What 1 Food is Worse than a Drug Addiction?

Many people are addicted to sugar and don’t even know it. I believe this addiction is the main reason people get fat. They don’t think they eat a lot of sugar because they don’t eat a lot of candy, cakes, and pies, but the problem is that sugar is hidden in many foods, including breads, muffins, and even dried fruit. I believe sugar is toxic. It has no nutritional value, it’s highly addictive, and it makes you sick and fat.

Certain types of foods, such as processed foods and simple carbohydrates (candy, sugar, sweets), are high in sugar, toxic to our digestive system, and cause us to gain weight and make poor food choices in the long run. Processed foods and simple carbohydrates (sugar) are low in nutrients and high in calories. Many of us have heard that excess sugar consumption can lead to food cravings, binge eating, and, worst of all, sugar addiction. Sugar stimulates the dopamine and opioid receptors of the brain, which are the same receptors stimulated by other addictive substances, such as cocaine and morphine. Just like those drugs, sugar can become addictive. If you try to cut back or break your addiction to sugar, you will experience withdrawal symptoms, the same as a drug addict does. Over time, having an excess of refined sugar in the diet leads to not only weight gain but also other serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke, or type-2 diabetes.

Dr. Judith J. Wurtman, a nutritionist at MIT, has shown that eating refined carbohydrates like cookies, cakes, candy, pasta, or white bread raises serotonin and endorphins in the brain, creating a happy, feel-good, peaceful state. This is why we crave these carbs when we’re anxious or stressed. However, you only “feel good” in the short term and then you crave more in order to remain in that happy state. You begin self-medicating with food—eating sweets to make yourself feel balanced and calm. No matter if you crave sweets or breads or pasta, it all has the same effect because it all converts quickly to sugar in your body and causes you to crave more of the same.

The food industry has been extremely successful at designing foods to capture the hearts and minds of those who enjoy food. Food manufacturers and restaurant owners may not fully understand the science behind why sugar, salt, and fat sell so well, but they know that they do. Thus, they make foods that are laden with sugar, salt, and fat. When food appeals to our taste buds, we say that it is palatable. But scientists know that food that is palatable stimulates our appetite and cravings and causes us to eat more of it. In fact, we become motivated to pursue that taste over and over again. Eating foods high in sugar and salt makes us want to eat more foods that are high in sugar and salt. Eating foods that taste good causes us to eat more food that tastes good.

The average American’s sugar load is about 100 pounds per year. We have become physically addicted to simple carbohydrates (candy, sugar, sweets). In a 2007 study conducted in France, cocaine-addicted rats were offered super-sweetened water using a combination of sugar and artificial sweetener. In just three days, the cocaine-addicted rats switched their allegiance from cocaine to the super-sweetened sugar water. The conclusion was that sugar activates dopamine receptors just as cocaine does. But unlike cocaine, sugar has no adverse effects on the nervous system. When the rats got a hit of sugar, they gained the highs of cocaine without the downside of increased nervousness. Since cocaine is known to be one of the most addictive substances on earth, we can see how humans can so easily get addicted to sugar. Sugar gives them the same effect of the hit on their dopamine receptors as cocaine does. Humans can easily become addicted to sugar and go through withdrawal if they can’t get sugar quickly.

To find out if you are addicted to sugar, take the Are You Addicted to Sugar Quiz in my new book, Lose Weight Without Dieting or Working Out!. There’s also several strategies to help you break the sugar addiction so you can lose weight and get healthy!

JJ Smith (www.JJSmithOnline.com) is a nutritionist and certified weight-management specialist who has been featured on The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show and on the NBC, FOX, CBS and CW networks. Her advice has also been featured in the pages of Glamour, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal. Since reclaiming her health, losing weight, and discovering a “second youth” in her forties, bestselling author JJ Smith has become the voice of inspiration to women who want to lose weight, be healthy, and get their sexy back! JJ may be contacted by email at info@jjsmithonline.com and on Twitter: jjsmithonline and Facebook Page: RealTalkJJ

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