Thursday, 23 February 2017

Fact or fiction – is sugar addictive?

Amy Reichelt, RMIT University 

Some of us can definitely say we have a sweet tooth. Whether it’s cakes, chocolates, cookies, lollies or soft drinks, our world is filled with intensely pleasurable sweet treats. Sometimes eating these foods is just too hard to resist.

As a nation, Australians consume, on average, 60 grams (14 teaspoons) of table sugar (sucrose) a day. Excessive consumption of sugar is a major contributor to the increasing rates of obesity in both Australia and globally.

Eating sugary foods can become ingrained into our lifestyles and routines. That spoonful of sugar makes your coffee taste better and dessert can feel like the best part of dinner. If you’ve ever tried to cut back on sugar, you may have realised how incredibly difficult it is. For some people it may seem downright impossible. This leads to the question: can you be addicted to sugar?

Sugar activates the brain’s reward system

Sweet foods are highly desirable due the powerful impact sugar has on the reward system in the brain called the mesolimbic dopamine system. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released by neurons in this system in response to a rewarding event.

Drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines and nicotine hijack this brain system. Activation of this system leads to intense feelings of reward that can result in cravings and addiction. So drugs and sugar both activate the same reward system in the brain, causing the release of dopamine.

This chemical circuit is activated by natural rewards and behaviours that are essential to continuing the species, such as eating tasty, high energy foods, having sex and interacting socially. Activating this system makes you want to carry out the behaviour again, as it feels good.

Our brain systems encourage us to undertake activities that will continue our species - such as eating high energy foods.

The criteria for substance use disorders by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) cites a variety of problems that arise when addicted to a substance. This includes craving, continuing use despite negative consequences, trying to quit but not managing to, tolerance and withdrawal. Although sugary foods are easily available, excessive consumption can lead to a number of problems similar to that of addiction. So it appears sugar may have addictive qualities. There is no concrete evidence that links sugar with an addiction/withdrawal system in humans currently, but studies using rats suggest the possibility.

Sweet attractions

Dopamine has an important role in the brain, directing our attention towards things in the environment like tasty foods that are linked to feelings of reward. The dopamine system becomes activated at the anticipation of feelings of pleasure.

This means our attention can be drawn to cakes and chocolates when we’re not necessarily hungry, evoking cravings. Our routines can even cause sugar cravings. We can subconsciously want a bar of chocolate or a fizzy drink in the afternoon if this is a normal part of our daily habits.

Sugar tolerance

Repeated activation of the dopamine reward system, for example by eating lots of sugary foods, causes the brain to adapt to the frequent reward system stimulation. When we enjoy lots of these foods on a regular basis, the system starts to change to prevent it becoming overstimulated. In particular, dopamine receptors start to down-regulate.

Now there are fewer receptors for the dopamine to bind to, so the next time we eat these foods, their effect is blunted. More sugar is needed the next time we eat in order to get the same feeling of reward. This is similar to tolerance in drug addicts, and leads to escalating consumption. The negative consequences of unrestrained consumption of sugary foods include weight gain, dental cavities and developing metabolic disorders including type-2 diabetes.

Quitting sugar leads to withdrawal

Sugar can exert a powerful influence over behaviour, making cutting it out of our diets very difficult. And quitting eating a high sugar diet “cold turkey” leads to withdrawal effects.

Our brain systems encourage us to undertake activities that will continue our species - such as eating high energy foods.

The length of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms following a sugar “detox” varies. Some people quickly adjust to functioning without sugar, while others may experience severe cravings and find it very difficult to resist sugary foods.

The withdrawal symptoms are thought to be factors of individual sensitivity to sugar as well as the dopamine system readjusting to a sugar-free existence. The temporary drop in dopamine levels are thought to cause many of the psychological symptoms including cravings, particularly as our environment is filled with sweet temptations that you now have to resist.

Why quit sugar?

Cutting sugar from your diet may not be easy, as so many processed or convenience foods have added sugars hidden in their ingredients. Switching from sugar to a sweetener (Stevia, aspartame, sucralose) can cut down on calories, but it is still feeding the sweet addiction. Similarly, sugar “replacements” like agave, rice syrup, honey and fructose are just sugar in disguise, and activate the brain’s reward system just as readily as sucrose.

Physically, quitting sugar in your diet can help with weight loss, may reduce acne, improve sleep and moods, and could stop those 3pm slumps at work and school. And if you do reduce sugar consumption, sugary foods that were previously eaten to excess can taste overpoweringly sweet due to a recalibration of your sweetness sensation, enough to discourage over-consumption!

