Let’s be honest - almost every week, we’re bound to consume foods that contain sugar. However, certain people have a sugar addiction but are unaware of the potential risks that come along with it. If you know someone who has a sugar addiction or you’re experiencing it yourself, read on to learn more about it!
What is sugar addiction?
A sugar addiction involves a strong compulsion to start consuming any form of sugar. In other words, someone with a sugar addiction tends to have strong cravings for sugar, which they need to satisfy their cravings. If not, they will experience withdrawals.
The average unhealthy consumption of sugar for male adults would be more than 150 calories while for female adults would be more than 100 calories. In comparison with rice, one cup of rice has about 12.2 teaspoons of sugar.
Processed vs Natural Sugars: What’s the difference?
It’s important to understand the difference between processed and natural sugar. Processed sugars, also known as refined sugars, are manufactured and go through processing to remove molasses. Some examples of refined sugar would be sweet drinks and cane sugar. They are poor in nutrients and contain several unhealthy compounds such as fats, artificial flavoring, and sodium.
On the other hand, natural sugars are packed with nutrients such as fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Natural sugars can be found in fruits and dairy products such as milk. Consuming natural sugars isn’t as harmful as processed sugars since your body will gain nutrients along the way.
Symptoms of sugar addiction
If you’re not sure whether you have a sugar addiction, below are some of the common sugar addiction symptoms to be aware of:
1. You’re always craving something sweet after meals
Are you always the one asking for dessert after eating any of your meals? As the common saying goes, ‘there’s always space for dessert!’. No matter how stuffed you feel, your meals will not be complete without dessert.
2. You’re tired all the time
At times when the blood sugar levels of the body drop, those who suffer from sugar addiction will tend to reach out for sweet food. However, you will experience the ‘sugar crash’ as sugary foods don’t contain sufficient nutrients for the body to have enough energy.
Though you might get addicted to that ‘sugar rush’, eventually your body will not have the energy to sustain for the entire day.
3. You experience withdrawals
Similar to the withdrawals alcohol or drugs addicts face, those who have a sugar addiction will experience the same withdrawals when they haven’t gotten their dose of sugar. Some of the common withdrawals include anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and bloating.
4. Your taste buds are immune to sweet food
By immune to sweet food, we mean despite everyone telling you that the food is sweet, you find them not sweet enough. That’s because your taste buds have gotten less sensitive to the taste of sugar. Therefore, it increases your tolerance for sugar.
5. Carbs are your best friend
Do you find yourself wanting to eat foods packed with carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, or rice? If you’re not aware of it already, food that is high in refined carbohydrates consists of sugar (or glucose).
Side effects of sugar addiction
Without a doubt, there will be sugar addiction side effects when you’re consuming too much sugar in the long run. Below are the common side effects most people experience:
1. More prone to heart diseases
Those who have a sugar addiction will more likely to increase the risk of heart diseases such as atherosclerosis, which is when the artery is clogged.
2. Will most likely cause weight gain
It’s no surprise how consuming a large amount of sugar will increase the risk of weight gain. For example, sodas such as coke are known to increase one’s visceral fat amount (also known as belly fat).
3. May cause depression
If your diet mainly consists of processed food or those high in sugar, it could increase the risk of experiencing depression. The main reason is due to the inflammation or blood sugar swings one may experience while consuming too much sugar.
4. Increased risk of fatty liver
Fructose, which is a type of sugar, will be converted into energy (also known as glycogen) in the liver. However, our liver stores a certain amount of glycogen and will convert the excess glycogen into fat. When you have too much fat in your liver, it will increase the risk of getting fatty liver disease.
5. Increase the rate of skin aging
As we grow older, experiencing skin aging is something unavoidable. But when you have a sugar addiction, it could potentially make your skin age faster. This is because there are certain compounds (advanced glycation end products - AGEs) found in the body that can be affected by sugar. High amounts of refined carbs or sugar will increase the production of AGEs, which causes your skin to age faster.
How to overcome sugar addiction?
When visiting a doctor, various prescribed medications can greatly help those suffering from sugar addiction. Some of the common drugs to treat sugar addiction would be Prozac and Wellbutrin.
However, you can also change your diet by consuming foods that are healthier than the ones high in sugar.
To combat sugar addiction, various alternatives make a great substitute for sugary foods. You don’t need to rely solely on drugs. Below are some of the recommended food options:
Fruits contain natural sugars which are extremely healthy for the body to consume often. Besides, fruits are packed with nutrients to protect your body against sickness.
2. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber which is good for the body. It can help to combat sugar cravings as it helps to keep your stomach full longer.
The popular snack that’s rich in protein and calcium would be yogurt, particularly greek yogurt. It helps to curb sugar cravings and decrease your overall appetite during the day.
4. Dark chocolate
Instead of the usual chocolate, dark chocolate is a much healthier option as it contains more cacao and less sugar.
Ready to fight your sugar addiction?
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