Sugar is essentially nearly pure carbohydrates in a crystalline form. It is used by people to produce a sweet flavour. In general, edible sugar contains mostly sucrose, which is obtained from sugar beet or sugar cane. There are also other sweeteners that we can use, such as honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, dextrose and corn syrup. For centuries, people have been enjoying sugar for various purposes. Raw sugar cane juice has been used by various cultures in tropical areas. These days, sugar production is a billion-dollar industry. Due to its sweetness, sugar can be quite addictive. Unfortunately, excessive consumption of sugar could slowly kill us. It has been shown that excessive sugar consumption has contributed to the rise of degenerative diseases. Admittedly, it’s hard for many of us to give up sugar. Sugar binge on lab rats have shown signs of addictions and brain chemistry could also be altered by sugar consumption. When consumed at specific quantity, our brain produces natural opioids. It is essential for an addiction process and the same chemical is also produced on people that consume heroin and morphine.
It’s an obvious fact that our insulin level increases after consuming some amount of sugar. This could also induce various problems, such as premature aging, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension and even high cholesterol. In reality, sugar can be quite addictive and studies show that rats tend to choose sugar, instead of cocaine. It is speculated that our preferences for sugar is caused by how our tongue designed. Millennia ago our ancestors consume less sweet food and wild, undomesticated fruits were less sweet than their modern cousins. In this case, sweet receptors will generate bigger reward signal when we consume something sweet. This could result in addiction, if we consume too much sugar in our food. It appears that people who regularly consume more sugar have increased anti-social behaviours. When we consume sweet foods, more insulin is released and this will cause blood sugar levels to fall. At this situation, our brain produces glutamate at higher quantity and this will cause panic attacks, anxiety, anger, depression and agitation.
In general, we should be able to obtain more positive impacts on our emotions by consuming less sugar. Dietary changes show that aggressive people become calmer after two weeks. A good diet replaces simple carbs with more complex carbs found in whole grain foods. They won’t cause blood sugar level to rise more slowly and our body will react better by releasing insulin more slowly. So, whenever we have a desire to consume more sugary and sweet foods, we should be aware of their bad effects to our body. We should put specific strategies that can help us reduce sugar consumption.
By eating more whole grain food, we should notice that food craving will subside and we have longer-lasting energy source. We will feel more satiated after consuming complex carbohydrates. We should also be aware that sugar could also be found in processed, pre-packaged products, such as peanut butter, multivitamin pills, soft drinks and others.