Innocent Sweet Tooth or Sugar Addiction: Know the Signs

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Most of us enjoy eating sugary foods, but how do we know whether we are addicted to them?

Although there is no standard clinical criteria for sugar addiction, people who study nutrition and the effects of refined sugar on the body have developed their own set of addiction indicators. Remaining ignorant of them may seem like sweet bliss, but the bliss may be short-lived.

Eating too much sugar wreaks havoc on our health. Some of the ill-effects of sugar are slow to show themselves but devastating when they manifest. For instance, sugar can suppress the immune system, upset the mineral and hormonal balance in the body, cause tissues to lose elasticity, cause tooth decay, raise triglyceride levels and lead to heart disease. The list goes on...

12 Signs of Sugar Addiction

If only one to three of the following signs of sugar addiction are true for you, you are doing pretty well but need to be careful not to increase your sugar consumption. Having four to six of these behaviors is cause for concern. If seven or more of these apply to you, consider talking to your doctor or consulting with a nutritionist.

  1. You eat refined sugar every day.
  2. You cannot go more than one day without eating food that contains sugar.
  3. You have cravings for sugar, sweetened drinks, chocolate or alcohol.
  4. You cannot stop after eating one bite of a pastry or a piece of candy.
  5. You hide sweets around the house.
  6. You always have sugar/sugary foods around the house.
  7. If there are sweets in the house, you will eat them.
  8. You usually experience shakiness, fatigue or mood swings (bad mood) if you go more than three hours without eating.
  9. You frequently or always have sweetened coffee, pastries or donuts for breakfast.
  10. You eat something sweet after every meal.
  11. You cannot wait more than an hour after waking to eat something.
  12. You drink sweetened drinks/soft drinks every day.

The Sugar-Loaded Body

Brain imaging technology shows that eating large amounts of sugar lights up nearly the same areas of our brain that heroin does. The sugar causes our body to release feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. It also triggers our body to deploy large quantities of insulin in order to manage all of the sugar we have dumped into our bloodstream.

After a few hours of heavy insulin management, our blood sugar level drops below normal and we become irritable, tired and shaky. Reaching for a pastry or candy bar starts this unhealthy cycle over again. A better remedy is eating a balanced meal that provides plenty of protein, the complex carbohydrates of whole grains and the essential vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables.

Source: Nancy Appleton Books Health Blog

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