Born Addicted to Sugar

March 25, 2015 by Amy Needle

The general population may be addicted to sugar and not even know it. Sugar has been a route to all ‘evil’. It contributes to unexplainable weight gain, diabetes, and constant hunger, along with other health issues. The worst part about sugar is - you don’t even know you are consuming it!!

From the Beginning....

I am an active NICU nurse with up-to-date CEUs. The Advanced Practice of Neonatal Nurses has published a few different studies of the effect of sucrose (a form of sugar) on newborns. The studies found that administration of oral sucrose is thought to blunt or eliminate pain in infants by releasing endogenous opioids, which peak at 2 minutes after administration. Sugar reduces blunt pain associated with painful procedures, like needle-sticks. The calming and pain relieving effects of sucrose are thought to be mediated by endorphin-releasing pathways activated by sweet taste.*

Meaning - the taste of sugar is being used like a medication for pain in babies. They love it that much and it triggers so much of a positive response in their brains, they can forget the painful activity that is being done to them.

So in fact, from the beginning, we were programed to be addicted to sugar.

And lucky for us, the food industry has capitalized on this sugar addiction. They have added sugar in some form, to MANY foods. If you are addicted to your food you will buy more, right? So, sugar for everyone! Many documentaries, talk shows and authors have been dedicated to exposing this issue. People should know what they are eating/drinking! In a nation that is full of ‘low-fat’ items, many people don’t know that the ‘fat’ is replaced with ‘sugar’.

Now for the medical reason why this is bad. When you have the influx of sugar, your leptin levels rise and fall too quickly. Wonder why you may eat a large meal and then feel hungry again in only a few short hours? Sugar cannot keep you full. It also raises your blood sugar level quickly, just to drop it as quick (whatever goes up, must come down). Having continually high sugar (like a diabetic) can be scary because the sugar can act like a slug in your blood and eventually damage vessels. When the blood-sugar level drops, you body kicks into ‘starvation mode’ and will hang onto fat because it can’t sense nutrients. Hence, why it may be difficult to lose weight.

In what foods is sugar found? Almost everything. Foods that contain natural sugar (mainly just fruit) are OK to consume. Although I bet you didn’t know you are feeding your addiction with skim milk, canned clams, and salad dressing. Sadly, I’m not making this up. There is added sugar in these items. Don’t forget carbs, especially simple carbs (pasta, bread, cereal) are also broken down into sugar. Although it may not feel like you consciously choose to indulge in sugar, your gut and brain have.

Food companies also like to get fancy and disguise the name of sugar. It can be marked in 50 different terms. Now you really have no idea.

Barley maltDemerara sugarGolden syrupPanocha
Beet sugarDextranGrape sugarRaw sugar
Brown sugarDextroseHigh-fructose corn syrupRefiner's syrup
Buttered syrupDiastatic maltHoneyRice syrup
Cane juice crystalsDiataseIcing sugarSorbitol
Cane sugarEthyl maltolInvert sugarSorghum syrup
Corn syrupFruit juiceMaltodextrinSugar
Corn syrup solidsFruit juice concentrateMaltoseTreacle
Confectioner's sugarGalactoseMalt syrupTurbinado sugar
Carob syrupGlucoseMaple syrupYellow sugar
Castor sugarGlucose solidsMolasses 
Date sugarGolden sugarMuscovado sugar 


Basically, it comes down to reading your labels. I start with the ingredients. If I see any of these fancy terms for sugar in the first 5 ingredients, stay away! It is hard... but just be aware of your consumption.

*Advances in Neonatal Care Vol 11 Number 6 Dec 2001 National Association of Neonatal Nurses