It is well known that most people enjoy a tasty sweet snack. But why are we all so fond of sweets? Is it perhaps because we develop an addiction for it from a young age? Or is this just a myth? We’ll explain to you why sugar has such a great attraction to us humans!
We get our preference for sweet tastes from an early age. Sugar is already in the first food most of us consume: our mother’s milk. The sugars in breast milk protect against bacteria and infections and are therefore very important. Because of this, however, we immediately develop a preference for a sweet taste.
PAST VS. NOW
You might wonder why there didn’t seem to be a problem with sugar in the past. This is quite easy to explain: people used to have a lot less sugar through their diet because sugar was expensive. So when they wanted to satisfy their need for sweetness after breastfeeding, they ate fruit or honey. However, fruit and honey were not always plentiful, so people consumed a lot less sugar than they do now. That’s why there was simply no such thing as a sugar addiction.
Nowadays, this is different! Sugar is cheap and is used in almost all processed foods. It is not only found in candy, biscuits and cakes, but also in everyday things like bread, pasta sauces, breakfast cereals and sandwich fillings. This makes it much easier to become addicted to it.
IS SUGAR BAD FOR YOU?
Excessive consumption of sugar has many adverse health effects. It can lead to obesity, overexertion of your pancreas and type 2 diabetes. Still, we can’t completely cut sugar out of our diets. We do need it as a fuel to function properly. However, it is best to eat sugar in the form of starch. This is released slowly into your body, providing you with energy for a longer period of time.
But remember: Always consume sugar in moderation, so that you have enough fuel to function, but don’t ingest so much that you have to deal with the negative side effects!
It is important to be aware that sugar is added to an incredible number of products these days. Just pick any product from the supermarket shelves. 9 out of 10 times you will find sugar as an ingredient on the back.
Also, be careful with soft drinks. You might think they are innocent, but they often contain enormous amounts of sugar.
BUT IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A SUGAR ADDICTION?
The short answer is, yes, it exists. Eating sugar releases dopamine and opioids into our brains. These are your reward chemicals. They make you feel good every time you eat sugar. This feeling can be addictive. We want more and more of it, and that’s why we’re eating more and more sugar.
In addition, your appetite is largely determined by the hypothalamus (a part of your brain). Ingesting too much sugar every day causes an inflammatory reaction in the hypothalamus. This causes the cells, that normally inhibit your appetite, to break down. So you don’t know when you’ve had enough. This plays into your addiction further.
The conclusion we can draw from this is that sugar addiction is real and something to watch out for!