Sugar/starch addiction is very common, particularly among women. Sugary foods are metabolized very quickly and converted to a form of sugar known as glucose. Glucose enters the blood stream quickly, and is carried to all parts of the body. When it reaches the brain, it causes levels of soothing, feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, to rise. Suddenly, you feel calmer. Stress drains away. A feeing of well-being tucks itself around you like a soft comforter.
Sound familiar? Consider this: when rats that have been deliberately addicted to cocaine are given a choice between a dose of the drug and a drink of sugar-laced water, most will choose the sugar water.
Since that study, other researchers have confirmed that sugar surpasses hard drugs in its ability to make rodents feel good. See for yourself at <https://ow.ly/BC2Oh>
Not every food addict is a slave to sugar itself. Many are hooked on one or more starchy foods such as pasta, mashed potatoes, french fries, potato chips, pretzels, etc. All those foods are metabolized very rapidly to glucose and affect mood in exactly the same way sugar does.
But is it really an addiction?
Readers who are medically sophisticated may question my using the word addiction to describe the hold sugar has over so many of us. That word is usually reserved the word dependance on hard drugs like heroin, or alcohol. Both cause highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and it is well-known that junkies and alcoholics will do almost anything to get their fix.
I believe that for a substantial number of people, sugar is just as addicting as hard drugs or alcohol. The withdraw symptoms may be less dramatic, but they are very real. There are other parallels between drug and food addiction, too.
Like junkies and alcoholics, sugar addicts find it extremely difficult to resist their drug of choice. Being addicted to sugar means one cookie or slice of cake or piece of candy is likely to lead to another, and another. One or two chips are never enough.
Why isn’t everyone addicted?
You may be thinking, we all eat sugary/starchy food, and many are not addicted. They can take it or leave it alone. That is true. Integrative physician Dr. Roberta Foss-Morgan has an explanation for why many people can eat sugary foods and starchy foods (and many can drink alcohol) without getting addicted.
Dr. Foss-Morgan believes people who simply cannot stay away from sugar or starch or alcohol have a disordered neuroendocrine system that causes them to experience unusually intense pleasure when they consume high-glycemic foods or alcohol. You can read more of what Foss-Morgan has to say here: https://ow.ly/BEczQ
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