Is sugar like drugs for your brain?

When you get it into your body, it spreads a sense of happiness and joy- and you want more. It sounds like drugs, but the effect also arises from something that we consume every day: sugar.

You take a piece of candy from the bag. One more. And then another. The more you eat, the more difficult it will be to stop before the bag is empty. And there is a reason for it.

Sugar affects your body in the same way as, for example, cocaine: Sweet food activates the brain’s reward system and triggers a well-being that the body wants more from.


Sugar triggers reward

Once in the mouth, the taste of the candy bite will hit the tongues taste receptors, in this case, the “sweet spot”. Then a signal will be sent to the cerebral cortex where areas process different flavors.

The signal releases dopamine, which is a substance that sends signals between the brain’s nerve cells. The substance triggers a feeling of happiness and joy.

Dopamine affects the brain’s reward system, which is a network of signal pathways between brain regions with dopamine receptors. It is also here that substances such as cocaine and alcohol affect us.


The need makes itself felt

The stimulus causes us to want to repeat the action to get that nice feeling again. And once the brain has learned how the effect is achieved, there is no way back: The sugar desire has manifested and candies will become irresistible.

It is not dangerous to eat a bag of candy, but if the body gets a lot of sugar, the brain’s reward system becomes overactive.

It leads to addiction symptoms such as losing control and feeling a need for wanting more- just like when an addict is addicted to cocaine. The body gets used to getting sugar, so you need more and more to achieve the sense of happiness it first gave you.

So maybe you should think twice before you empty the entire bag of candy. 



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