The 7 Signs of Sugar Addiction: Part 1

gluten free baking

This time of year, the sugar is particularly tempting!

The Verdict on Sugar Addiction

Common sense seems to support sugar addiction, but what’s the scientific community have to say? Doctor Nicole Avena with the University of Florida tells us: “Sugar, as common as it is, nonetheless meets the criteria for a substance of abuse and may be ‘addictive’ for some individuals when consumed in a ‘binge-like’ manner.” She goes on: “This conclusion is reinforced by the changes in limbic system neurochemistry that are similar for the drugs and for sugar.”

Sugar addiction is real and is a real problem. In part two, we’ll explore how to break sugar addiction, and how to avoid becoming addicts without having to give up everything sweet forever.

A big thanks to Jonathan for the great info on sugar addiction! Check back next Thursday for the second part of this sugar-addiction series. And in the meantime, be sure to check out Jonathan’s book, his podcast and follow him on FacebookTwitter and YouTube! —Jenn


  1. Dr. Pam Peeke, MD says

    There are no ifs ands or buts on the subject of food addiction: it is as real as cocaine or alcohol addiction and, in fact, affects exactly the same pleasure/impulse control centers of the brain as recognized drugs. This is especially true of what David Kessler calls hyperpalatable foods — foods dense in calories from sugar/fat/salt. Oxford University Press has just published the medical textbook on the subject: Food and Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook, edited by Kelly D. Brownwell & Mark S. Gold. And I’ve just published the first holistic approach to food addiction, The Hunger Fix, which is based on that cutting edge science.

    Substance abuse researchers say that the brain adaptions that result from regularly eating these foods, which are proven to increase consumption, are likely to be more difficult to change than those from cocaine or alcohol because they involve many more neural pathways. Almost 90 percent of the dopamine receptors in the vental tegmental area (VTA) of the brain are activated in response to food cues.

    Brand-new research also shows direct evidence of lasting and fundamental injuries to a part of the brain that helps us regulate our food intake, the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. Within three days of being placed on a high-fat diet, a rat’s hypothalamus (the area of the brain that responds to the hormones that signal hunger and satiety, pair and maternal bonding and certain social behavior) shows increased inflammation; within a week, researchers see evidence of permanent scarring and neuron injury in an area of the brain crucial for weight control. Brain scans of obese men and women show this exact pattern as well.

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