Is Sugar Addiction Real?
Is sugar addiction a real thing?
Animal studies have proven that sugar addiction is very real. As a former addict myself, I can attest that it is real in humans as well.
Our brains are hardwired to love sweet. The pleasure center in your brain becomes activated just anticipating a sugary treat. Sweet triggers the reward system of your brain through the production of a brain chemical called dopamine.
There are genetic variants of the chemical dopamine where some individuals require more of a substance to feel pleasure. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these genetic variations successfully, but for those who don’t know they have it, addictive tendencies to sugar or drugs, is more prevalent.
It’s an insidious cycle of craving, but in order to satiate the craving more food, sugar or drugs is required. If this is you, let me know. We can work with your genetics.
If we could stop after eating just a little sugar it would be fine, but the reward center needs more and more to be satisfied, hence cravings and the addictive nature of sugar.
Sugar is more addictive than cocaine
Sugar has been proven to as addictive as drugs such as cocaine or heroin. But unlike illegal drugs, sugar is everywhere and it’s cheap to access.
It may sound unbelievable but sugar is MORE addictive than cocaine. They’ve performed studies on animals where they get them hooked on cocaine and then offer them sugar. Not only will the animals switch to the sugar and away from the cocaine, but they’ll work much harder to get the sugar, willingly.
Is your child addicted to sugar?
As a parent it’s good to observe if your child exhibits withdrawal symptoms if you have them avoid sugar for a couple of days.
- Mood changes such as irritability
- Change in activity level, including lethargy or overactivity
Artificial sweeteners are not a solution
I’ve always said if I were forced to choose I’d pick sugar over artificial sweeteners in a heartbeat. With everything we’ve just reviewed regarding the dangers of sugar, you likely appreciate I’d rather not have to make that choice, but artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar.
They alter the gut microbiome in dangerous ways, are known to affect the nervous system, and are linked to obesity because they result in you ingesting more calories.
Stevia, which is not artificial, seems to be a fairly safe choice but you should consume it in a product that is 100% stevia, not the “new” variants that blend Stevia with other alcohol sugars that are not healthy.
Stevia, IN MODERATION, seems safe. Just don’t overdo it and over-stimulate your sweet receptors. My favorite company is SweetLeaf. I have no vested interest in this company. I have found their liquid drops to not have the bitter aftertaste so common in the powder.
Are sugar cravings affecting you or your child?
If you crave sugar a lot you can think it’s “just you”. I understand because I was that way myself.
I’ve had many patients look at me with disbelief when I’ve told them that we can successfully address their sugar cravings.
But the fact is that being sugar addicted is not a personality trait; it’s an imbalance that can stem from the digestive tract and/or hormonal imbalance.
I know; it still seems like it would be impossible to change, but after decades of being in practice I can tell you it’s very possible.
Would you like to get healthy but don’t know where to start?
If you’re ready to improve your health or that of your child we are here to help.
Whether a sugar addiction or something else is at the root of it, you and your entire family deserve to enjoy great health.
Contact us for a Free Consultation – Call (408) 733-0400
If you are not local to us your child can still receive help; our Destination Clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally.
We help the world’s busiest people regain, retain and reclaim their health, energy and resilience.
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To reclaiming your best health,
Dr. Vikki Petersen DC, CCN
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Books:
- “Gluten: What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You”
- “5 Simple Ways to Regain Your Health”
- “Hiatal Hernia, Many Symptoms, One Cause”