Part #1 Sugar is addictive as Cocaine
Do you love sugar as much as I do? Man, is it good! Hershey’s kisses, Snickers , M&M’s (my favorite), chocolate cake, brownies. In this series of blog posts I plan to enlighten everyone about the harmful effects of sugar. In part one the areas covered are how biologically addictive sugar is, how it excites the brain along with the addictive effects of sugar.
Do you think cocaine is addictive? Most people do, yet they deny that food is addictive. Research found that even when giving rats electric shocks they will still continue to eat and seek sugar. Sugar is not like other foods and all calories are not the same. Sugar excites the reward part of your brain that activates addiction. Food and sugar specifically is biologically addictive — this is not an issue of willpower and just eat less is never going to cut it.
Biology of Addiction
Drugs and Alcohol Can Hijack Your Brain
People with addiction lose control over their actions. They crave and seek out drugs, alcohol, or other substances no matter what the cost—even at the risk of damaging friendships, hurting family, or losing jobs. The brain actually changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain.” But when you’re becoming addicted to a substance, that normal hardwiring of helpful brain processes can begin to work against you. Drugs or alcohol can hijack the pleasure/reward circuits in your brain and hook you into wanting more and more.
Sugar Addiction Kills More People Than Illegal Drugs
Sugary drinks cause 184,000 deaths worldwide annually, including 25,000 deaths in the United States, according to a new study.
A 12-ounce (355 milliliters) serving of regular soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association, which recommends that people avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes
The Role of Dopamine and Sugar Cravings
What is Dopamine?
Dopamine is one of the principal neurotransmitters involved in substance dependence. Two of the major substances of abuse that increase dopamine levels are sugar and alcohol. Sugar is more powerful than cocaine or heroin. No wonder we get addicted to it.
The excess dopamine that is produced gives rise to powerful feelings of pleasure; however, these excess dopamine levels also take a long-term toll on brain chemistry and promote substance dependency.
The brain starts to depend on the presence of the addictive substance to maintain stable levels of dopamine and function normally. If you are battling sugar cravings you may be depleted of dopamine leading to feelings of fatigue, lack of concentration, focus, motivation and mood swings. The only way to relieve these symptoms is to use increase quantities of the substance thereby reinforcing their dependence. A sugar binge provides temporary relief and then come the withdrawals. Moodiness, irritability, agitation and frustration.
A 2012 study on rats, conducted by researchers at UCLA, found that a diet high in fructose (that’s just another word for sugar) hinders learning and memory by literally slowing down the brain. The researchers found that rats who over-consumed fructose had damaged synaptic activity in the brain, meaning that communication among brain cells was impaired.
Heavy sugar intake caused the rats to develop a resistance to insulin — a hormone that controls blood sugar levels and also regulates the function of brain cells. Insulin strengthens the synaptic connections between brain cells, helping them to communicate better and thereby form stronger memories. So when insulin levels in the brain are lowered as the result of excess sugar consumption, cognition can be impaired.
Thanks for sticking with me in this post. Part # 2 “Is Sugar Really That Bad”