Have you ever felt like you just can’t put down your fork when eating a sugary dessert? Eaten a whole bag of candy in one sitting? Feel like you can’t survive a day without something sweet? We tend to frown upon drug addicts, but little do you know, many people out there are addicted to another drug: sugar. You’ve got questions, science has the answer.
It can can be addictive.
According to scientists, sugar may be eight times more addictive than cocaine. Like cocaine, it triggers a flood of dopamine to the brain, making you feel immediate pleasure. However, the sugar high is short-lived, and the brain craves more. If these pathways in the brain are repeatedly stimulated, the brain will need more and more sugar to achieve the same feeling of euphoria.
Thinking twice about reaching for that package of Reese’s Pieces? With 24g of sugar in a standard size package, you should be. But also know that it sneaks into many foods that aren’t typically known to be sugary. Cereal, flavored yogurt and protein bars are foods that seem healthy but could be contributing to your sweet addiction.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons and men no more than 8 teaspoons of added sugar per day. To put that in perspective, a 12 oz. Coke contains 9.3 teaspoons of sugar. Yikes.
Cut back on your intake.
Excess sugar won’t just make you addicted — it can also cause type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even acne. Kick your cravings to the curb by making water your beverage of choice, reaching for real food instead of packaged snacks, exercising for a mood boost and getting enough sleep. And if you just can’t get rid of your sweet tooth, try some of these healthy dessert recipes.