The desire to eat sweet, high-calorie foods has been programmed in our brains since birth. The desire to consume as many calories as possible is the human instinct to survive. But along with the changing times, sugar and high-calorie foods are more easily obtained. It also triggers a life change with high sugar consumption and causes sugar craving aka addiction to sweet foods.
Is it addicted to sweet food (sugar craving)?
Sugar craving is a form of addiction or addiction that occurs in the brain due to excessive sugar consumption. Addicted to sweet foods we often do not realize because it blends with our daily diet. This has become a big problem when we tend to eat large amounts of food shortly after tasting sweet food.
The process of addiction is characterized by the brain’s response to sweet foods causing the secretion of the hormones serotonin and endorphins which make us tend to be calmer or known as “neurological reward”. The habit of consuming sweet foods also causes a decrease in the performance of the hormone leptin to signal to the brain that we still have enough calories. The result is an increase in the desire to consume food, especially sweet foods.
How is the process of addiction to sweet foods?
Every person who experiences sugar craving has different triggers, but the process of wanting to consume sweet foods again can be explained simply as follows:
- Consumption of sweet foods derived from sugar or artificial sweeteners causes glucose levels to rise very high.
- After stopping consuming sweet foods or drinks, a crash condition occurs where the blood glucose level drops very dramatically.
- This condition makes the body react to trigger hunger or the desire to eat sweet foods again, to restore blood sugar levels like after eating.
- If you respond to hunger by eating sweet foods again, it will cause the process to return to normal and cause the desire to consume sweet foods to increase.
Health effects of sugar craving
Addiction conditions cause a person wants to consume sugar continuously. If it is not met, it can cause a variety of behavioral changes such as emotional instability, difficulty concentrating, or hyperactivity. Not consuming sugar for some time can also cause anxiety, lack of enthusiasm, or feeling sleepy.
Consumption of excess sweetness causes storage of unneeded calories, because basically it has been fulfilled from other types of food, even though it does not have too sweet taste. Sugar craving causes nutritional imbalances because we prefer foods that are high in glucose than foods that contain vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. The result can lead to accumulation of excess fat and disrupt the balance of cholesterol levels in the body. In a long time, this triggers obesity and causes various degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
How to overcome sweet food addiction
Avoid things that trigger you to eat sweet foods
Some things that trigger stress or interfere with mood might be a trigger for you to consume sweet snacks. This unwittingly causes difficulties to stop consuming snacks. If this happens to you, deal with it by avoiding sources of stress for a moment and choose activities that tend to distract attention such as reading books, watching movies, or talking with friends or family.
Snacking on sugary foods can also be triggered due to eating habits when you start feeling hungry. To keep the body feeling full longer, add food sources that contain protein and fiber. In addition, prevent a decrease in excess blood sugar levels by consuming healthy snacks rich in fiber such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables every 2-4 hours after a meal.
Routine physical activity
Consumption of high sugar can cause the brain mechanism to produce endorphins instantly, and this habit will be difficult to break. One way to overcome this is by replacing the mechanism of endorphin formation with physical activity. Exercising can also divert attention from sweet consumption and can help the body absorb food nutrients better.
Avoid consuming artificial sweeteners and added sugar
Sugar craving is not only related to high sugar consumption patterns but the problem of sugar consumption addiction. Consumption of artificial sweeteners, besides being unhealthy, cannot help overcome the effects of addiction caused by the brain can still respond to sweetness. Consumption of foods with the label “low fat” is also not good if you want to overcome sugar craving because it has added sugar.