Sugar Addiction

Diabetes, Heart | June 26, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

heart disease, diabetes

Sugar Addiction

Sugar is actually a good thing. All the cells in our bodies need and use sugar. It is a carbohydrate which supplies the body with the energy to get it through each day. In fact, in ancient times, sugar was used almost exclusively for medicinal purposes, such as healing wounds, burns, and ulcers.  It is thought that sugar is able to do this by exerting an antibacterial effect through lowering water activity on a wound.  

The problem with sugar is the type and amount that is widely consumed today is incredibly harmful to your health and even more concerning, addictive.

 Healthy sugar vs. Bad sugar: types of sugar

Sugar, is the broad term for sweet, soluble carbohydrates. There are different types of sugar which are derived from various sources.

sugarThe healthy types of sugar are simple sugars and are known as monosaccharaides. These include glucose or dextrose, fructose, and galactose. Simple sugars are found naturally in various plants and fruits and when consumed in moderate amounts, about 1-2 daily servings, are quite healthy and easy for the body to process.

Other types of sugar are the disaccharides sugar variants include lactose, maltose, and sucrose are all compound sugars.

Sugar in these forms and sources is harmless. It is the refined sugars that are added to foods that can cause many diseases and health issues varying from skin problems to Alzheimer’s disease. Refined sugar is the product that remains following a process through which the molasses in raw sugar is removed. Refining removes unwanted tastes and leaves white or brown colored sugar. These refined sugars are added during the processing of foods and beverages. Honey, high fructose corn syrup, and agave are used in foods to provide added sweetness. Natural-occurring sugar is never added or used to process foods and beverages.

 Can Sugar Really Be Addictive?

A new research study has found that refined sugar is in fact far more addictive than one of the most addictive and harmful illicit drugs known today.

sugar addictionDuring the study 94 percent of rats who were given the option to choose mutually-exclusively between sugar water and cocaine, chose sugar water. At a later point, the rats that were already addicted to cocaine quickly changed their preference to sugar, almost as soon as it was offered as a choice. Those rats were even more willing to work for sugar than for cocaine.

Am I Addicted To Sugar?

Addiction research usually concentrates on drugs of abuse, such as morphine, cocaine, nicotine and alcohol.  However, recently a range of “addictions” to non-drug entities, including gambling, sex, and food, have been investigated. Addiction is a term that has been quite loosely and endearingly used today. But true addiction, is neither endearing nor constructive. Addiction is marked by two main components; tolerance and withdrawal.

sugar addiction1Tolerance in the context of sugar addiction means that you are able to tolerate or “stomach” more sugar over time.

Whereas withdrawal denotes the physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms such as craving, anxiety, irritability, nausea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, stomach aches or cramps.

Even though for some people addiction is not really present, they may use sugary foods in ways that aren't healthy.

Some signs of an unhealthy relationship to sugary foods may include: an intense craving for sugary food, loss of control, and eating more than you had planned.

 What Is Sugar Doing To My Body?

According to research, sugar can be even more harmful than cigarettes. The harmful effects of sugar may be so elusive that they go may slip unnoticed. A number of research studies have demonstrated a connection between the modern day excessive sugar consumption and obesity. A total of 17 million deaths a year world-wide are attributable to obesity. Obesity contributes to deaths by increasing the risks to diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers.

These are just some of the effects of sugar on the body: obesity

  • It fattens your organs. the liver is  triggered to store excess sugar in organs of the body.
  • Sugar creates an environment for diabetes in your body. According to a PLoS One study, every extra 150 calories from sugar available per person each day, diabetes prevalence rises by 1.1%.
  • Sugar Increases the risk for heart disease. This is because heart disease and diabetes are intricately related, with heart disease and stroke being the leading causes of death among people with type 2 diabetes, accounting for 65% of those deaths.
  • Sugar constricts blood vessels. The added sugars in processed foods cause excess insulin in the bloodstream. If this persists chronically it can cause the smooth muscle cells around each blood vessel to grow faster than normal, which in turn causes tense artery walls, thus increasing the risk for high blood pressure, and ultimately, stroke or heart attack.

sugar addictionSugar leads to type-3 diabetes. Brown University neuropathologist Suzanne de la Monte, MD, discovered the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets, and Alzheimer's disease.

Her study suggests Alzheimer's is a metabolic disease, in which the brain's ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged.


  • Sugar makes you feel hungry. Regularly consuming excess sugar scrambles your body's ability to tell your brain you're full. This is because sugars prevent the brain from increasing leptin levels, signaling that you feel full.
  • Sugar causes fatigue. The body goes from a sugar rush to sugar crash in just 30 minutes. The Sugar Smart Diet also states that sugar triggers the release of the sleep-regulator hormone, serotonin.
  • Sugar makes you depressive. According to a study published in Public Health Journal that followed 9000 people, found that after 6 years, those who ate the most junk food had approximately 40% greater risk of developing depression, compared to those who avoided junk food the most.

Natural Therapies for Overcoming Sugar Addiction

sugar addictionAvoid drinks with excess added sugars. This can include healthy-sounding smoothies.​​Sweetened beverages like soda only account for one-third of your added sugar consumption. Other sources of sugar could include foods that you eat on a regular basis such as breads, sauces, gravy and frozen dinners.

American Heart Association's recommended sugar levels are 5 teaspoons for women (20 grams); 9 teaspoons for men (36 grams); and 3 teaspoons (12 grams) for children.

Eating breakfast helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable while skipping breakfast makes you 4.5 times more likely to become obese. A protein-rich breakfast may help you to eat about 160 fewer calories throughout the day.

Knowing sugar’s many names may help you to avoid them easily. Ingredients that end in –ose are sugar, as well as anything with sugar or syrup after the name. 

Herbs and Nutrients

Dr. Mehmet Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show” said that in order to kick your addiction [to sugar and fatty foods] you would have to detox your liver. And since sugar is an opioid, it helps to treat its addiction withdrawal with similar nutrients and herbs you would employ for any other opioid addiction. There are a few vitamins and minerals that sugar depletes in the body.

Vitamin B. Inadequate use of the carbohydrates consumed can make you feel like you need to eat more carbohydrates. Vitamin B complex to help with carbohydrate metabolism.

Calcium and Magnesium. Anxiety is one of the major symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Calcium and magnesium can calm the central nervous system and get rid of anxiety. 

Chromium. Chromium contributions to glucose metabolism, which is how carbohydrates is utilized as a fuel. Chromium may also help to improve insulin sensitivity, thus be a key factor in curbing sugar cravings.

sugar addictionCinnamon. Research has shown cinnamon to help to reduce sugar cravings by controlling blood glucose levels. This helps to minimize insulin spikes after meals that lead to consuming more sugar. It has been found to lower LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides blood levels.

Gymnema. Gymnema sylvestre contains gymnemic acids which, when placed directly on the tongue, fill the sugar receptors in your taste buds, thus efficiently blocking your ability to taste sweetness. Moreover, researchers believe gymnema may also reduce the intestine’s capacity to absorb sugar molecules, thus reducing blood sugar levels.

Inulin. Inulin is a type fibers. It is considered a functional plant-based ingredient that has a beneficial effect on the body. Plants that naturally contain inulin include wheat, onions, bananas, garlic, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes. Fibre can help you feel full, suppressing the appetite and reducing cravings.
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Sugar addiction is not easy to overcome but is certainly possible. 


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