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Sugar addiction: characteristics, effects and prevention

The vast majority of us know that sweet, although irresistible and pleasant, is not the healthiest ingredient in our diet. However, if there is one aspect that not all of us are aware of, it is our complete addiction to sugar. Could this be possible? Can I be addicted to this exciting component that spice up our life?

It may be so. In fact, sugar is present in the most unsuspected foods, those that are a regular part of our diet and that sometimes even carry the controversial " light " or "low-fat" label. 

What's more, something that nutritionists tell us is that the vast majority of the population is unaware of the large amount of sugars they actually consume. This explains the unsuspected evidence that many of us are addicted, even without knowing it.

Yogurt, salad dressings, sports drinks, juices and even canned tomatoes. The list of foods rich in this component is so long, that we could say almost without mistake, that we consume 80% of sugars without realizing it. The great part comes, yes, from processed products.

The sweet poison of the 21st century is deeply rooted in our diet and its effects are more serious than we think ...

Mano sujetando muffin representando la adicción al azúcar

-Sugar addiction: Characteristics, effects and prevention.

The sugar level established by the WHO as recommended ranges from 25 to 50 grams. However, and just to get an idea, a 330 ml can of cola has 27 grams. It is enough that we consume a juice and a muffin or chocolate muffin to exceed that limit.

We are facing the most pleasant, cheap and accessible poison of the 21st century. If we say that our eating habits are getting worse over the years, we will not be wrong. As a curiosity, there is a project that investigates the lifestyle of Pompeians by analyzing the remains of the victims of Vesuvius. The inhabitants of Pompeii 2,000 years ago did not have cavities. His diet was healthier than many of us.

Addiction to sugar is a characteristic of our modernity. We turn to it because it offers us energy and also, because it makes us feel good, rewarded emotionally. It is the drink that allows us to regain our strength in the middle of the morning. It's the whim at the end of the day. The snack that children want. The dessert that makes us all happy ...

- Can we really speak of an "addiction"?

In an investigation carried out at the Sorbonne University by Dr. Dean Chapelot, director of the research team in nutritional epidemiology, he points out something interesting. To this day we cannot speak of sugar addiction as a psychiatric entity similar to that of other addictions to psychoactive substances.

However, this does not mean that it may be in the future: the neurobiological mechanisms that are put into operation during its use are very similar to those of any other addiction.

- Consumption of this product activates the nucleus accumbens, known as the reward center. This area releases dopamine and makes us feel good, that we experience well-being.

- Sucrose has precisely the ability to bind to brain receptors that promote the release of dopamine and that is why we experience such pleasant sensations.

- The more sugar that product contains, the more dopamine will be released and the greater the feeling of "high". Now, that injection of energy is very brief. After a while, it is common to experience not only a lowering of mood, but also greater fatigue. The brain asks us again for a new dose of something sweet; a request that is hard to resist.

The body has adapted over the years to depend on sugar almost without realizing it . And we do it like the addict who needs his doses, because in case of not satiating them, anxiety, hunger, bad mood arise ... All this as an effect of withdrawal.

- How do I know if I have a sugar addiction?

Sugar tastes good, it makes us feel better, but the body feels especially bad. Especially if we consume it in excess. Because, at the end of the day, the key is that: not to overdo it, not to make that element a constant in our diet. Now, how do you know if we already have a sugar addiction? These would be some keys:

- Sweet products are present in our breakfasts, they are the usual dessert and we resort to them when we snack between meals.

- We consume soft drinks, packaged juices, energy drinks ...

- We accompany coffee , herbal teas or natural or vegetable milk with sugar cubes.

- We look for the sweet after a bad day, as a whim, as a resource to celebrate something.

- If we make the effort to restrict its consumption we experience craving , an emptiness in the stomach and a hunger that does not satisfy, for example, not an apple or a handful of almonds.

-What effect does sugar have on our body?

Sugar addiction causes more than just an increase in body weight. We cannot just stay with that idea. It is true that a large part of the negative effects of sugar in this product derives from the fact that almost 50% of the amount absorbed is converted into fatty acids. However, the alterations it generates in our health are immense:

-The greatest risk is metabolic diseases. The excess fat that we accumulate causes insulin resistance, with which, one of the most common effects is the development of type 2 diabetes.

-Hypertension and an increase in the so-called bad cholesterol or LDL is another factor.

-We can also suffer a stroke or cerebral infarcts.

-Increase in cardiovascular ailments.

-We will suffer greater fatigue.

-Dental disease.

-Fatty liver.

-The risk of cancer is increased.

-How to reduce sugar consumption?

As we have pointed out in the article, it is not about completely eliminating sugar from the diet. The human being needs this component to survive. However, the key is only to reduce your consumption. For this, the following recommendations can be of help.

-Read the label of the products you buy. You will discover that everything has more sugar than you think.

-Restrict processed foods (pizzas, cereals, sweets, baked goods ...) and opt for natural products.

-Remember: what does not fit into the shopping cart is not consumed at home. Therefore, take maximum care of your shopping list by limiting all types of processed foods.

-Limit or restrict soda consumption.

-Increase your water consumption.

-Increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

-Eat a healthy breakfast. A good breakfast helps us to start the day well and prevents us from having to eat between meals.

-Control your stress and anxiety levels. Emotional ups and downs elevate our sweet tooth.

-Do you play any sport. Simply taking a half-hour walk a day often dramatically improves our well-being.

To conclude, it is always a good time to reduce the presence of this product from our diet. Opting for a healthier, natural diet in which sugar is not that continuous component, not only improves our well-being. The mood also notices it. Let's start the change today.

(Reference -,

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