Addicted to sugar?
Is it possible to be addicted to sugar? The answer is YES – especially if you binge on the sweet stuff. Quite literally, periods of abstinence followed by binge eating of sugar can cause an addiction within 10 days. Likewise, cutting sugar from your diet altogether can cause withdrawals symptoms that can be severe – including anxiety, chattering teeth and tremors, headache, flu-like symptoms and other not so nice side effects.
How does this happen? The taste of sugar makes the brain release natural opioids (which cause high or happy feeling), and the bingeing causes dopamine release. Without these drugs, the body begins to feel anxious and go into withdrawals.
One example of an opioid naturally produced by the body is endorphin. Many studies have shown show that prolonged strenuous workouts cause the body to produce endorphins, which can produce a sense of high or well-being in person – also known as “runner’s high.” And did you know that your brain can produce dopamine in other fun ways, not just be eating sugar? For example, sex also causes the brain to release dopamine.
So instead of reaching for a candy bar the next time you are craving sweets, stop and think: Are you craving the taste, or really just want the good feeling? If you just want the good feeling, try reaching for your partner or going for a workout instead!