There are countless substances that people can become addicted to, and an addiction to anything can be harmful. Even seemingly innocent substances like sugar can become addicting and can not only disrupt a person’s life, but can cause serious health risks.
Researchers now believe that sugar has addictive properties, and that people can become dependent on this substance. A Harvard study done by David Ludwig, author of Ending the Food Fight, found that foods like sugar that have a high glycemic index actually trigger a region in the brain that is associated with addiction. Much like a drug, sugar causes the person to crave more until they can’t stop eating it. Sugar addicts think about their substance as much as a drug addict thinks of his drug.
Health Risks Associated with Sugar
Consuming too much sugar can cause some serious health risks. The over consumption of sugar has been linked to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, founder of The UltraWellness Center, 70 percent of Americans are overweight, and one in two Americans has pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Many of these cases are caused by sugar addiction.
Our society consumes more sugar a day than most people know. Sugar is hidden in many processed foods, even ones that are considered healthy. Dr. Hyman goes on to say that the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, mostly hidden in processed foods, and that the average teenage boy has 34 teaspoons a day (more than two 20 ounce sodas).
In order to overcome an addiction to sugar, it is necessary for the person to withdraw from the substance and replace the sugar with healthy alternatives. Natural foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables offer the healthiest options. Experts say that dieting can help reduce sugar cravings, but for some people therapy is a necessary way to overcome a true sugar addiction.