What is the scoop on sugar addiction

There is a new evil food and although it’s been around forever and we learned as children to go easy on it and the foods containing it, recently its evil-quotient has blown sky high.

I’m talking about sugar

You think saturated fat and trans fat is bad for you? Well, if you’re getting your nutritional information from popular media sources – TV, Facebook, Women’s magazine, Health magazines, or documentaries on the big screen – you may believe sugar is more dangerous than heroin and easier to overdose and die when using it.

Can you really be addicted to sugar?

Does everybody with a sweet tooth need to go on a detox diet? Should we try to stop eating all sugars including fructose – the sugar in fruit, and lactose – the sugar in milk and dairy products? Will we live longer, healthier lives with clearer skin and stronger bones if we cut the sugar habit? Will we significantly reduce our risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer when we go sugar free?

WTF? What’s the fact?

Is sugar addiction real. Is it a fact or an unfounded theory? It’s true that some people get carried away eating sugary foods. They like the taste and so they eat more than they planned. It fuels every cell in your brain and your brain sees sugar as a reward.

As addictive as nicotine and 100 times more deadly? No scientific proof to support that but that doesn't stop people from thinking it's a fact! WTF? What's The Fact?

As addictive as nicotine and 100 times more deadly? No scientific proof to support that but that doesn’t stop people from thinking it’s a fact. WTF? What’s The Fact?

That sounds like an addiction, but is it really an addiction?

When you eat a lot of sugar, you’re giving your brain a lot of rewards and that makes you want more. If you eat sugary foods often you are reinforcing that reward and that creates a habit that becomes very hard to break.

A habit that is hard to break isn’t an addiction

Some people report experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop eating sugar. I tried to find some research published in peer-reviewed scientific/medical journals that concluded or even suggested that physical withdrawal symptoms are real. I found plenty of anecdotal evidence but no real science to back up the self-reported withdrawals.

I conclude, based on reliable sources, that the withdrawal isn’t real, but sugar can make you shaky

If your blood sugar is level low and you choose a sugary snack such as candy or cookies, the sugar in your bloodstream quickly turns to glucose causing your pancreas to dump a lot of insulin into your bloodstream to remove it. The high level of insulin can cause your blood sugar level to drop suddenly which leaves you feeling wiped out and shaky. You want more sugar. That’s not a withdrawal symptom.

It’s not withdrawal symptoms, but I’m not saying that eating a lot of foods with added sugar is a good idea. There are many reasons to reduce your sugar consumption including it’s a useful way to cut back on calories. Many processed foods have added sugar that isn’t necessary. You can’t taste it in spaghetti sauce, for example, so why eat it? Moreover, foods with added sugar are often less nutrient dense.

Now that you know sugar can be part of a healthful diet, you’re free to enjoy sugary foods in moderation. Now that you know you’re not addicted to sugar, you will have a much easier time cutting back on your sugar consumption.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.