Can you actually be addicted to sugary foods and beverages? Sugar Addiction Awareness Day of October 30 presents an opportunity to learn more about the problem. The overview below provides information on how sugar affects your brain and general health, as well as gives tips in how to be free of the addiction.
What Does Sugar Do to Your Brain?
Research shows sugar triggers the release of natural chemicals in the brain called opioids, just as illicit drugs do. These chemicals stimulate the brain’s pleasure center, which causes you to want more. The rewarding sensation you receive when you consume it overrides self-control and leads to addiction.
How Does Sugar Affect Your Health?
Eating sugar takes a serious toll on your body, producing an extensive array of adverse effects. Behavioral changes include depression, antisocial behavior and difficulty concentrating along with learning disorders in children. Physical changes involve premature aging, suppression of the immune system and hormonal imbalances in addition to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and obesity. For more information about the link between sugar and diabetes, see Can Reducing Sugar and Starch Improve Health Outcomes for Diabetics?
How to Be Free of the Addiction
Noted natural health practitioner Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends several measures to free yourself of the sugar habit. His dietary advisories include eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, avoiding foods containing high-fructose corn syrup and drinking ample amounts of water. He also advocates the healthy lifestyle practices of getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and managing stress levels to minimize the effect of too much sugar consumption.
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