Sugar Addiction in America
After years of doubt, a Harvard Study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, puts the question of sugar addiction to rest. Sugar is addictive.
Yes, sugar addiction does exist. However, anything that will elevate blood sugar, such as high glycemic index foods, create the same response. These foods include: white flour, white potatoes, white rice, pasta, refined starch. Basically, these highly processed foods are carbohydrates that break down into simple sugars quickly in the body. Not that everyone one who eats sugar or high glycemic foods is addicted, but the potential is there.
Sugar is especially worrying. Americans eat an average of three pounds of sugar a week. Sugar consumption has increased over the last century to the point that it is now frequently added to many foods that you may not suspect.
“In the 1970′s fat became a 4-letter word and we went on a low-fat craze. And in order to make food taste well, we took fat out and added more sugar,” says Dr. L. Wieger from Medical Weight Management Program at Lancaster General in Pennsylvania.
Sugar has become a problem because of the vast amounts that are available in our modern diet and this may be at least part of the cause of our obesity epidemic. Many foods are eaten for convenience, enjoyment or comfort instead of primarily for nutritional needs. One result: one out of ten Americans has diabetes.
The Harvard study found that sugar produced brain activity in the pleasure or reward center of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, the exact same area that addiction affects. People can become irritable, tired, and emotional without their “sugar fix,” finding relief by binging on their favorite snack food and overeating. Sugar filled drinks contribute to the problem greatly also.
If you are dealing with cravings for sweets, you may be addicted. The good news is that 3 or 4 days without sugar helps eliminate these cravings. Consider getting help for eating problems by talking to a professional and making healthier eating a lifestyle change.