The Conversation
Amy Reichelt, Lecturer, ARC DECRA, RMIT University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Anonymous said...

For me, it's really addictive :) Thank you for sharing.
* google maps street view
* email sign up

Ann Lily said...

Your blog posts are more interesting and impressive. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly, including me.I actually appreciate your own position and I will be sure to come back here. five nights at freddy’s 4 | word cookies answers | hotmail sign in | hill climb racing 2

happy wheels said...

Thanks for your sharing! The information your share is very useful to me and many people are looking for them just like me!

Jonathan Coachman said...

Gone are the days, when we had to wait and keep a look on the different TV channels for watching the latest movies.
In this world of ever growing technology, we can easily watch the latest movies or tv shows by streaming on different websites.
Now we can even watch the movies and TV shows on our Android or Windows smartphones
ShowBox Apk Download

for music maniac users said...

The Music Downloader Apk can act as Paradise Music player is no longer accessible. It is often removed from Google Perform Shop.
Music Paradise is an absolute must have an Android audio apk that helps you get the track you âre searching for. It allows you preview it before downloading the audio on your Android devices and perform the tracks.
music paradise pro apk free download always keep me up to date with latest music. It's easy to use audio downloader apk that lets you search tracks utilizing artist or title as query after which you could get mp3 having one tap on your Android device.

Alsaeed A Koutb said...

خدمات مكافحة الحشرات و رش المبيدات من المنارة نقوم برش مبيدات قوية تقضي علي الحشرات سريعا
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالرياض
مكافحة النمل الابيض
شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض
رش مبيدات بالرياض

Luarg Luarg said...

Chaussures Palladium Baggy/
Salomon Speedcross 4
Femmes Salomon Speedcross 3
Hommes Salomon S-LAB Sense 4

Crazy Boys said...

This is great movie of Hollywood you never watch before, Dunkirk (2017) full HD Movie Watch Online Full Movie

Dunkirk (2017) full HD Movie Watch Online Full Movie
Dunkirk (2017) full HD Movie Watch Online Full Movie
Dunkirk (2017) full HD Movie Watch Online Full Movie
Dunkirk (2017) full HD Movie Watch Online Full Movie
Dunkirk (2017) full HD Movie Watch Online Full Movie
Dunkirk (2017) full HD Movie Watch Online Full Movie

Unknown said...

See a lot to identify these games. Do not worry, please play together, and that's what I need.
happy wheels

Oliver Maurice said...

You should consider checking out this site for some information about phone locators and Snapchat HAcks. It's pretty interesting

Pedro said...

Great web site you have got here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
imessage download for pc, imessage app for android is a amazing application for the everyone to work with in daily life since it has designed application with vivid colour schemes and also an exceptionally impressive UI.

Litz Harly said...

So also in Australia there are a few laws to shield clients from savage Payday Loans Agencies. Payday Loans Summary. Payday credits are mainstream for various reasons. payday loans san diego

techkriti said...

bengali shayari
bengali SMS said...

Webroot is a protection software solution that communicates with the cloud avoiding the hassle to manage the signature updates to deploy. activate for office Setup Visit

webprotime said...

Nice Article

Stuart Williams said...

It is not always possible or neither necessary to take professional help in case of some simple daily problems of android apps such as SHAREit. Xender APK Download is better and more feasible to fix certain problems by oneself. In case of certain app errors for Download SHAREit App the best thing to do is uninstall the app.

For this you need to go to the ‘control panel’ menu from the ‘start’ option and select the ‘remove or uninstall’ option based on your device and select SHAREit to be removed. Once Playbox Download is removed you should reboot your computer and then reinstall the app from the genuine link again. Make sure the link downloads completely before you move on. This will ensure the normal function of the app.

Install adryanlist only from the ‘’ this will make sure that you have downloaded the whole app completely and that the app is 100% genuine. On the other hand be sure to do the registration for your device for the SHAREit app rightly as otherwise it might cause errors. If some problem is persistent even after rebooting try re-registering for your device. http bit ly build_pin might help sort the problem.

These 3 methods are sure to fix some problems for the app and once how to install elysium on kodi are fixed you can start using the app freely and according to your convenience. So now have unhindered sharing experience with your friends, enjoy transferring data to devices instantly and if some problem occurs with the SHAREit app, solve it yourself.