Beware: sugar addiction is real

Sugar. Some people seem to crave sugary foods, believing they “need” something sweet or deserve some a treat. More often than not, women are the biggest sugar devotees. Consider that women use chocolate to soothe monthly hormonal moods, ice cream to mend a broken heart and other treats to lift their moods and get through the day.

Studies show that sugar does affect our brain by altering neurotransmitters that causes us to need, crave or require sugar to calm our nerves and give us an emotional boost, sort of like cocaine or other addictive drugs, according to

The reason for this is because the Amygdala, an almond-shaped body in the brain, which controls the response to pleasure and fear through the secretion of hormones, arousal and emotional memories.

So if a woman or man ate a chocolate bar or ice cream during a particularly happy moment, they will believe that sugar made them happy, and will search for some treat to improve jow they feel. The cycle, or addiction, then is set in motion.

Remember, though, sugar does more harm than good. Beside the obvious – diabetes – too much sugar can cause inflammation, aggravate joint pain and weaken the immune system. Yet, despite all the studies, we grab for the rocky road ice cream, the Reese’s cups, sweet teas and frappes because we – both men and women – have been led to believe that a little bit of chocolate makes everything better.

Next time a sugary fix hits, try reaching for fresh fruit, a fruit-based smoothie or plain low-fat yogurt with berries. You will feel terrific afterward.