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Is Sugar Really Addictive?

Posted on: April 14, 2016

We all have heard that eating quantities of sugar every day can be bad for us, but can it really be addictive? Like drugs can be addictive? The short answer is yes, for some people it certainly can be!

Why? One big reason is that the research shows that sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain — just like addictive drugs. In fact, sugar and many junk foods can cause massive dopamine release. For more information on this fascinating subject, see this article in Science Direct

Westlake Village Chiropractor talks about sugar
For most of us, sugar may not become a true addiction, but the connection to dopamine does explain why we often find sugar in the foods we crave. If you have been reading the ingredients on the labels of your food you already know sugar is in the most surprising products.

According to Dr. Joseph Frascella, director of the division of clinical neuroscience and behavioral research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Although many people like sweets, and would likely choose chocolate cake over fruit for dessert, this does not mean they’re addicted to sugar.”

So even if we are not ourselves actually addicted to sugar, we need to recognize that our human pre-wired programming will automatically steer most of us toward sugar without us even knowing it. For example, you may discover by reading ingredient labels that your favorite cracker has sugar in it even though it doesn’t taste sweet.

This is important not only when we try to limit our sugar intake, but if we are looking to control our personal body weight because the hidden sugar in the foods we eat can create increased cravings for more food. Controlling cravings can be complicated of course, but becoming aware of the influence sugar has on us can make it much easier to live a healthy life.

In another newsletter we’ll explore some of the great challenges our bodies have in processing the many forms of sugar that are available in our food. In the meantime, make sure you read those labels!


At Westlake Village Chiropractic Arts, we are committed to supporting you in your journey of greater health & well-being. Contact us for your next visit.

Posted in: Health & Well Being, Nutrition

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Disclaimer: Dr. Stephen B. Chopyak, D.C is a chiropractor and does not offer medical or chiropractic advice from this website. This information is offered for educational purposes only. Do not act or rely upon our information without seeking an independent health care professional's advice. The information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship between you and Dr. Chopyak. As with any medical procedure, results will vary among individuals, and there could be risk involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, condition or issue, promptly contact your health care provider. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The photos used may be models and not patients.