Addiction can occur in the most unlikely places such as in the food we eat. According to nutrition expert Dr. Mark Hyman, sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine and the brain produces the same high levels of dopamine. Sugar and drug addiction are very similar to each other as you can grow tolerance, withdrawal, and having too much can damage your health.
For generations and generations, we seek out foods that are high in calories and eat a lot of food for survival. The brain considers sugar to be beneficial and releases huge amounts of dopamine, mimicking the effects of addiction and creating a tolerance and withdrawal when ridding sugar from diet. Alcohol has high sugar content so the body of an addict has adjusted to high levels of sugar from daily or frequent drinking. When in sobriety, the brain loses that daily sugar that it was used to from drinking alcohol. An addict decides to replace one addiction with another by consuming a high amount of sweets and candy.
The brain is constantly demanding for the reward center to be satisfied. Low serotonin causes irritability, anxiety, and depression. We have cravings for simple carbohydrates since they provide serotonin to our bodies which elevate moods and restore balance. When the pleasure center is constantly stimulated, dopamine levels are reduced and we have more of a need for euphoria.
The UK government recommends that sugar should not take up more than 5% of energy you get from other foods and drinks a day. Adults should have no more than 30 grams a day which is seven sugar cubes. Having too much sugar can lead to too many calories that lead to weight gain as well as tooth decay. In order to cut down on sugar, drink water, low-fat milk, sugar-free diet or no added sugar drinks instead of fizzy drinks. Have no more than 150ml of fruit juices or smoothies. Reduce the sugar in hot drinks or cereal or switch to sweeteners. You can also added fruit to your cereal instead to make it sweet like sliced bananas, berries, or dried fruit. There is a lot of added sugar frequently found in deli meats, frozen pizzas and in other foods. Check nutritional labels to pick food with less added sugar. Just like with drug addiction, it is important to treat sugar addiction to prevent contacting diabetes or heart disease.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig treats alcoholism and drug addiction as an illness and promote abstinence as essential for long-lasting recovery. We help patients recover through an intensive, personalised programme that combines medical treatment, 12 Step therapy, CBT and other psychiatric therapies and complementary therapies. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 29, 2020