Are We Addicted To Sugar?
Addiction is a strong word.
When you think of addiction you think of smoking, alcohol, drugs… but not sugar or food surely?
But it could be.
How many of you have started a chocolate bar, tub of ice cream, bag of sweets with the intention of having a bit and before you know it it’s pretty much all gone?
Is this just a case of greediness or poor will power or is there something more too it?
I know when I eat a meal I always crave something sweet afterwards.
I’ve eaten a hell of a lot of sugar over the past few weeks, there’s been loads of chocolates and sweets around the house and with all the Xmas meals, loads of deserts too. I really struggled to say no and I struggled to stop eating once I’ve started.
Thankfully it’s January and I’m back to normal and all of the sweets and chocolates which haven’t been eaten have been put away! My new toy is a Nutribullet which is basically a blender, I’ve been experimenting successfully and unsuccessfully with green vegetable smoothies, I shall share some recipes if I finally manage to get one right!
Back to sugar, what drives us to have that one more slice of cake or that extra piece of chocolate?
I was reading that scientists suggested that we are instinctively primed to want sugar as it plays a vital role in our survival.
I took this sciency part from an article on the BBC website:
When we eat food, the simple sugar glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream and distributed to all cells of the body.
Glucose is particularly important to the brain as it provides a major source of fuel to the billions of neuronal nerve cells.
Neurons need a constant supply from the bloodstream as they don’t have the ability to store glucose themselves. As diabetics know, someone with low blood sugar can quickly lapse into a coma.
We are born with a sweet tooth. A study from Washington University found that newborns prefer sugary tastes over anything else.
I personally think another reason is deserts. Years ago (I was told) desert would maybe be a once a week treat, it seems like now people have a desert after every meal. Forcing our brain to want that sugary fix after each meal.
I do some sports coaching in a few schools and I was walking through the canteen of one school the other day and there was 3-4 desert stands and the majority of the kids were tucking in to cakes, ice cream, brownies, cookies etc. for some that was all they were eating. So it’s pretty easy to see where we are going wrong!
But childhood obesity and school dinners is probably something which require its own article.
We associate sugar with giving us a boost and a little buzz, so it can be a bit of a go to food on a lunch break or anytime during the day when you are feeling a little tired. That little mood boost is one of the reasons why we turn to it in times where you feel like being comforted or rewarded.
Another reason why we overeat is the body doesn’t know when it’s full from sugary foods like it would with others so basically you can just eat and eat and eat. This is due to how the body deals with fructose (sugar found in these bad foods).
Sugar in moderation isn’t much of a problem but the sugar we as a nation are eating is a massive problem. We are eating 1000s and 1000s of empty calories each week which is doing our bodies no favours other than fattening us up.
And for many we have forced our brain into thinking we need (not just want) a sugary snack. This is probably carried through from childhood.
So are we addicted to sugar?
I’ll let you decide.
So I just wanted to give you a little bit food for thought (excuse the pun)!
PS Want to know just how much sugar is hidden in the foods you eat on a daily basis? (Milkshake, cola, bbq sauce, beer, wine, cake, corn flakes, bread) Click here