug addiction.
Scientific research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute addictive drugs like cocaine but can be even more rewarding and attractive. This is why people get addicted to sweet foods without realizing it. If you feel those pangs, try to control it and find healthier alternates.2
2. Alcohol Dependence
If you are sure that you don’t have a sweet tooth, think again. You may be surprised to know that if there is a family history of alcohol dependence, then you are at a significant risk of developing a sweet tooth and eating disorders. Research suggests that specific genes may underlie the sweet preference in alcohol and drug-dependent individuals, as well as in biological children of paternal alcoholics.
So, if you have any history of alcoholism or are an alcoholic yourself, then you should give a thought to whether it is sugar addiction.3
3. Symptoms Of Withdrawal
You might be going through withdrawal symptoms from sugar addiction without realizing it. If you have tried to stop the consumption of sweet foods and felt moody, irritable or a feeling a little down in general, then it may be sugar withdrawal symptoms. Studies suggest the effects of sugar addiction, withdrawal, and relapse are similar to those of drugs.
Hence, you may wonder why you are suffering from some strange feelings just because you decided to go on a sugar-free diet. Know your limits and chalk out a healthy balanced diet as the body can tolerate sugar only in limited quantities4
4. Weight Gain
You may be perfectly healthy by being on a balanced diet and also working out. Despite all this, if you still find that you are gaining weight, then perhaps sugar is the culprit. But, if you are not eating any sweet foods and have sworn to not touch them, then where is the body getting sugar from? Keep an eye out for any sweetened beverages that you may be consuming.5
They are as harmful as eating sugar, and even the carbohydrates and fats ultimately get converted to sugar. There is experimental evidence to indicate that a greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain and obesity. So, your little indulgence may be your undoing.6
5. Binge Eating
Clinical studies suggest that bingeing causes repeated, excessive dopamine (DA) release and opioid stimulation that is followed, during abstinence. This progressive change enhances the likelihood of relapse. This also means that you could get into bouts of binge eating, unable to stop yourself.
You may try to stop it but you cannot abstain. In fact, abstinence induces increased motivation to relapse. Especially, sweet binge eating is linked to body weight gain.7
Now, are you sure you are not addicted to sugar? Replace sweet foods with healthier alternatives. The habit of sugar addiction will take a while to break, but you have to start somewhere.
|↑1||Avena, Nicole M., Pedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel. “Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 32, no. 1 (2008): 20-39.|
|↑2||Ahmed, Serge H., Karine Guillem, and Youna Vandaele. “Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 16, no. 4 (2013): 434-439.|
|↑3||Fortuna, Jeffrey L. “Sweet preference, sugar addiction and the familial history of alcohol dependence: shared neural pathways and genes.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 42, no. 2 (2010): 147-151.|
|↑4||Wideman, C. H., G. R. Nadzam, and H. M. Murphy. “Implications of an animal model of sugar addiction, withdrawal and relapse for human health.” Nutritional neuroscience 8, no. 5-6 (2005): 269-276.|
|↑5, ↑6||Malik, Vasanti S., Matthias B. Schulze, and Frank B. Hu. “Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 84, no. 2 (2006): 274-288.|
|↑7||Hoebel, Bartley G., Nicole M. Avena, Miriam E. Bocarsly, and Pedro Rada. “A Behavioral and Circuit Model Based on Sugar Addiction in Rats.” Journal of addiction medicine 3, no. 1 (2009): 33.|