Sugar Addiction -Part 2 + Thankful Thursday

Hey friends. #HelloDecember –it has arrived! Holidays are here. And fitness has been kicked up a notch, right?! :)

Welcome back to part 2 of the sugar addiction series. Many of you mentioned that you feel similar to me: when we eat sweets we tend to crave and want more sweets. Almost like a snow-ball effect.

Well, apparently we’re not crazy. Sort of.

Is It Really A Sugar Addiction ?

Wikipedia says “Sugar addiction is a perceived difficulty controlling intake of sweet foods or beverages. Although the term itself is not generally used to refer to any scientific construct, mounting evidence suggests that under certain conditions, consumption of sweets or sugar may indeed become addiction-like.”

why hello cupcake full of sugar! (I ate 3/4 of this over a 3 day period, it was massive!)

Well, well. This agrees with what I’ve learned in my studies, personal experiences, and client work! It is true that there are lots of scientific studies that have looked at the issue, but because of the complex nature of the question and confounding factors involved, it is really hard to prove a causal relationship here. And the physiological scientific backing does not totally support the theory either (addiction-like instead of “addiction”).

Unscrambled : it is not yet proven that sugar is addicting but some evidence shows a possible tendency to be so.  As for a physiological reason, it is not addictive per say.

Sugar Addiction Defined 

We are what we consume. Literally. Our skin, our hair, our nail, our muscle, and our fat cells all come from what we put into our bodies. Normally our bodies crave a wide variety of foods (most especially whole foods), but if said body is exposed to outside influences that are unnatural and even sort-of addictive, this can wreak havoc on the body’s systems and the body might become so used to said outside influences that it starts to crave/want/need the substance.

It begins in the brain and will affect all systems of the body. This is how drugs work. Drugs can make us feel good; they are pleasurable But they can be super addictive because of the receptors used by these drugs.

Sugar is used in the brain as a substrate (glucose), for energy. Without sugar we’d all be brain dead (aka dead). So sugar (aka glucose when broken down) is a needful thing. So why is it so hard to stop sometimes?!

source

Well, sugar makes us feel good, that much is agreed upon. However, sugar can also be a dangerous thing if consumed in large quantities. Sugary foods also seem to be almost habit forming which may further complicate the problem (and the answers).

Foods With Sugar -The Culprit

Here’s the kicker : sugar in of itself may not physiologically be cause for addiction, but the taste of foods with loads of sugar in it, the memories, the emotions, and the social experiences surrounding those foods may actually be the strongest links to addiction and habit-forming tendencies.

So we’re all right. Sugary foods can be addictive because of what sugar is found in (yummy tasty foods), what it is associated with (parties! celebrations! holidays! friends!), memories or traditions we’ve experienced it with (birthdays! family parties! vacation!), or emotions we’ve felt it with (sadness! happiness! pity! excitement! boredom!). 

Sugar is not strongly linked with death (it’s opposite!–our brains are fueled by sugar), however,  large amounts of sugar too quickly and too often can deaden and weaken many systems in the body which MAY then lead to higher morbidity rates, or even eventual death.

our eyes want them all, but our bodies will thank us for stopping at 1 or even a 1/2

Sugar is not deadly or addictive by itself. We, by our actions, fuel the sugar addiction (or somewhat addictive behaviors). That is RIGHT. It is up to each of us to be conscious of what we’re putting into our bodies.

Sugar Addiction Reigned In 

Eat the cookie, yes! Enjoy the fro yo, heck yes! And down some holiday cookies, totally! BUT, eating several of each in short periods of time (and often enough) can end up being dangerous and addictive and further fuel other unhealthy behaviors such as eating binges, emotional eating episodes, and/or other disordered eating habits.

It just goes back to what I totally believe in : Moderation in ALL things, including (and especially) desserts.

I like chocolate, I love caramel, and I am obsessed with fro yo, but I do not eat them every day. Nor do I eat them in large quantities. For me this is key to reigning in any possible addictive behaviors that have to do with desserts and sugar :) Plus, the less I eat them, the less I crave them. BUT the flip side is also true: if I don’t have ANY, the more I crave ’em! Denying our brains the sugar it needs is never a good thing. TRUST me (been there, done that).

pink angel food cake = the bomb!

