Intense thirst, unusual fatigue, weight change… while sweet foods have the gift of comforting us, they can quickly become an impediment to enjoying every-day life. Here’s how to spot an addiction.
You’ve heard it a gazillion times: sugar is your worst enemy. And for good reason, many studies have shown in recent years that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine.
Note that we are talking here about fast sugars, different from the slow sugars contained in grains, bread or even legumes. These can be natural (in fruit, honey, etc.…) or processed (in candy, soda, pastries, etc.). If natural sugars are essential for the proper functioning of our body, processed sugar loses on the other hand any nutritional value.
Consumed in too large quantities, processed sugar can cause hyperglycemia (beyond 1.1 G / L of blood) which can, if it persists, cause serious health problems: obesity, diabetes, deterioration of blood vessels (cardiovascular diseases), nerves, retina or even kidneys.
But what are the signs that you are consuming too much?
You feel tired
When you eat sugar, you experience a surge of energy, but it goes back down as quickly, and to levels lower than desired. When you consume sugar, the pancreas will secrete a large amount of insulin, in order to absorb the excess sugar in the blood and stabilize your blood sugar level. This spike in insulin will then go down as quickly and cause general tiredness.
Scientists have also found that sugar also blocks the action of orexins, a brain hormone responsible for feeling awake. Unlike proteins which, onthe contrary, stimulate orexin.
You feel the urge to eat it
Do you constantly feel the need to eat something sweet? Eating dessert after each meal? You are probably addicted to sugar! Why? Because it literally makes you happier!
When you ingest a sweet food, a whole chemical scheme is set up. The pancreas secretes insulin, which allows sugar to enter the cells and thus promotes the penetration of L-tryptophan into the brain. L-tryptophan is an amino acid used for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter creating a feeling of well-being. Serotonin is often referred to as the “happiness hormone”.
You have mood swings
If when you eat sugar, you feel better but in its absence, you are more irritable, it means that you are dependent on it! Stress, disappointment or even annoyance when you do not have your dose, are signs that could not be more revealing. As we have seen above: sugar brings a feeling of well-being, in its absence it is not uncommon to feel a feeling of anxiety.
You feel an intense thirst
When there is too much sugar in the blood, the body produces more urine to eliminate the excess. This frequent urge to urinate then causes intense thirst.
You have gained weight
As previously explained, excess sugar in the blood causes an increase in insulin, which acts to get glucose into the cells, in order to bring blood sugar back to normal. If you do not do enough physical activity, this glucose stored in the cells will not be used by the body and will be stored as fat.
Conversely, by reducing the consumption of sugary products, we promote destocking by forcing the body to transform its reserve fats into fuel necessary for its functioning.
Editor-in-chief of the Scientific Origin, Shakes is the swiss-army knife of the Organization. Besides assuring the well-functioning of the magazine, he also covers stories ranging from science to health, to technology, to astronomy, etc… On a typical weekend, you’ll find him enjoying a picnic at a local park or playing soccer with friends.