Is It Possible For People To Get Addicted For Sugar?

Sugar Addiction
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Let’s face it, we all like chocolate, sweets, candies of all kinds. At the same time, we understand sugar isn’t healthy and the wisest thing to do is to limit the consumption.

Sugar is almost everywhere, not just in candies. If you were to read the label of a store-bought fruit juice, you’d see it also contains sugar. Even some meals and canned goods found in supermarkets contain a dose of sugar.

Since we consume sugar on a daily basis, one has to wonder whether it’s possible to be addicted to sugar. Scientists are still debating about sugar addiction, while some confirm its existence others say it is not a real type of addiction. The latest study has the final answer.

Is Sugar Addiction Real?

Until now, there wasn’t a single answer to the question about the existence of sugar addiction. Like many other subjects, this one is also at the center of heated debates among scientists.

James DiNicolantonio and a team of researchers at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas carried out a review of studies whose primary objective was to investigate whether sugar addiction is real or not.

Results of the review were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine[1] and they showed that it is, indeed, possible to addicted to sugar. In fact, it is equally addictive as nicotine and cocaine.

Sugar addiction is described as dependence to the natural endogenous opioids that are released upon sugar intake. The substantial amount of evidence shows parallels and overlap between drug abuse and sugar in both animals and humans.

Some animal studies showed that sugar is a drug of choice for lab rats which switched from cocaine to sucrose when given a choice.

Why There Is No Salt Addiction Then?

After the study confirmed[2] existence of sugar addiction you are probably wondering if that’s the case then why can’t we become dependent on salt.

DiNicolantonio explains that unlike salt, sugar doesn’t have a version signal. What does this mean? Salt taste receptors flip when a person you’ve had too much.

As a result, you don’t consume more than your body can take. On the other hand, our body doesn’t do the same with sugar.

While our body has the built-in safety mechanism that prevents overconsumption of salt, it doesn’t feature this mechanism to protect us from eating too much sugar. That’s why you can eat an entire bag of cookies or one chocolate bar after another and still want more.

Intake of sugar through desserts, sweets, and other products produces cravings and bingeing. The more you consume, the more you want to keep eating.

Another reason that explains the existence of sugar addiction is the withdrawal. When a person stops eating sugar after long-term excessive consumption, he/she experiences withdrawal symptoms due to dopamine deficiency in the brain.

Sugar Addiction Info

Tips To Limit Sugar Consumption

  • Avoid or limit consumption of processed foods
  • Opt for natural sweeteners like Stevia
  • Stay hydrated
  • Meditate
  • Consume more fruits instead of chocolate bars and candies
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Instead of buying fruit juices, make your own and avoid adding sugar
  • Buy unsweetened products
  • Shop on a full stomach
  • Choose dark chocolate instead of regular milk bar
  • Beware of granola bars, they may seem healthy but they’re high in sugar

See More: The Impact of Sugar on the Brain – Addiction and Cognitive Impairment

Conclusion

For quite some time, scientists were debating whether sugar addiction is real or not. The latest study confirmed it is possible to be dependent on sugar because our body doesn’t have a safety mechanism that protects us from overconsumption.

What’s more, sugar is as addictive as cocaine and nicotine. The best thing to do is to limit consumption of sugar, and thus protect your health at the same time.

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Author

Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.