Beautiful girl holding donut an having fun isolated on pink background. People with sweets.

Oh, sugar… why so delicious and so dangerous to our health? Sugar is not only bad if you want to maintain your weight, but it also affects our quality of life, our disposition, and our mind.

The excess of sugar in our meals cause one of the worst health problems globally: obesity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that in 2025, about 2.3 billion adults will be overweight; and more than 700 million will be obese. The number of overweight and obese children in the world threatens to reach 75 million if nothing is done.

But what happens in our body that makes us so crazy for sugar? The answer is in our brain. Addiction to sugar can actually be as dangerous as drugs. When we eat sugar, our brain releases dopamine, the hormone responsible for the sensation of pleasure, in the same area where the hormone is activated in cocaine addicts.

How many times have you seen a person eat a bar of chocolate or a cake, or any other candy, just to relax or feel better during a sad moment? How many times did you listen to a friend saying that during the PMS it was just impossible to avoid the sweet stuff? This is one of the first signs of sugar addiction. After eating sugar, the brain releases opioids, substances that act to produce effects similar to morphine, and are responsible for the sensation of pleasure. When the brain recognizes this, it requires more opioids, causing the compulsion. When sugar enters the bloodstream, glucose levels rise, stimulating the pancreas to produce and release insulin, a hormone that converts glucose into energy and fat reserves.

Charming little girl on kitchen is looking from under the table on sweets. Ready to eat some cookies and cakes.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid eating too much sugar:

  • Eat fruits and carbohydrates that have natural fructose and glucose, which are good substitutes for refined sugar and candies.
  • If you are feeling crazy for something sweet, and fruit is not an option, eat it out of your home and do not bring another piece to eat later.
  • Prioritize foods rich in lean proteins such as chicken, fish, yogurt or eggs, that have high satiety power. Besides, they do not cause spikes of blood glucose, and they provide the raw material for building lean mass.
  • Drink more water during the day. The brain often confuses dehydration with hunger.
  • Do not put sugar into natural juices! Instead, enjoy the natural fructose.

But what if nothing works? Then you should consider looking for nutritional and psychological monitoring, to avoid complications in the future. Yoga and meditation can be good too, and help you find a balance for your body and mind.

Become more aware of how nutritious your daily meals are. Start using Lifesum’s nutrition tracker app today!

Journalist, Brazilian and passionate about health issues, quality of life and lifestyle. Always trying to learn new things and put into practice on a daily basis.

All posts by Aline Czezacki