It may not be cocaine or any of the restricted drugs but sugar addiction could be equally dangerous. Sugar causes the body to release Dopamine which is a feel-good hormone and like every good thing, you would always want more.

Sugar is one of the substances scientifically proven to enhance the secretion of dopamine as mentioned earlier and it also increases the secretion of insulin which binds to amino acids. Intake of sugar certainly boosts your morale and lifts your mood; however, an issue arises when your mood constantly becomes dependent on your sugar intake. You may think its ‘just sugar’ but an addiction to sugar is very similar to a drug addiction. You can go through the following similarities to check if your intake of sugar is borderline addictive.

Similarities between Sugar and Drug Addiction

  1. Dopamine levels:

Your body releases higher levels of dopamine when you consume sugar, more than the natural levels produced in the brain. Research has shown that the brain reacts to sugar in the same way it does to addictive substances. The intense feeling could lead to addiction if you continue to consume a high amount of sugar.

  1. Cravings:

If you ever feel like you need a bottle of soda or scoop of ice cream to function properly, that will likely be sugar craving at work. The cravings you experience when you go a short while without taking sugar is similar to those experienced by a drug addict who is trying to quit.

  1. Common brain response:

Recent research found strong similarities in how the body and brain respond to both addictive substances and sugar.

  1. Tolerance: Once you’ve developed a tolerance for sugar, alcohol, or any substance it’s difficult to quit. In this case, you’ll need higher amounts of sugar with subsequent intakes to feel the original ‘high’.

Basically, if you have tried to reduce your sugar intake but failed, or if you attempt to stop and experience withdrawal symptoms or if you are aware of the dangers but just cannot stop, you have a sugar problem.

Now let’s look at some of the causes of sugar addiction or dare I say, sugar abuse.

  1. The serotonin effect: 

Your body releases insulin and binds to amino acids when you consume sugar. They leave tryptophan (an amino acid used in the production of serotonin) when they travel to your muscles. This depletes serotonin chemicals in your brain. In turn, lower serotonin levels result in the increased intake of sugar when tryptophan levels are low.

  1. Stress:

Stress can cause you to give up good eating habits. You release cortisol when you’re stressed, followed by a stress trigger that leads to fluctuating levels of blood sugar. You might use sugar to boost your mood and energy levels. Researchers found that high-stress hormone levels trigger sugar cravings, drug-seeking behaviour and compulsive eating.

  1. Digestive ailments: 

There are beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. When this is imbalanced, it leads to the growth of fungi and yeast. Such overgrowths cause increased sugar cravings. Sensitivities and food allergies are another cause of blood sugar imbalances and cravings. You can reduce these cravings by restoring bacterial balance and treating food allergies.

  1. Hormone fluctuations: 

According to researcher Nicole Avena, there is a pain-relieving quality in sugar, as it increases endorphin levels in the brain. Women who experience Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) sometimes have cravings for sugar and indulge in sweet treats and chocolate.

These causes listed are compound reasons under which other causes can be found but none would justify the dangers that accompany a sugar addiction. Some of these dangers include damage to the kidney; excess sugar intake can lead to kidney damage which prevents the kidney from carrying out proper filtration. Sugars are also seen to cause tooth decay by energising the bad bacteria in the mouth. Consuming high amounts of sugar leads to an increase in insulin release which causes diabetes and insulin also promotes rapid cell growth that could consequently spiral into cancerous cells if left unchecked. Sexually, high sugar intake prevents men from getting an erection and lead to impotency.

Knowing all of this, I’m sure you want to cut down on all the sugar, but you don’t want to drop all of it at once. Well, that is a good start. You can learn to substitute sugar with safer options that are also low calorie and would help you live a healthier life.

For example, substituting soda and excessive sweet drinks for the Codix Vitamin C+D drink. This Vitamin C+D comes as an effervescent tablet and contains sorbitol which is a low-calorie polyol (sugar-alcohol). This sorbitol does not spike you blood pressure as the regular sugar would and it also does not contribute to a decline in your oral health and has non carcinogenic properties. Lastly, seeing as cutting sugar intake drastically is not advised for addicts, replacing sugar with this vitamin C+D is the most effective way to go.