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).

Author: Udit Gupta

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