(Natural News) It’s not a secret that too much sugar is no good, but just how bad is it? If you’ve been going hard on the sweet stuff, you’re not alone: Sugar addiction is a serious problem. Scientists say that the effects of sugar are so powerful, its impact on the brain are similar to that of hard drugs like cocaine. While cocaine addiction is obviously a more immediately life-threatening problem, sugar addiction is no joke.
Research has linked sugar to a bevvy of health problems: Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and oral health issues are just a few problems linked to taking in too much sugar. Research has shown that too much of the sweetener can accelerate skin aging and cause acne, as well. It comes as no surprise then, that sugar can affect the brain, too.
Sugar on the brain
A team of scientists from Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) say that trying to detox from excessive sugar consumption can produce withdrawal symptoms in the brain not unlike those seen in drug users. The QUT team explains that sugar increases dopamine levels in the brain, like many drugs. But over time, sugar stops producing this “positive” effect — and in fact, eventually, sugar starts causing a decrease in dopamine.
“We have also found that as well as an increased risk of weight gain, animals that maintain high sugar consumption and binge eating into adulthood may also face neurological and psychiatric consequences affecting mood and motivation,” the team writes.
Similar to hard drugs, sugar addicts need to increase their intake of sugar to get the same “reward levels” and avoid the inevitable sugar crash and subsequent low-level depression that is sure to follow. In this vein, the team says, sugar’s effect on the human mind is strikingly similar to that of a hard drug.
It would seem apparent that the health impact of sugar is far more severe than we’ve been led to believe. Sugar may not kill quickly, but over-consumption can lead to a lifetime of suffering. And because of Big Food’s hold on nutrition science, few people are willing to take sugar addiction seriously.
“Like other drugs of abuse, withdrawal from chronic sucrose exposure can result in an imbalance in dopamine levels and be as difficult as going ‘cold turkey’ from them,” the scientists explain. Though past research has suggested sugar addiction is merely psychological, the QUT team has made it clear that sugar addiction occurs at a biochemical level.
Sweet but deadly
Sugar comes in many forms, and the food industry is excellent at hiding sweeteners in their processed junk. Some experts have even called the prevalence of hidden added sugars a “public health crisis” that is being swept under the rug.
Studies have also shown that sugar addiction can set the stage for other addictions to creep in. As Natural News writer Russel Davis reported in 2017, a study led by experts from Canada’s University of Guelph has “shown that excessive sugar intake may render people more susceptible to drug abuse.”
Davis reports further than high-sugar diets seemed to actually dampen the effects of opioid medications — which leads to an increased consumption of the medication, and ultimately, increases the risk of opioid addiction. The team posited that nutritional intervention could actually help reduce the frequency of opioid addiction, as well as help combat the widespread issue of sugar addiction.
You can learn more about what foods to avoid, and what to eat instead, at Food.news.
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