Sugar addiction is real and we are here to talk about it. You would have definitely heard about different kinds of addictions like nicotine, alcohol and drugs but sugar addiction may seem like a strong word for something as sweet as sugar and you may surprised to know that sugar is indeed addictive.
What is addiction?
Addiction is a severe form of substance abuse. Substance abuse is when a person is focused on using a substance despite knowing that it is harmful for him/ her. They cannot stop themselves from using it. It is when they do not get to consume this substance their ability to perform daily life functions get impaired. This substance can be tobacco, alcohol or drugs. These addictions are harmful as they have the ability to change the structure and function of the brain of the addict causing uncontrollable intense, changes in personality and behaviors.
Science behind the addictions
Research suggests sugar has addictive properties. Eating sugar releases chemicals like opioids and dopamine in the body. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which when released gives the feeling of pleasure to us. When excess of dopamine is released the person feels a high (zenith of pleasure) and that feeling is so pleasurable that the person wants to experience it again and again leading to repetitive use of the addictive substance.
People take these substances for a number of reasons
- to feel good — feeling of pleasure, “high” or “intoxication” – the most common reason.
- to feel better — relieve stress, forget problems – reason given by people working in high pressure jobs.
- to do better — improve performance or thinking – reason why many sportsperson indulge in it.
- curiosity and peer pressure or experimenting – reason people start trying out these in school.
Sugar also activates the reward centre located in our brain so despite the negative impact of sugar like weight gain, hormonal imbalances, tooth decay etc people continue to consume sugar in large quantities.
What is more is that as their bodies adjust to the substance then the quantity of that addictive substance needed to release the same amount of dopamine goes up with time. So to relive the same high as a person felt during the first attempt, the person will need to take not the same amount but much more quantity of the addictive substance. And this whole cycle on consumption keeps on getting more vicious till the person is completely dependent on the substance to perform even the daily functions.
Sugar and dental problems
As dental practitioners we think this addiction is of lot of concern to us also because we all know sugar is the food for the bacteria in our mouth and these bacteria breakdown the sugars to release acids that erode the enamel of our teeth leading to cavities and tooth decay. So you have to take care of your Oral Health. Do brush & floss your teeth after eating anything sweet.
So if you have a sweet tooth and you are unable to resist that sweetmeat in front of you, you must ask yourself – ‘Am I a sugar addict?’
Am I a sugar addict?
- Do you need a sweet after every meal?
If your meal is incomplete without a sweet sugary substance then it is possible that you may have an addiction of sugar.
- Do you have energy highs and lows in a day?
If you experience periods when you feel very energetic followed by periods when you feel dull and drained out alternately during a day it is possibly a sign of sugar addiction. Sugar as we all know gives a boost of energy to our body.
- Do you get hangry?
It is normal to be a little irritated when one is hungry but if you get so disturbed by the hunger that you can lose your temper then it is a sure shot sign of sugar addiction. It is important to note that by sugar here we do not mean only sweets but also other food items like carbs that when eaten spike the blood sugar almost instantaneously.
- You cannot stop eating sugar once you start it?
If this is you then one cannot rule out the possibility of developing sugar addiction in near future. Overconsumption of sugar can lead to hormonal imbalance which will in turn leads to more consumption of sweets.
- Do you get cravings for sweets and more importantly do you feel withdrawal symptoms if you don’t get sugar at the time you want it?
While all of us crave for sweet or salty things at times, there are some of us who crave sugary substances regularly and get anxious if they don’t get it. This is a sign one may be addicted to sugar.
- Do you eat sugar when you are upset or feel guilty after eating sugar?
These actions are generally associated with eating disorders rather than a sugar addiction. However these can be due to sugar addiction also. If you are experiencing any such feelings we suggest meeting a therapist and figuring it out whether it is an eating disorder or a sugar addiction.
- You know sugar is bad for you and you try to quit it but cannot?
It is not just a case of lack of perseverance it may be a case of sugar addiction. Because sugar is addictive quitting it is not easy as giving up any other thing. It takes a lot of self control and sometimes outside help to get rid of any addiction. The level of help needed depends on the severity of the addiction.
Doing something which is not right for you and repeatedly doing it means you are not in control and you may need help. Leaving the sugar habit is not as easy as it looks, but the first step to the solution of any problem is awareness. While leaving sugar is tough, it can be done and many people have done it before. Quitting sugar doesn’t mean zero sugar ever, it simply means that when you have it you are in control and not the other way round.
If you have more queries you can always call Ensure Dental Care (the family dentist near you) on 940-274-3229 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers. We also have in house payment plan. We have a very experienced team of dental practitioners and we look forward to serving you the best of our abilities.
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