A question we often hear from our patients is “could I be addicted to sugar?” Many of us just can’t seem to control ourselves when we’re at the pastry shop, eating two muffins before even realizing what happened.
Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, you may be wondering what leads to these feelings of helplessness and powerlessness when it comes to controlling our food intake. Studies have shown that certain foods (dubbed highly palatable foods) can produce similar addictive behaviors and brain patterns in some people as drugs and alcohol.
Sugar can bring extreme pleasure to the person increasing our dopamine release. Dopamine is the main substance in the brain that is responsible for our sense of pleasure. For some people, eating sugar produces dopamine release, giving them the compulsion to eat more and more sugar till the point that they cannot control themselves.
Due to the constant, excessive exposure to high-sugar, high-carbohydrate foods, ALL people are at risk for developing a food addiction. One of the cornerstones of our weight loss program is trying to teach conscious eating and how to overcome sugar addiction. Many patients in our weight loss program tell us that they don’t enjoy sweet foods after couple of months of treatment.