Sugar High: It's the feeling not the taste.

Apr 24, 2023

The human brain's reward center releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical, when we consume sugar, which is responsible for creating pleasurable sensations. This phenomenon is the reason why people crave sugar. The brain becomes accustomed to the release of dopamine and craves sugar in order to achieve that same feeling. Sugar addiction can be challenging to break because it is just as addictive as drugs like cocaine and heroin, as per studies. In fact, in a study conducted by Connecticut College, rats were given the choice between Oreos and cocaine, and they chose Oreos just as frequently as cocaine.

Moreover, researchers at the University of Michigan found that the more sugar a person consumes, the more the brain craves it. This is because high amounts of sugar consumption lead to the release of more dopamine, which results in a stronger desire for sugar. To break the cycle of sugar addiction, the first step is to become aware of how much sugar is being consumed. This involves reading nutrition labels and paying attention to the amount of sugar in the foods we consume. It is also important to replace sugary treats with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit or unsweetened yogurt.

It is crucial to recognize that cravings for sugar are not only based on taste. Our brains are programmed to seek out pleasurable experiences, and sugar is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. By understanding how the brain works, individuals can take control of their cravings and make healthier choices. In conclusion, the brain's reward center is triggered by sugar, resulting in an intense craving. By becoming mindful of the impact of sugar on the brain and opting for healthier alternatives, one can break the cycle of sugar addiction and lead a happier and healthier life.

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Avena, N. M., Rada, P., & Hoebel, B. G. (2008). Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 32(1), 20-39.

Ahmed, S. H., Guillem, K., & Vandaele, Y. (2013). Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 16(4), 434-439.

Schroeder, E. T., & Hoffman, M. W. (2018). Effects of sugar consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 108(3), 695-709.
Connecticut College News. (2013, October 16). Rats prefer Oreos to cocaine: