The rates of obesity in America have been on the rise for the past decades. There are many theories regarding the explanation for this increase; however, the amount of sugar that is processed into many of our food sources seems to play a large impact on these statistics.

Be Aware of Sugar Content

Sugar additives are used in a variety of popular grocery store products. Sucrose, dextrose, syrups, honey, oils, and simple table sugar can be found in nearly everything. Because we are consistently consuming these additive sweeteners, our bodies can slowly begin to develop a tolerance to them and even a dependence on them.

When we think of food containing high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, most of us will think about stereotypical candies and sweets. These types of foods do contain a great amount of sugar, but that wouldn’t be as much of a problem if it weren’t for the amount of sugar we consume in everything else. As you make your next few meals or have some snacks, take a look at the sugar content on the nutrition labels. Many granola bars, protein drinks, and other “healthy” snacks are loaded with sugars. You may be surprised to see how much sugar you consume daily.

We often begin consuming these foods high in sugar at a very young age and create our eating habits through a sugar-based diet. This excessive consumption of sugar is a leading factor in the rise in obesity rates. As everyone around you is also consuming high amounts of sugar, it can be easy to not notice the harm of your own eating habits. Replacing highly processed foods that are high in sugar with healthy alternatives can help you stray away from this common habit.

Similarities to Addiction

When an individual is trying to lose weight through various dieting tactics, they may try to consume only healthy meals and avoid extra sugar and fats to help them maintain their diet. It is common for people to struggle to stick to a new diet when they are used to consuming large amounts of sugar. They may make an effort to refrain, but cravings for sugar and sweets often will set in and be hard to resist.

Many of these side effects that individuals experience when attempting to lose weight and establish a healthy diet are similar to the effects of addiction. While the diagnosis of sugar addiction is not officially recognized, there is clear evidence that many effects of sugar are similar to those of an addictive substance. Regardless of the lack of official recognition of sugar addiction, it is crucial to be mindful of sugar’s potential effects on your health.

If you find that you struggle to adjust to new changes or have a hard time breaking habits, adjusting to a new diet may be a challenge for you. Making slow adjustments to your eating habits and slowly decreasing the amount of sugar you consume will help make this adjustment easier and lower the feelings that are similar to addiction withdrawals.

An aspect of sugar consumption that is similar to addiction is its effect on energy levels. When sugar is processed in our body, dopamine is released, and our energy levels increase. This energy increase is only temporary, however. When this energy is used, people often experience a sugar crash, which is caused by lowered energy levels. Some people feel the desire to consume more sugar to lift their energy levels again. This is similar to the cycle of addiction and the compelling desire to have more.

Sugar and Self-Awareness

Despite the potential for sugar addiction and the importance of being aware of the sugar we are consuming, it is essential to realize that having moderate amounts of sugar is not harmful. There are a variety of natural sugars found in fruits, cooking oils, and a variety of other products. This information should not encourage you to eliminate sugars from your diet but instead to have sugar in moderation. Being aware of your sugar consumption and only having treats with excessive sugar every once in a while can help you avoid developing a dependence on sugar.

The best thing you can do to refrain from reaching a potential sugar addiction is to be aware of your sugar intake. Being mindful of what you are consuming can help you prevent the effects of sugar from playing a negative role in your everyday life. By promoting ideas of nutritious food sources that are not overpowered with sugar, you can help everyone in your surroundings refrain from over-consuming this product. When you refrain from the use of sugar to restore energy levels and work toward only consuming sugar as an occasional treat, you can establish moderation with your sugar consumption.

While sugar addiction is not considered an official diagnosis, the adaptivity our body develops toward sugar shares many similarities with dependence on addictive substances. As sugar content is constantly increased in the food we consume every day, there are some effects to be mindful of regarding the amount of sugar we consume. When working to stop excessive consumption of sugar, you may experience feelings of cravings and other symptoms that are similar to symptoms of withdrawal from a substance. Being mindful of the amount of sugar you are consuming and working to moderate that amount can allow you to maintain your weight and manage long-term health much easier. The potential issues that arise from excessive sugar consumption are important to be aware of. To learn more about sugar addictions or discuss your risk for developing this form of dependence, reach out to Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.

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