Health

Sugar Addiction

It is a believed myth that people are born with a sweet tooth. But science negates this myth and instead explains that people only crave for the foods their body is deficient in.

Makes sense right? Nature triggers a stimulus in your brain which makes you feel thirsty, or crave for food. Till this day physiologists have been unable to deconstruct the human body and each day opens a new door for the exploration into the complex machinery that a human body is.

But studies have revealed that our bodies have the tendency of getting addicted to sugar and its absence will not only make you crave for it but can even result in a troubling experience of dealing with withdrawal symptoms.

Fruit is one thing, but modern diets have taken on a life of their own. A decade ago, it was estimated that the average American consumed 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, amounting to an extra 350 calories; it may well have risen since then. A few months ago, one expert suggested that the average Briton consumes 238 teaspoons of sugar each week. Now wondering how much sugar do ‘desis’ take per week? Well the exact amount has never been recorded but studies have shown that Indians or more generally speaking brown people, are twice as likely to be diabetic and have increased sugar levels as compared to non-Indians.

Today, with convenience more important than ever in our food selections, it’s almost impossible to come across processed and prepared foods that don’t have added sugars for flavour, preservation, or both.

One may question the authenticity of the claim made that sugar addiction is real and hence to prove the hypothesis, studies using rats were conducted which proved that not only sugar addiction/its craving is a factual phenomenon but also that withdrawal symptoms that dawn upon when one tries to refrain from a sugary diet.

To quote the actual results of the study:

“In a 2002 study by Carlo Colantuoni and colleagues of Princeton University, rats who had undergone a typical sugar dependence protocol then underwent “sugar withdrawal.” The forced swim test revealed that rats in sugar withdrawal are more likely to show passive behaviours (like floating) than active behaviours (like trying to escape) when placed in water, suggesting feelings of helplessness.”

Through decades of diet programmes and best-selling books, we’ve toyed with the notion of “sugar addiction” for a long time. There are accounts of those in “sugar withdrawal” describing food cravings, which can trigger relapse and impulsive eating. There are also countless articles and books about the boundless energy and new-found happiness in those who have sworn off sugar for good. But despite the ubiquity of sugar in our diets, the notion of sugar addiction is still a rather taboo topic.

 

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