Why are we addicted to sugar?


Your brain has an important part to play when it comes to sugar cravings. Refined sugar has been shown to stimulate your brain in a similar way to some addictive drugs. This may explain why some people can't resist sugary foods, despite knowing they are bad for them. 

Your brain is wired to pleasure, and the pleasure you get from eating sugar causes a release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters that make you feel good. When your brain sees sugar as a reward, you crave it because it is reinforcing the reward, which is why it can be so difficult to stop. 

If you have a predisposition to addictions, or are already addicted to sugar, you can see how it can have a powerful influence over your brain chemistry. It hijacks rational thoughts and control so you eat more, crave more, and eat more, and so the cycle continues.

1. Candida overgrowth
 

Candida is a type of yeast that naturally lives in your digestive tract, but only in small amounts. Antibiotics, stress and processed foods are just some of the factors that can cause an overgrowth, which can lead to a myriad of health problems. Most of all, candida loves to feed off sugar, which can be why you crave sugar and automatically feel better after you consume sugary foods. 

A course of probiotics and a healthy diet (avoiding all sugar) can go a long way to helping you overcome this common condition.
 
2. Menopause and PMS 

When estrogen and progesterone drop during menopause, or fluctuate due to PMS, women become more prone to insulin resistance, a condition where their body’s cells don’t respond as efficiently to insulin. In response to fluctuating hormone levels, your body craves sugar to raise feel-good hormones, especially serotonin. 

The sugar fix is only a short-term remedy. For longer-term remedies, you could increase fibre, chromium, magnesium, essential fatty acids and B vitamins (particularly vitamin B6). 

3. Adrenal fatigue (burnout)

Prolonged stress can have a dramatic effect on your adrenal glands, causing adrenal fatigue. Adrenal glands help you respond to and cope with stress, and they release adrenaline and cortisol when you’re under pressure. Over time, your adrenal glands can become worn out, which leads to feelings of fatigue. This makes your body crave sugar for an energy fix. However, adrenal fatigue can make it harder for your body to regulate blood sugar levels, which can result in a blood sugar crash, leaving you feeling even worse.  

A better alternative is to snack on high-protein foods and look at taking magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C and herbs that support your adrenal glands.

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