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Nowadays we all know that consuming added sugar is an unhealthy choice. This article will discuss the effects of consuming added sugar, where you can find it, and how to avoid it.

Added sugar causes many detrimental affects to the body. It harms the brain, body, and causes inflammation:

Increases the risk of chronic diseases


Weight gain


Linked to dementia and diabetes


And is very addictive


Many of us already know that consuming sugar is unfavourable. Then why do we still do it? Put simply, sugar has a huge addictive capacity which makes it difficult for people to break from a habit of consuming it.

What exactly is sugar addiction?

Like any other addictive substance, sugar affects the brain's pathways, which causes a chemical addiction. In fact, studies have shown that sugar actually activates the opiate receptors in the brain.


It also affects the reward center of the brain by releasing a chemical called dopamine, which is associated with motivation and addiction. This affect is similar to traditional drug and alcohol abuse


What are the signs?

Although a sugar addiction can be noticeable, because of the huge social acceptance, it can go by unnoticed, and considered 'normal'. Here are some common signs:

  1. You attempt to hide your sugar intake from others

  2. You crave or have a preoccupation with sugar when you are not eating it

  3. When you do not have sugar, you experience withdrawal symptoms

  4. You eat sugar even if you are not hungry

  5. You feel guilty about the amount of sugar that you eat

  6. When you are stressed out you use sugar in order to self-soothe

  7. Your sugar intake has increased, and you need more and more to feel satiated

You can use this test to find your attachment level to sugar -

Withdrawal symptoms

Like with any addictive substance, reducing or removing sugar intake will come with withdrawal symptoms if you have a certain level of addiction. The withdrawal symptoms come in two categories – physical, and psychological. Psychological symptoms include insomnia, cravings, and difficulty concentrating. Physical symptoms include headaches and dizziness. However, they will only last for a short time until your body adjusts.

What foods contain sugar?

Added sugar hides in many unsuspecting foods. Unless you only consume whole, unprocessed food, you are bound to have added sugars in your diet. Here are a few examples:

  • Beverages: soda, juice, cocktails, sweet tea, ice tea, sweet coffee, sweetened water, sport drinks, energy drinks

  • Desserts and pastries

  • Condiments like ketchup

  • Breakfast cereals

  • Yogurts

  • Snacks and biscuits

It's a good idea to check the labels of foods you are purchasing – you might be surprised to find added sugar in the most unexpected places!

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