A huge thank you to my notes from grad school, my incredibly smart dad (he is a brain surgeon and holds a PhD in neuroanatomy!!), you all for help in writing this post! If you are interested in going back to school, there are some great online universities to check out!

I am off to sweat and shake off a sugary food I ate yesterday (it was a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie) while teaching Zumba!! I love to dance–it’s the only way to keep me sane :)

Thankful Thursday

  1. I am grateful for being sore–it is humbling :)
  2. I am very thankful for a little sister who makes me smile every.single.day.
  3. I am super grateful for a warm bed!

What have been YOUR experiences with sugar and sugary foods?? I want to hear YOU–what do YOU think on all this research?? What are YOU thankful for today??

P.s. MORE to come on sugar cravings in the next week or so!

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Comments

  1. Great Post Anette! I definately feel like I need a sweet everyday. If I have a sweet more than once a day it usually leads to overeating or a binge. If I try to monitor myself and give myself one treat at the end of the day it usually works for me.

  2. I definitely have a sweet tooth. I eat a diet that is fairly low in sugar, but I tend to go a little overboard on the occasion that I ‘let’ myself indulge. My downfall is having multiple choices for sugary desserts (like a dessert table at a party or holiday gathering). I always feel like I have to try a little bit of everything, because it will be awhile before I eat that type of food again. It bites me in the butt every time!

    • I think that is what has helped ME, to ‘let’ myself have it if I want it, but because I CAN do this, it makes it less appealing. Kind of backwards, but psychologically it works! Hah.

      Something else that works? WHile at a dessert table I think : I have to teach tomorrow….that usually does the trick! Hah. :)

  3. I have a serious sweet tooth, but I only eat a dessert (usually under 300 cals) after dinner everyday. Is this still alright?

    • That’s great that you know when you love dessert! It is important to satisfy that sweet tooth. The actual caloric amount depends upon your personal needs (height, weight, activity level, weight goal–or maintenance, how many calories were already eaten, how it makes you feel, etc.)

      i say if it hasn’t been a problem so far, then it should be fine! If you’re looking to lose weight, though, it helps to cut down on sweets< ---as that is usually the culprit! Hope that helps :)

  4. Awesome facts and research you found! From my own research and person experience, I’ve found the same info. What it comes down to? Moderation! Just like you said, depriving ourselves of it will only make us crave it, but over doing it can cause an addiction to it. I certainly love my sweets, so reading this is all a good reminder, especially around the holidays. 😉 Great, great post!

    Today I am thankful for the ladies that come to my Senior’s Exercise Class each Thursday morning. They always bring a smile to my face and make my day! I’m also thankful for the yummy lunch I had today. It was healthy AND delicious!

    • Moderation, baby!!

      How FUN that you teach a senior exercise class! I bet they love you :)

      What was in your lunch??? I want some!!

  5. Great post! It is good to stop and think about what we are putting in our bodies and how it effects us! Do you think all desserts are created equal? Or do you think maybe homemade treats can be eaten more often, since they are not so bad?

    • Totally agree-gotta think about what you put IN!

      I don’t think all desserts are created equal, no. Some desserts have better ingredients that are NOT as toxic as other types of desserts. I believe that if a dessert is made at home with mostly whole foods ingredients + some sugar, that that would be better than a box of cookies from the store stuffed full of chemicals, synthetics, and fake foods. Pretty sure science agrees with me on this…. :)

  6. I have a huge sweet tooth, but rarely eat “real” sweets, like with actual sugar. My problem is I’ve found tons of ways to make low-calorie sugar free treats (made with truvia), so I let myself have more than one a day, but now I’ve got myself mentally thinking it’s okay to have sweets all the time!

    • Haha. I see the dilemma :) I believe that sweets and treats CAN be enjoyed in moderation–so maybe try that out for a few days? For me real foods taste better than sugar-free treats.

  7. I most definitely have a sweet tooth and find that if I start with something small, I can control my craving. If I go big on the sweet front then I usually just keep going!

    Awesome post lady!

Trackbacks

  1. […] talking about all that sugar it made me want to just bust out some sprints! Or grab the weights. Or shake it all […]

  2. […] of the intense workout schedule I have, I often crave the ‘healthy’ stuff more than the sugary or crap stuff. It is seriously cool to know that my body KNOWS what it wants to fuel the body to do […]

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