As someone who has been in recovery for over 4 years, I am quite sensitive to new addictions I may be falling into. Believe it or not a clean addict does have tendencies to get addicted to other things than hard drugs and alcohol once they get clean! Recently I have been quite unhappy with my weight and have been taking a look at my diet. Somebody mentioned eliminating sugar and I dreaded even the thought of doing it. Once I had that reaction I knew that there was something wrong with that. As I looked deeper into a potential sugar addiction I really was surprised at some of the info I came across and how similar a sugar addiction could be to a drug addiction.
How Does Sugar Affect Our Brain?
We usually view something containing a large amount of sugar as a reward or a treat. Think about when you take that first bite of a brownie or ice cream, it is a very enjoyable experience. That is because when we ingest sugar our brain lets out a load of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is the pleasure chemical for your brain. That means that technically, sugar can be viewed as a mood enhancing substance! Will it lead someone back to relapse? No that’s a little extreme but it can make someone become sugar dependent after a while and is something people get hooked on without them even realizing it.
How Does Sugar Affect The Body?
I’m sure many of us are familiar with the term ‘sugar rush’. Sugar rush is a burst of energy you can get for a short time from the initial indulging in candy or cookies. Your blood sugar level goes way up, causing an energy burst and then our cells suck up all of that sugar which then gives us that crashing feeling. It really can be a roller coaster of feelings when you are eating something containing a large amount of sugar. Sugar also provides a high amount of calories with little to no nutritional value. Once that sugar enters your body, your body takes nothing from it because it doesn’t need it and it gets stored inside of you, causing weight gain.
What Can You Do About It?
It’s unrealistic to tell somebody just cut out any food or drink with sugar, usually when somebody does something that drastic they do it for a few days then cave and go on a sugar binge. First, we can take the American Heart Associations recommended daily sugar intake at 9 teaspoons a day. In order to do that there needs to be a new helpful habit to add to your life, that would be reading food/drink nutritional labels. I started reading food labels about a year ago and was absolutely astonished at how some foods I viewed as ‘healthy’ contained a lot of sugar. Not only that but condiments, protein bars, fruit juice and many other things I found that some brands just advertised as a healthy alternative but were truly not! Fortunately there are usually options you can find for everything that have low sugar/no sugar alternatives. Next time you go grocery shopping, do some label research and I guarantee you will be blown away by what you find.
As I said earlier, if you are eating a good amount of sugar I am definitely not telling you that you’re on your way to relapse, but I am here to tell you how much of an affect sugar can have on your mind and body. The past 3 months I have drastically cut out my sugar intake and the changes I feel are outstanding. Sure I cave into the occasional ice cream pint or cookie but I do not let that stop me from doing my best to eliminate sugar as much as I can. Give cutting sugar out of your life a genuine try and you will be very surprised by the results.