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Sugar: The #1 Addiction

The #1 Addiction in America May Surprise You

The biggest source of addiction in America isn’t cocaine or marijuana. It is sugar. Most of us would not admit to being “addicts,” but we may have succumbed without realizing it. Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Do you have a hard time stopping once you have started eating a sweet snack?
  • Do you crave simple carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, or pastries?
  • Do you find yourself eating sugary foods even when you don’t want to?
  • Do you have a stash of sweets that you hide from others?
  • Do you find yourself making extra trips to the store or coffee shop to load up on more sweets?
  • Are you tired all day?
  • Do you have memory issues?
  • Do you find yourself reaching for fat-free items? (Most fat-free items have replaced the fat with sugar for added flavor.)

 

Studies done with animals have shown refined sugar to be more addictive than morphine or heroin, and it can be 8 times more addictive than cocaine! Sugar addiction has also been linked to food intolerances as well.

 

The Domino Effect

 

Another interesting side of eating high-sugar foods is the domino effect. According to a recent study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating sugary food triggers the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain the controls reward and craving. Not only does this trigger affect your eating habits at the current time, but it also seems to affect behavior at the next meal. This leads to hormonal havoc. The blood sugar raises the insulin level. This then blocks the satiety hormone leptin. Cortisol levels are also increased, which causes you to crave more comfort foods. The high cortisol during sleep increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone, so the next morning you are more likely to reach for a quick sugar fix for breakfast. And the whole cycle begins again.

 

Eliminating sugar, however, is not easy. According to Mark Hyman, MD, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine,

 

There are 600,000 processed foods in the marketplace, 80 percent of which have added hidden sugar. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, mostly hidden, and the average teenage male has 34 teaspoons a day (more than two 20 ounce sodas). One serving of Prego tomato sauce has more sugar than a serving of Oreo cookies. Sweetened yogurts can have more sugar than a can of soda.

 

The Addiction Can Be Broken

 

Many people who have been addicted to sugar have been able to defeat it in just a few weeks with the right strategy. People find that their taste buds come alive again! They are able to taste flavors that they had missed for a long time. If you would like to be free from your sugar addiction, please give us a call at 864-963-9304. We would love to help you improve your health.

 

See also:

Functional Medicine: What Is It?

Refined Sugar: What to Use in Its Place

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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