Why do you crave sugar? And why is it so hard to stop? I personally couldn’t understand for a long time why I found it so difficult to stop wanting to eat sugar on a daily basis. I felt like I was addicted, and to be honest I probably was. Do you seek out sugar and when you get it you feel good? Does just the very sight of something sugary make your month water giving you the craving to eat it? We’ll there’s a reason for that. And it has to do with Dopamine and Serotonin. Let me explain.
Sugar and dopamine
You see when we consume sugar our bodies release something called dopamine which makes us get the feel good reward feeling. One of the main functions of dopamine is to create the feelings of pleasure that our brains associate with necessary actions like eating and procreating. You see we are instinctively driven to perform these vital functions because our brains are conditioned to expect the dopamine rush that accompanies them.
So for example when we eat a chocolate bar we get a signal to the brain activating our reward system which makes us feel pleasure. It produces the same feeling as having sex or taking drugs. The more we consume sugar the more our dopamine receptors are sent into overdrive and which gets us to seek the pleasure produced from eating sugar, which then leads our brains to become conditioned to expect the dopamine rush that accompanies eating sugar.
Normally when ever we eat food dopamine is released in the brain but the more we eat of that food the less dopamine is released meaning we level out over time till we don’t get pleasure from that food anymore. The reason behind that is our bodies seek a variety of food so we get a good balance of vitamins and minerals. If we didn’t get bored of eating one food we would be content eating it over and over again meaning we would miss out on a whole variety of other foods with different minerals and vitamins.
I’m sure you’ve had a favourite food you’ve ate regularly till you got bored and it didn’t give you that same feel good feeling. Well with sugar that doesn’t happen meaning you can keep eating more and more without the levelling out of dopamine which stops you from being discouraged from eating sugar and because of that we continue to eat sugar and our brains get conditioned to seek it out because of the high levels of dopamine released.
Sugar and Serotonin.
Serotonin is another reason why you crave sugar. You see sugar as well other quick simple carbs give us a quick mood boost which is caused by the release of serotonin. If you don’t know what serotonin is it’s a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, mood and appetite. The bad thing about eating sugar is over time the feel good feeling wears and you start to crave sugar. This is because we deplete out serotonin stores over time with sugar consumption and because of this when our serotonin levels crash after our highs we feel miserable even depressed which starts the cycle over again and you start to crave sugar.
Scientists have now revealed that sugar is also as addictive as cocaine. When the brain is scanned after consuming sugar it lights up the same reward centres as cocaine. Our brains literally lit up like a christmas tree in response to sugar.
Some people who have low levels of serotonin levels will naturally crave things that release serotonin with sugar being one of them. If you are one of those people you should steer clear of sugar as best you can as your brain will crave sugar more than the average person.
One of Dopamine’s roles is to create the feeling of pleasure associated with doing necessary human actions like eating and procreating. We are physiologically driven to do these vital functions because of the pleasure given from the dopamine rush.
When we consume additive substances like sugar our brains become conditioned to expect unusually high levels of dopamine and then becomes dependent on the substance (sugar) to produce the levels of dopamine expected which never fully satisfy us meaning we will regularly crave sugar in which we will never be fully contented leaving us craving more.
So there you have it. I hope you I’ver answered your question why do I crave crave sugar?
If you want to know more then check out my article How to stop craving sugar with 5 simple tips for advice on overcoming the sugar cravings once and for all.