Sweet Tooth? Why is Sugar So Addicting??
I totally have a sweet tooth, but who doesn’t??? Why is sugar so addicting that you crave more?
Today I’m going to talk to you a little about what sugar is, the effects of sugar, and why our bodies keep on craving it.
What is Sugar:
There are three types of sugars which include simple sugars, fructose, and galactose. Table sugar which is mostly used as a food source is sucrose, which is made up of glucose and fructose. Ok enough science talk haha.
Sugar is used to prepare foods, add to coffee, used to sweet up juices or energy drinks, flavor teas etc. Sugars are found in sugarcane which is the main source for extraction and production. In 2011 the world production of sugar was 168 million tons!!! It is also generalized that the average person consumes 53 lbs of sugar each year. Crazy right? The first harvested sugar cane was in Hispaniola in 1501, where many sugar mills were then constructed in Cuba in Jamacia by 1520’s. Sugar was considered a luxury when it was first found, and in Europe, it became more widely available in the 18th century.
In 2011 the five largest sugar producers were India, Brazil, Europe, China, and Thailand. Brazil actually has the highest consumption of sugar.
Effects of Sugar:
When we eat sugar we are consuming carbohydrates, a simple carbohydrate. This means sugar molecules are small chains and are easy to break in the bloodstream. This leads to an energy surge, that does not last long and can be harmful to your body if consumed in large amounts. Items you want to avoid on a routine basis is sugary sodas, sugary juices, high sugar energy drinks, table sugar, and syrups. Since sugar is made up of small chains of molecules our bodies make insulin to remove glucose out of our blood quickly leading to a sudden blood sugar level drop. This leads to you feeling drained and your body craving more sugar to get that sugar “high” back. Hence why when you have that sugary donut you are craving food again soon after which creates bad eating habits.
You may have also noticed an increase in child obesity. This is due to the amount of the simple sugars added to most things in a child’s diet such as juices, cereals, cookies etc.
There is also reports that sugar has caused tooth decay. In 2003 WHO report it states “convincing evidence from human intervention studies, epidemiological studies, and animal studies and experimental studies, for an association between the amount and frequency of free sugars intake and dental caries.”
There is always mention about how using natural sugars is a better alternative. Some examples of natural alternatives are agave or honey, but honestly, sugar is sugar. One calorie of sugar is still one calorie of sugar. So yes a more natural sugar option is the better of two options, but always utilize sparingly.
Another thing you can find out at the supermarket is artificial sweeteners (aspartame for example). They are approved by the FDA, but there still has not been too many studies to prove how safe they truly are. The same thing like before always consume in moderation.
Why our Bodies Keep Craving Sugar:
Whats so interesting with sugar is that our brains actually see sugar as a reward. When we consume sugar it activates and fuels our brain. Our brain see’s it as a reward, which leads to consuming more, and then leads to bad habits.
According to Marcia Pelchat, Ph.D., a scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center states “We’re born to like sugar,” which seems about right to me with my sweet tooth. It’s still not 100 percent proven that people can become dependent on sugar, but she does state in animal studies “There are the same kinds of changes in brain dopamine, in these animals given intermittent access to sugar, as in drug addicts.”
Sugar is addicting, and our brains prove that it craves it as a treat. This “reward” can lead our brains to want more to feed that need. It’s important to know that moderation is key with any sugar items. Since sugar is a small chained molecule it is broken down fast in our bodies leading to an energy high then crash. It’s important to include other nutritional food into our diets and moderate sugar consumption.
(Looking for a personalized plan made by me? Email me Chrisfuramartin@gmail.com)
Kam, Katherine. “The Truth About Sugar.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-effects-of-sugar#1.