Sugar Addiction

The not so sweet truth.

What is so interesting about sugar?

I think sugar is extremely interesting because it is something that we cannot escape as a people. The fact that people can become addicted to a simple substance found in everyday meals is astounding, and I wanted to know why it was so addictive. What I found was extremely interesting and kind of terrifying, because anyone can become addicted at anytime, and it is extremely hard to quit.

The History of Sugar

What is SOOOO Addictive about Sugar???

That's easy. 1. We "feel better" after eating it, 2. It's as addictive as Cocaine, 3. The Brain Thinks it's Rewarding.


An addiction causes pyschological dependence, which classifies as a mental and cognitive problem as well physical problem. As a dependence, eating sugar constantly causes different activities to suffer.


THE SCIENCE

Ingesting sugar increases serotonin and dopamine levels, two hormones that are calming and are mood elevators as well as antidepressants. As the sugar levels increase, so does the amount of serotonin in the body which boosts the person's mood and makes them feel better about themselves. The increased dopamine levels are consistent with the rising dopamine levels found in addictive drugs such as cocaine and heroine. As the body becomes dependent on the need of sugar causing the happiness in someone's life, the dopamine receptors become deficient, leading to depression. In a study showing the active parts of the brain when given sugar revealed the caudate nucleus, hippocampus, and insula, the same areas linked with cocaine use. Although this addiction is fairly new, therefore there is not as much information, comparing this case with others can prove that sugar is indeed a real addiction.

Healing from a Sugar Addiction

Unfortunately. there is no specified treatment for a sugar addiction, however all of the things needed to quit can be done on your own, and are possible. Although the struggle can be overwhelming, there are 3 steps on enduring a journey of healing.


  1. Observe Yourself


  • Track how much sugar you eat in a day with a food diary
  • Note how you feel after you eat sugar
  • Notice what triggers the need for a sugar binge
  • How does the taste of sugar affect your cravings?
  • After awhile, look back at the data you collected and find any patterns that link your actions together.

2. Self Care

Use a physical foundation to help transition to a low sugar or no sugar diet. This will help in the long run to keep the need for sugar at bay. Some things in this foundation may be:

-Eating breakfast every morning

-Including fat and protein into meals

-Eating regular meals, which is calming towards the body

-Drinking more water, and fewer sugary drinks such as sodas or juices

-Create a consistent bedtime routine where you get at least seven hours of sleep every night.

3. Plan for Getting Stuck


  • Some things may be hard to escape, like traditions of eating a container of ice cream every weekend

-It's ok to get stuck once and awhile

-The best option is to accept where you are in this cleansing process.


  • To combat getting stuck, create new habits to take your mind off of what you had done in the past.

-If you can't handle the lower blood sugar, prepare a non-sugar snack for this

activity.



Some Other Tips and Tricks


  • Get the support of other people.

-Although it's hard to be vulnerable, tell a loved one of your bingeing habits and have them help you through the struggles.


-Allow your loved ones to give the warmth and comfort you need, rather than the sugar.


  • There are numerous books on the market that provide insight on the sugar addiction and ways to quit it. These can include trying to outgrow the need for sugar from your body into a healthier choice.
  • This is a free audio on navigating the sugar detox phase for people serious about giving up sugar who want to start now.

-http://growinghumankindness.com/sugar-addiction-book-audio-detox/

  • Join the "Thirty Day Lift" sugar detox program. This includes thirty days of audio coaching to transition into sugarless diets, as well as live Q&A calls with founder Karly Randolph Pitman, who struggled with years of food and sugar addictions.



For additional help, visit http://growinghumankindness.com, a free website that provides information on quitting this addiction, and how it can be done by former addict Karly Randolph Pitman. Just know that quitting is possible when you have the people and resources behind you.

Withdrawal Symptoms

1. Feeling Sad or Upset- Fortunately this feeling goes away when off of the sugar. Also, people who struggle with moodiness and depression feel a lot better without the need for sugar. However, be aware if you do suffer from depression, because sugar could cause that to get worse.

2. Headaches

3. Fatigue - The rush given from the sugar causes the adrenal glands to stress, which leads to their fatigue. Once you've quit the addiction, new intakes of sugar can lead to extreme fatigue because the body is not used to large adrenaline boosts, which can make waking up feel like an extreme hangover.

4. Sleep Patterns Change- The body is returning to normal after a detoxing dangerous chemicals, and needs time to balance out.

5. Sugar Cravings- As it was a large life portion, it's natural to crave sugar, but it does go away eventually.

Maroon 5 - Sugar

All Types of Addiction

As sugar is very sweet, it is often used as an affectionate term for a loved one, however as it is also a hard thing to shake, it is sometimes used as another way to explain the love for someone. For example, the band Maroon 5 compares the love for a women to the addiction of sugar, in their song above, "Sugar". The lyric "When I'm without you, I'm something weak, You got me begging, begging, I'm on my knees", perfectly describes how addicts feel during a withdrawal. Very weak with the need for more. There is also the lyric "I want that red velvet, I want that sugar sweet, Won't let nobody touch it, unless that somebody's me." A perfect description of the addicts need to have sugar at all times, and their obsession over it. This song perfectly describes the epidemic of sugar addiction descending over the United States. When people listen to this song, they automatically understand the problems of the guy because he can't have his girl yet but she is essentially his sugar addiction. They all know the feeling of a sugar addiction, and understand the complications.

Longlasting Impacts

Unfortunately, there can be serious side affects to the strong intake of sugar. For starters, sugar is in everything that is processed, which is what the general public tends to eat everyday. In soda, sports drinks, and juices, those who drink 1-2 servings a day have a 26% higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. Consuming too much sugar can also age skin prematurely, and promote tooth decay.

Diabetes: The Deadly Disease

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot generate enough insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, to cover the amount of sugar in the body, or when the insulin is not correctly used. This chronic disease can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves over time. There are two types, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs in children born with insulin deficiencies, and requires the input of insulin daily. This has visible symptoms such as thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes, and fatigue. Contrary, Type 2 Diabetes is preventable and usually shows up in adults, but more recently has become very apparent in children. THe cause is the body's ineffective use of insulin which comes from the consumption of too much sugar. Symptoms are harder to spot, although the same with Type 1, and sometimes the disease cannot be caught until the consequences have set in.



  • In 2012, an estimated 1.5 million people died worldwide from diabetes.
  • The World Health Organization predicts that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030.
  • Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure.
  • 1% of global blindness is attributed to diabetes.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. A worldwide study determined that 50% of people with diabetes die of a cardiovascular disease.
  • In 2014, 208,000 people under the age of 20 were diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
  • In 2014, 86 million adults older than 20 were diagnosed with pre diabetes.



Exercise, healthy diets, maintaining and achieving a healthy body weight, and avoiding tobacco can reduce the risks of Type 2 diabetes, whether preventing it or delaying the onset of symptoms.