Many people are addicted to sugar and don’t even know it. I believe this addiction is the main reason people get fat.

They don’t think they eat a lot of sugar because they don’t eat a lot of candy, cakes, and pies, but the problem is that sugar is hidden in many foods, including breads, muffins, and even dried fruit. I believe sugar is toxic. It has no nutritional value, it’s highly addictive, and it makes you sick and fat.

Certain types of foods, such as processed foods and simple carbohydrates (candy, sugar, sweets), are high in sugar, toxic to our digestive system, and cause us to gain weight and make poor food choices in the long run.

Processed foods and simple carbohydrates (sugar) are low in nutrients and high in calories. Many of us have heard that excess sugar consumption can lead to food cravings, binge eating, and, worst of all, sugar addiction. Sugar stimulates the dopamine and opioid receptors of the brain, which are the same receptors stimulated by other addictive substances, such as cocaine and morphine. Just like those drugs, sugar can become addictive. If you try to cut back or break your addiction to sugar, you will experience withdrawal symptoms, the same as a drug addict does. Over time, having an excess of refined sugar in the diet leads to not only weight gain but also other serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Judith J. Wurtman, a nutritionist at MIT, has shown that eating refined carbohydrates like cookies, cakes, candy, pasta, or white bread raises serotonin and endorphins in the brain, creating a happy, feel-good, peaceful state. This is why we crave these carbs when we’re anxious or stressed. However, you only “feel good” in the short term and then you crave more in order to remain in that happy state. You begin self-medicating with food – eating sweets to make yourself feel balanced and calm. No matter if you crave sweets or breads or pasta, it all has the same effect because it all converts quickly to sugar in your body and causes you to crave more of the same.

How Sugar Makes You Fat

When you eat sugar, it gets stored in the liver in the form of glycogen.

When the liver is overloaded with sugar, it begins to expand, and when it is maxed out, the glycogen is expelled in the form of fatty acids. This excess fat – called fatty acid – is deposited into areas such as the belly, butt, thighs, and hips. Where it gets most dangerous is when the remaining fatty acids end up in our major organs, including the heart and kidneys.

Sugary foods (candy, cakes, pies, muffins, and sodas) and other refined, starchy carbohydrates cause a rapid rise in insulin levels, which results in excess fat in the body. When food is eaten, it is broken down to glucose so it can be used to fuel the body. Insulin is the hormone that sends glucose out of the blood into the tissue cells for use as energy. When excess glucose remains in the blood, insulin levels stay high. Chronically elevated insulin can cause both fat storage and more inflammation in the body. When insulin levels are high, this is a signal to the body to store extra calories as fat and to refrain from burning fat. High insulin levels mean you’ll have more body fat, while low insulin levels mean you’ll have less body fat.

Research has also shown that a high-sugar diet causes cancer cells to multiply rapidly. An important study published in the medical journal Cancer Research was conducted by a team out of the University of California, Los Angeles. The researchers found that while sugar of any kind offered sustenance to cancer cells, fructose played a key role in the proliferation of cancer cells. That means that cancer spreads more quickly on a high-fructose

The food industry has been extremely successful at designing foods to capture the hearts and minds of those who enjoy food. Food manufacturers and restaurant owners may not fully understand the science behind why sugar, salt, and fat sell so well, but they know that they do. Thus, they make foods that are laden with sugar, salt, and fat. When food appeals to our taste buds, we say that it is palatable. But scientists know that food that is palatable stimulates our appetite and cravings and causes us to eat more of it.

In fact, we become motivated to pursue that taste over and over again. Eating foods high in sugar and salt makes us want to eat more foods that are high in sugar and salt. Eating foods that taste good causes us to eat more food that tastes good.

The average American’s sugar load is about a hundred pounds per year. We have become physically addicted to simple carbohydrates (candy, sugar, sweets). In a 2007 study conducted in France, cocaine-addicted rats were offered super-sweetened water using a combination of sugar and artificial sweeteners. In just three days, the cocaine-addicted rats switched their allegiance from cocaine to the super-sweetened sugar water.

The conclusion was that sugar activates dopamine receptors just as cocaine does. But unlike cocaine, sugar has no adverse effects on the nervous system. When the rats got a hit of sugar, they gained the highs of cocaine without the downside of increased nervousness. Since cocaine is known to be one of the most addictive substances on earth, we can see how humans can so easily get addicted to sugar. Sugar gives them the same effect of the hit on their dopamine receptors as cocaine does. Humans can easily become addicted to sugar and go through withdrawal if they can’t get sugar quickly.

Are You Addicted to Sugar?

If you answer yes to more than ten of these questions, then chances are that you are a sugar addict.

Do you put sugar in coffee or tea?
Do you drink sodas at least once a day?
Do you drink sweetened fruit punches, sports drinks, or juices?
Do you use syrups, jams, or jellies several times a week?
Did you eat a lot of candy growing up as a kid?
Do you crave sweets, pasta, or breads or are they your favorite foods?
Do you eat bread, bagels, croissants, muffins, or donuts for breakfast?
Do you feel chronically tired or fatigued most days?
Do you often eat a dessert after dinner?
Do you crave sweets in the afternoon or late at night?
Do you buy candy at the movie theater?
Do you have headaches often?
Do you drink fruity or sweetened alcoholic drinks?
Do you keep candy or snacks in your home at all times?
Do you eat sweets first at a happy hour or party?

There are so many good reasons to break your sugar addiction, but at the top of the list is that sugar makes you fat and it makes you sick.

See Sugar Addiction Part 2 of 2.