Do you find it difficult resisting the temptation of sweet treats when they are within hands reach of you? Or perhaps you struggle to stop at just one? Well if it makes you feel better, you are not alone! Sugar is actually incredibly addictive; with scientists having discovered that is has a similar impact on parts of the brain as the drug heroin!?
On a chemical level, eating sugar provides an instant reward by stimulating the release of serotonin into the body. This happy hormone makes us feel good, which in turn encourages us to eat more sugar more often, so we can recreate this ‘good feeling’.
Interestingly though, studies are now showing that glucose and fructose have a different impact on the brain. Even though foods sweetened with glucose will leave you feeling full after enough calories are consumed, those that are sweetened with fructose don’t have the same satiating effect. Which means you are more likely to keep eating and eating (or drinking and drinking) until it is all gone. The irony is that because fructose is derived from fruit it is advertised as being ‘healthy’!
The other interesting thing to observe when eating foods rich in refined sugars, is that the spike in insulin is recognised by the body and if it occurs regularly enough it becomes anticipated. So if you eat a chocolate bar with your coffee break one, two or three days in a row, your body actually anticipates the boost the following day, creating some real sugar cravings. These ‘cravings’ can be quite difficult to overcome, especially if sweet things are all around you. However if you can resist and break the cycle, then after as little as a few days your body will balance out again and the cravings will dissipate.
Treating yourself to what you love every now and then is good for your soul, just remember that sugar can be addictive, so mix it up. Try not to form a regular routine of sweet eating, to help prevent those anticipatory cravings! That way you can best the temptation, and be stronger than the addictive sugar!