Can You Be Addicted To Sugar?
There are a lot of substances that come to mind when we think of addictions. Sugar usually isn’t anywhere near the top of the list, but there are some good reasons why it should be. Let’s take a closer look at sugar and what it does and see if you may have an addiction you don’t even realize.
Sugar is an enjoyable treat on a physical level, but it also causes mental stimulation. In fact, it activates the reward centres of the brain. These are the same mental receptors that respond to nicotine, cocaine and other addictive drugs. When you ingest sugar, it lights up your brain in much the same way many hard drugs would.
Your brain feels rewarded for having ingested sugar, which makes it crave more. You see, addiction is controlled mostly by how your brain responds to a substance. If your brain feels rewarded for processing a substance, then it is going to want more of it. This is what creates cravings.
We have likely all said at some point that we are craving something sweet. Maybe it is chocolate or ice cream or cake, but it all comes back to sugar and addiction. Your brain knows it can satisfy a certain desire by feeding itself sugar, so it puts out that craving for you to deal with.
You may start to think of times you ate something sweet and really enjoyed it. This is known as a nostalgia craving, and people who smoke cigarettes get the same cravings. Your brain starts to remember sweet things you ate in the past, and it may cycle through a few options for you to salivate over.
This heightens your sense of smell and causes you to start searching out sweet flavours. Once you acknowledge this craving and allow it to continue and your mind to keep concentrating on it, your body will start to search for something sweet and sugary. Pretty soon, just about anything sweet will do. You see, it may not be something specific that your mind is craving but rather just some sugar. You may have a specific food in mind once the craving started, but your brain will be satisfied with nearly anything sweet.
How to Deal with the Addiction
This is a very common craving, and nearly everybody experiences it at some point or another. You don’t need to be ashamed just because you have sugar withdrawal symptoms, but you do need to realize that you could be addicted to sugar. If you are not, then giving in to your sugar cravings repeatedly can create an addiction. This may not be an addiction on the same level as a hard drug, but it comes with some of the same side effects and withdrawal symptoms. They aren’t as severe, but they are withdrawal symptoms nonetheless.
So what do you do when sugar withdrawal strikes? First of all, you need to learn to say “no”. It is certainly okay to eat sweet foods, but it’s not a good idea to eat them when your body starts to crave them. If you give into the craving, then your brain will learn a behaviour. It will understand that if it sends out the craving impulse then it will be rewarded. Just like a misbehaving puppy, you have to teach it that such behaviour is not allowed.
When that sugar craving strikes, you need to deny it. Give yourself something else to eat. This won’t satiate the craving, but if you can make sure you are not at all hungry, then the craving will go away much faster. Of course, you won’t be able to do this very well if you are not prepared.
That’s why you should keep healthy snacks on hand. If your sugar cravings are severe, you can just keep the snacks in your handbag or pocket. Also, make sure your kitchen is stocked with foods you can eat without breaking your diet when the sugar cravings strike.
You may actually be able to satisfy those cravings with some fruit or something else that has minimal amounts of sugar, such as weight loss supplements. But you have to be properly prepared to do so.