Sugar Addiction Research Paper | 764 Words
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Sugar Addiction Research Paper
Wake up, pour a bowl of cereal, and side it with toast and coffee. We begin and end our day with these sugar-packed foods leading us to obesity, cardiovascular disease, cavities, and diabetes. Maltodextrin, muscovado, barley malt, and diastase, believe it or not, are all forms of sugar. Despite the names, they all have specific molecules that make sugar. I will cover how sugar affects the brain, the healthiest ways to consume sugar, and the addiction.
I’ll only have one slice of cake. Another won’t hurt, maybe one more. You end up eating the whole cake. Many people would blame this on their addiction to sugar. Is it your sugar addiction causing you to binge? Many scientists would say no. Sugar lights up the same brain region as illicit drugs, though it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re hooked. “Some foods are hard to resist because they’re pleasurable, not addictive,” Rebecca L.W Corwin, professor emeritus of nutritional neuroscience at Penn State University, says.
Corwin says the distinction is essential because addictions are commonly treated with complete abstinence from the problem substance. You need food to live; therefore, planning on removing sugar from your diet will make you crave it more.
To clarify, we don’t usually seek sugar out of the bowl. Instead, we’re seeking the experience certain foods can give us, says Susan Albers, a psychologist and author of 50 ways to soothe your food. Your parents may offer you food when you feel lonely, making you feel good. This affects emotional eating behavior.
Swapping out foods for healthier alternatives is an excellent way to fight your emotional eating behavior. You could try swapping ice cream out for yogurt, cereal for oatmeal, and jelly beans for berries.
Let’s move on from talking about addiction to talking about how sugar affects the brain. Sugar affects the brain in many ways you are probably unaware of. The cerebral cortex(outermost layer of the brain) and subcortical(below the cortex) regions constantly communicate.
However, when sugar floods the striatum (rewards system) with dopamine, it changes communication. The brain considers dopamine a happy event, remembering what happened for it to occur and repeat. Suppose the behavior of eating sugar frequently happens under higher levels of dopamine. In that case, the behavior will probably happen again. With repetition, obtaining sugar becomes so embedded in our brains that it’s almost impossible to cast aside. This is to form survival habits. The brain still regards sugar as a short form of energy and nutrients that should be consumed profusely.
In contrast to habits we obtained millennia ago, the concentrated hyper sweetness of today’s sugary foods is anything but natural and overwhelms the brain. “The dopamine response we see with sugar-it’s not typical for food to do this,” says Nicole Avena, a neuroscientist and assistant professor of pharmacology at Mount Sinai.
The brain’s dopamine activity is usually calm in response to food unless the person eating is hungry. The repeated dump of dopamine from sugary foods can cause modifications in the brain. However, it’s not all dopamine. Sugar starts a neurochemical flood that stimulates the vagus nerve, which helps the body relax and serves in the fight or flight state that arises in response to stress. “This is part of the reason we feel good after eating sugar,” Avena says. It’s also the cause of emotional eating.
Now that we know how sugar affects the brain, we can figure out the healthiest ways to consume sugar. When you eat something with sugar, it reaches the bloodstream as glucose. As the glucose levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin in response.
Different foods and drinks cause different shifts in blood glucose. Foods that cause big spikes in blood glucose are associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease risk. There’s sugar in fruit, yet it doesn’t cause problems. This is because of fiber. Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that slows the gut’s absorption of fructose and other sugars. Other significant sources of fiber are whole vegetables and whole grains.
All in all, we should try and avoid processed sugars. It affects your mood, changes your brain, makes you plump, and causes health risks. Just remind yourself that sugary drinks and food do almost nothing to satisfy your hunger and make your desire for sugar worse. Many magazines, tv shows, and books go deeper into the context of sugar. To sum up, what I’ve talked about, I explained the addiction, how sugar changes the brain, and the best way to indulge in sugar. I anticipate this essay was informative, and you learned a little more about sugar.
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