Is Sugar Really Addictive?

For years, the medical field has studied and debated about refined sugar and the effects it has on the brain. In recent years, some studies have shown that sugar uses the same reward circuitry in the brain as addictive and abusive drugs.

Because sugar stimulates the reward center of our brains, it releases a large amount of dopamine, causing a pleasurable reaction. For some of us, it’s not a problem to eat a piece of cake every now and then while still maintaining a balance of dopamine receptors and not get sucked into addictive behaviors. However, for others, when sugar is consumed on a regular basis, the body starts to become resistant, producing fewer receptors and causing us to eat more sugar to get the same dopamine effect. Once we have exposed our brain to the effects of sugar for a period of time, we develop several detrimental habits that cause serious health issues. 

Uncontrollable cravings

When your body is used to getting a steady flow of dopamine after consuming sugar, yoursugar is addictive and can cause withdrawal
 body begins to crave it. So the next time you try to resist eating a candy bar, you’re brain will make you think your body needs it because your reward circuitry is not being stimulated. The more you give into sugar cravings, the more your brain convinces you that you need it. Some people can find it almost impossible to resist their cravings for sugar, resulting in a problem far worse than simple “willpower.”

Going through withdrawal

Like most addictions, sugar can cause feelings of severe withdrawal. When you decide enough is enough and attempt to will your body away from sugar, there can be intense physical reaction your body endures. The longer you have been exposing your body to refined sugar, the longer and more severe withdrawal symptoms might be. Here is just a short list of effects sugar withdrawal can have:

  • Flu-like symptoms - chills, sweats, body aches, and nausea
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Impulsive behavior or mood swings
  • Low energy

There are just some of the common symptoms when you cut your body off from sugar. If you give into the addiction and feed your body the sugar it craves, these symptoms will subside and you may appear to feel “better.” However, once the effects of the sugar wear off again, withdrawal symptoms will return, leaving you in an addictive situation.

Effects beyond the addiction

Studies in recent years have proven that sugar can cause a very real addiction, similar to those of abuse drugs. However, not only does sugar produce a chemical and biological change in your brain, it causes physical changes that can have a severe effect on your health. Large amounts of sugar consumption on a regular basis can cause obesity, type II diabetes, insulin resistance, increases blood pressure, and a host of other health issues.

The good news

Addiction to sugar is real and for most of us, the food we eat, even if we think it’s healthy, likely has added and hidden sugar in it. The good news is that slowly eliminating sugar from your diet and replacing it with food that doesn’t have added junk can help break the cycle of addiction.

Legendary Foods is committed to providing our customers with seasoned nut snacks and flavored nut butters that won’t contribute the growing sugar problem our society faces. All of our products are developed with ingredients that start in nature. We believe nature is the best place to start and you don’t need sugar to help satisfy cravings. Try our seasoned nut snacks and flavored nut butters and start cutting out the junk.