This branch of medicine focuses on the body’s “ductless” glands and how they function. Endocrinologists are concerned with the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands, among others, as well as nutritional disorders, sexual disorders, and problems such as diabetes and hypertension.
Is Sugar Addicting?
Is sugar addicting?
The research on this question is still being debated, but without a clear answer, yet with a lot of emotion and frustration. I believe there are many neurophysiological reasons involving dopamine brain cell receptors, GABA brain cell receptors, and numerous reward brain circuits that motivate an individual to want and like sugar, but not involve a physiological response that makes one require to need sugar. You may like refined sugar and crave it, but not have a physiological drive to acquire and use it. If an alcoholic or a heroin addict doesn't have access to the offending substance, their body will recoil in a physiological revolt and demand its use through convulsions and other severe biophysiologic reactions.
What gives sugar the impression of being an addictive substance?
In reality, a normal physiologic response to a rapid drop in blood sugar. When individuals ate refined sugar, such as in processed sugary snack foods like candy, donuts, pastries, and sugar-sweetened beverages, the blood sugar levels rise rapidly and then, rapidly triggers an immediate response and the release of the hormone insulin.
What does the release of insulin do?
This increased release of insulin causes a dramatic and immediate reduction of the elevated sugar. This acute drop in blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, causes a release of the hormone, which causes a panic-like stimulation of the body with rapid heart rate, sweating, anxiety, and an intense craving for more sugar. But this is only the body's attempt to restore and correct hyperglycemia. The hunger for sugar is intense, but is a normal physiologic response, and it is not an addictive withdrawal response.
Is the hypoglycemic response following a sugar binge associated with an addiction?
No, to say so makes the individual who misuses sugar a victim, and knowing the difference empowers the individual.
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