We all make jokes from time to time about someone being a sugar addict when they can’t seem to stay away from the chocolate. But the truth is sugar addiction is no joke. It’s frighteningly real.
Your body really can become addicted to sugar in much the same way it can become addicted to other substances. When you scarf down sugary foods your brain rewards you by releasing dopamine, one of our “feel good” hormones.
But as that high starts to wear off, your brain demands MORE sugar to produce that pleasing feeling again. And before you know it, you’re stuck in a literal loop of addiction.
Scientists say this system worked perfectly for our ancient ancestors who had to constantly scavenge for food. That dopamine hit was a signal that the food they had found was packed full of much needed fuel in the form of sugar. Stocking up while it was available was a matter of survival.
But these days we aren’t nearly as active and that drive to keep eating more sugar can backfire on us. We end up eating far more calories than we can burn off. Our bodies then store all that extra fuel as blubber causing us to become fat and sick.
Being a sugar addict ruins your figure AND your health
Following are four frightening ways being a sugar addict can destroy your life.
When you’re a sugar addict, constantly chasing your next dopamine high, you forget that on the other side of each of those highs is a crash. If you’re lucky, those lows might just leave you feeling a bit grumpy.
But for many folks those major highs and lows mess with their mood enough to trigger jitters, anxiety and mood swings. Eventually this can lead to a major case of the blues, or worse. Some studies have found a link between diets high in sugar and increased levels of clinical depression.
2. Liver disease:
When you eat a lot of sugar most of it is metabolized by your liver. There it is turned into fat and is then released into your blood.
But when that sugar is fructose it makes a beeline for your liver and once there it kicks that fat making process into overdrive. Over time, some of that fat can begin to build up causing your liver to swell.
Eat enough sugar and you can end up with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. And the scariest part is how little sugar it takes to put yourself in danger. According to a Tufts University study, just one sugar-sweetened drink per day is enough to increase your risk for NAFLD.
3. Heart disease:
Becoming a sugar addict is one of the worst things that can happen to your heart. According to a joint study between the CDC and Harvard University, your chance of dying from heart disease rises right along with the amount of sugar you eat, REGARDLESS of how much you weigh
The long-term study looked at folks who got 17 to 25 percent of their calories from added sugars. Incredibly, the volunteer’s risk of heart disease was more than 30 percent higher than their peers who ate less sugar.
And in another study, women who drank more than two sugary drinks a day (such as soda, sweet tea or coffee drinks) were significantly more likely to develop heart disease. And that was true regardless of whether or not they had put on an ounce over the five year study.
While scientists are still debating why we see this jump in heart disease with sugar addicts regardless of weight, there are two prime candidates. The first is a jump in triglycerides. The women in that last study who downed two or more sugary drinks a day were four times more likely to develop high triglycerides.
Researchers also point to the chronic inflammation that often goes hand in hand with sugar addiction. Chronic systemic inflammation is associated with a number of chronic diseases including heart disease.
4. Type 2 diabetes:
And, of course, the most obvious way being a sugar addict can destroy your life is to trigger weight gain, blood sugar problems and insulin resistance (caused by that excess fat in the liver we touched on earlier). Because while a high sugar diet doesn’t directly cause type 2 diabetes, it creates the perfect storm that sends your risk for the disease skyrocketing.
The bottom line is the sooner you cut back on the sugar the better off you’ll be.
These tricks can help…
- when a sugar craving kicks in reach for a fatty snack instead like a fistful of nuts or a slice of cheese
- break the cycle by exercising, which will use up glucose and blunt those sugar spikes
- sugar cravings can be kicked off by a magnesium deficiency eating more dark leafy greens nuts and avocados may help
- take Gymnema sylvestre an herb experts say can curb sugar cravings before they kick in
Sugar addiction is real and it has very real consequences for your health. Cut back today.