If you’ve noticed that your sugar cravings are out of control, and you can’t stop searching through the fridge, pantry or cabinets for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, then it could be a sign of sugar addiction.
The Difference Between a Sweet Tooth and Sugar Addiction
Before we determine how you get addicted to sugar, it’s important to understand the difference between a sweet tooth and an addiction to sugar. Unfortunately, there is a very fine line between these two conditions and that’s generally why the majority of people don’t even realize that they have a sugar addiction.
Having a sweet tooth is when you like most sweets and generally consume a sugary snack most days of the week. However, having a sugar addiction is when you consume excessive amounts of sugary foods, multiple times a day, and are unable to even go a few hours without eating something sweet.
Why Do We Love Sugar So Much?
Human beings are hardwired to crave sugar. Although there are many reasons why this hardwiring exists, one school of thought is that when our ancestors used to hunt for their food, not every plant or shrub was edible. There were many poisonous plants growing, but fruits were always non-poisonous hence regarded as “safe” by the early hunter gatherers. Therefore, our early brains began associating sweet things as “safe” foods. Plus, it didn’t hurt that these safe foods were so tasty as well!
How Do You Get Addicted to Sugar?
Sugar addiction occurs when the reward center of the brain gets over-stimulated and creates an overwhelming urge to consume sugary foods. When you eat foods with a high content of sugar, the brain releases large amounts of neurochemicals that make you feel good and ultimately satisfied. You get a sort of high, or a sugar rush, and the more sugar you consume, the more your brain wants to recapture that feeling again.
Moreover, when the brain is exposed to high amounts of sugar, the dopamine receptors decrease and you have to eat more sugary stuff to get the same level of high that you got before. These urges to eat sweet things over and over again, is how you get addicted to sugar. Studies have consistently shown that addiction is no longer just limited to drugs or alcohol, but also includes gambling, sex and food addictions (especially sugar).
So, now that you know how you get addicted to sugar, you can rest assured that there are ways to beat this addiction.
- Get rid of artificial sweeteners—Artificial sweeteners contain harmful ingredients that damage your health if taken for a prolonged period. These artificial sweeteners are aspartame, saccharine and sucralose.
- Substitute processed foods with fruit—The natural sugars in fruit and the sugars in candies are processed differently by the body, so always reach for the healthier option.
- Get magnesium—People with magnesium deficiency often have sugar cravings as a symptom, so get yourself tested if you are experiencing sugar cravings more frequently than usual.
Sugar addiction is no laughing matter. If you think that you may be addicted to sugar, take the needed steps, including talking to your doctor, about how you can break this frustrating and nasty addiction.