Death by Sugar Series, Part II: The Addictive Power of Sugar

Although socially acceptable, sugar addiction is real. As with any addictive substance, more and more sugar is consumed over time, withdrawal symptoms are experienced when it is removed (headaches, low energy, mood swings), and finally, strong cravings often lead to relapse. Regardless of the fact that it has been referred to as the “white plague” and rivals cocaine in its addictive strength, sugar remains a socially sanctioned commodity to sell, eat, or use to celebrate and lavish on children.

Sugar’s addictive power is three-fold. First, we have a natural affinity to sugar. It tastes yummy and gives our body fuel. While stumbling upon a beehive or bush of ripe wild berries was quite useful to our foraging ancestors in their endeavors to obtain enough calories, our situation is quite different today. In our developed world of easy access, this added fuel has become over-available, over-processed and over-consumed, all of which lead to trouble with a capital T.

Second, sugar has the ability to increase pleasure-yielding opioids in the brain, similar to morphine and heroin, making one’s sugar cravings often too strong to ignore. Julia Ross tells us in The Diet Cure, “For some of us, certain foods, particularly ones that are sweet and starchy, can have a drug-like effect, altering our brains’ mood chemistry and fooling us into a false calm, or a temporary energy surge. We can eventually become dependent on these drug-like foods for continued mood lifts.”

Third, sugar begets more sugar. Eating sugar clearly throws one’s body chemistry into a tailspin. Tag on poor sleep habits, adrenal fatigue, and an overload of distress, intense cravings for sugar (or other substance like alcohol or drugs) can easily develop. Insulin imbalances and a lack of the happy-brain chemical called serotonin are often the underlying culprits. Essentially, the sugar being consumed perpetuates the vicious cycle of more intense sugar cravings.

Are the dangers of sugar giving you chills yet? We live in a fallen world; sickness, crime, mental illness, diabetes, cancer and other unfortunate situations are going to happen, but imagine if the body-wrecking effects of an overload of sugar were removed from the equation? How much less would we suffer? How much easier would it be for children to sit still, concentrate, and behave in class? How much happier would people feel? Would teen violence or drug use diminish? The positive possibilities are endless.

For tips on conquering sugar cravings, call Robust Life Center and make an appointment with Sam or Vicki. They will help you get your family off health-wrecking sweeteners and replace them with more nourishing, whole foods. And now, knowing what you know, even naturally derived sugars should be limited; unfortunately, cravings sabotage the best of intentions. But with the right tool you can zap sugar cravings at the source. There is no magic pill; getting off sugar requires a well-designed lifestyle with exercise, plenty of sleep and relaxation, and time in the kitchen. Only then will your days of sugar slavery come to an end so that you can reap the rewards of happier moods, less sickness, and an overall brighter future for everyone.