Sugar. Ahh, my old nemesis… Since I was diagnosed as a Type-1 Diabetic at the chaotic age of 4-years old, I never really got to experience that sweet side of life throughout my childhood. In fact, on the few, rare occasions where my blood dropped and the only recourse was to enjoy a regular Dr. Pepper or have a good old fashion candy bar, it would usually make my week. I made it past my teen years before having anything sweeter than fruit became possible. Since carb-counting wasn’t a thing in my household, the total and complete elimination of sugar in my diet was one of the key ways that my parents dealt with my condition.
It’s no secret that sugar has a measurable and real effect on the body, whether you have Diabetes or not. This has been proven time and again, and there have been studies that I’ve read that show that sugar has been shown to have an addictive effect as well as many others, on the body.
According to an article posted by WebMD, the average person consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is significantly more than the recommended 12 teaspoons. Granted, that’s an American statistic but I’m sure it still applies to the majority of the Western world. And since the population seems to be hell-bent on consuming copious amounts of sugar, let’s examine some of the effects it has on the body.
According to that same article, eating sugar causes a release of dopamine, which is the “feel-good” hormone. Because of this, you’ll be likely to want more and more sugar in order to continue riding the dopamine train. This will cause the “sugar high” that my son seems to love using as a weapon of mass destruction, followed by a sugar crash, which can adversely affect your mood and make you feel down. This, in result, will cause you to seek out more sugar to counter the crash. Wash, rinse and repeat.
In addition, sugar consumption has been linked to dental issues, joint pain, skin issues, liver and heart disease. And it’s no secret that excess sugar consumption has been linked to weight-gain. And if I have to explain the issue with eating excess amounts of sugar if you have any type of Diabetes, then you probably need to go back and read some of my previous posts. Which you should be doing anyway. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
There have been some studies that have shown that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine (hence, today’s title). I tried my damnedest to find the studies I read, but I couldn’t track down the one that referred to it. But there’s no denying that some people enjoy the dopamine release and the short burst of energy that sugar can bring, and have difficulty staying away when it isn’t present. This is why you’re likely to grab a donut on your afternoon break as opposed to carrot sticks.
Can sugar have an addictive component? Yes. Granted, it often depends on who you talk to. The idea is not to try and completely eliminate sugar from your diet (whether you have Diabetes or not), but to consume in moderation in the same way as you would do with everything else. It can also be difficult to truly know how much sugar you’re consuming since it can be labelled as so many different things that you may not even know that you’re eating sugar! Modern Diabetic therapy has made it possible for people to eat in the same way as everyone else, provided they test their blood sugars regularly and adjust their insulin levels. ☯