Bitter Sweet Sugar

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We all have been trying to get healthier, fitter, better physically, mentally and emotionally. While there are many lines of thoughts at play about how to get healthy, the root of all in the modern world is one -too much sugar!

In the modern world, about one-third of total energy from food comes from sugar(s) directly or indirectly. Consuming sugars has numerous negative effects to health. In addition to causing heart problems and obesity, sugar is also the root cause of yeast infection/candida, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, insulin resistance, even Alzheimer’s and in many cases, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, depression, fatigue, fatty liver and inflammation. This cluster of diseases revolving around cardiovascular diseases and diabetes is called metabolic syndrome. So, one may say, sugar causes metabolic syndrome.

In this article, we will take upon some elementary questions – Why do we crave sugar? And why can’t we give it up easily? Here are some facts,

SUGAR AND DOPAMINE

When we eat sugar, various areas in the brain get affected. Primary effect is seen on the area, which is responsible for pleasure, reward, and positive reinforcement (all addiction related feelings). Sugar consumption releases the pleasure hormone, dopamine, in this region making us correlate sugar to nice, warm, familiar feeling. So we are hooked.

DOPAMINE DOWN REGULATION

What happens the next time we want sugar?

Well, the dopamine, causing the ‘nice’ feeling, gets down-regulated after eating sugar. It means that next time, you would need MORE sugar to get the same level of nice reward like feeling you got before. Hence you don’t stop after a piece of cake or just a sip of cola.

SUGAR AND WITHDRAWAL

Sugar withdrawal symptoms are very real. It has been established in studies on mice that when the fructose solution is taken away from sugar-dependent mice, they show withdrawal symptoms (twitching, restlessness, floating in water rather than swimming indicating helplessness and more).

That’s the reason why whenever in the past you have tried to quit sugar, you have failed. Think about it-do you really need that measly teaspoon of sugar? Of course not! But then why can’t you stop? Because the addiction is real and so are the withdrawal symptoms.
SUGAR AND HUNGER

Sugar makes us hungrier. Anytime we eat foods high in sugar, they spike blood glucose. As a result there is a huge insulin spike that regulates the blood sugar at a faster rate to make it lower than desired levels. As a result, we suffer energy crash and hunger. And now that we need instant energy, we eat sugary foods again and this cycle continues.

STRESS AND SUGAR
In times of stress, the body goes into a mode where it feels it needs immediate, instant energy. This makes us crave for foods that would convert to glucose the quickest in the bloodstream, and before we realize, we crave for sugar.

The above leaves no doubt in the mind that sugar is a highly addictive substance with withdrawal symptoms similar to cocaine. It affects our behavior, causes depression, makes us hungry and fat. Sugar makes us crave for more sugar and is extremely difficult to give up. This is true of even small amounts and the ‘good sugars’.

The only solution for anyone trying to get healthier and lose weight is to give up all forms of sugar. Though the initial days are difficult, the journey becomes easier in sometime.

Udit Gupta is a Mumbai based blogger, health enthusiast who practices and preaches healthy
food choices for healthy living. Blog – https:// critiquewhatibuy.wordpress.com/
Expressed above are personal views of the writer. The magazine TIW may not subscribe to them.

Author: Udit Gupta

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