Why Is Sugar So Addictive?

Written By Brady Wirick

Sugar and sugar alternatives are everywhere, from the cookies we love to the soft drinks we can’t resist. But have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to stop eating sugary treats once you start? It turns out that sugar is not just sweet; it’s also incredibly addictive. In fact, some experts believe it’s more addictive, more available, and sadly, more deadly than cocaine. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the science of why sugar is so addictive, focusing on the brain’s favorite pleasure chemical, dopamine.

The Dopamine Connection:

To understand why sugar is so addictive, we need to talk about a special chemical in our brains called dopamine. Dopamine is like a messenger that makes us feel happy and good when we do something fun or enjoyable, like eating yummy food. When you eat sugary foods, your brain releases lots of dopamine, and that’s what makes you feel happy and satisfied. We teach this in our Metabolic Reset Program. Next time you are done with your meal and still feel “hungry”, ask yourself if you are feeling hungry or if your brain needs that dopamine rush. Dopamine is also the neurotransmitter that 

Sugar’s Sneaky Trick:

The tricky thing about sugar is that it can make your brain want more and more of it. When you eat sugar, your brain gets used to all that dopamine and starts craving it. It’s like a little voice inside your head saying, “Hey, that sugar was really nice. Let’s have more!” So, you eat more sugary stuff to get that happy feeling again, and the cycle continues. This is called addiction.

Sugar Rush and Crash:

Have you ever felt super energetic after eating candy or a sugary snack? That’s called a sugar rush! But here’s the not-so-fun part: after the sugar rush, your energy crashes, and you might feel tired or grumpy. Your brain wants that happy feeling back, so it makes you want even more sugar to try to get it again. It’s like a rollercoaster ride for your brain!

More Addictive Than Cocaine?:

Some scientists say that sugar can be even more addictive than cocaine! While this might sound surprising, it’s because sugar affects the brain in a similar way. Both sugar and cocaine can make your brain release a lot of dopamine, but the problem is that you can find sugar almost everywhere – in cookies, candy, and even in some healthy-looking foods. So, it’s easier to get addicted to sugar without even realizing it.

The Deadly Side Effects:

Sugar is also be really bad for your health. It can lead to problems like arthritis, headaches, neurodevelopment disorders, autoimmune disease, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many other inflammatory disorders. The reality is that you are probably addicted now, but there is hope (is sugar anonymous a thing?). We do offer plans that include managing yeast overgrowth and regulating insulin to help reduce sugar cravings.

But What About Diet Soda and Sugar Free Snacks?

Aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener used in many sugar-free products, such as diet sodas and sugar-free candies, has been a topic of debate when it comes to its effect on dopamine levels in the brain. Aspartame trigger a release of dopamine just as intense as with natural sugars. The sweet taste of aspartame can activate the brain’s reward system and contributes to cravings for sweet foods and beverages. Whats worse is that aspartame in the human body turns into formaldehyde. Increasing formaldehyde leads to obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and dementia. The short term pleasure is not worth the long term consequences.

Sugar in Fast Food and Processed Food

Many fast food and processed food companies are known for using high levels of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), in their products to enhance taste and increase their appeal. Sugar, as well as HFCS, are addictive due to their ability to stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain, creating a pleasurable sensation. These companies often employ the so-called “bliss point” strategy, where they carefully engineer their products to hit the perfect combination of sweetness and saltiness, making their foods irresistible. The goal is to keep consumers coming back for more, driving sales and profits. 


Sugar might taste amazing and make us feel temporarily happy, but it’s important to understand why it can be so addictive. It tricks our brains with its sweet taste and causes a dopamine rollercoaster. Remember that while sugar can be enjoyable, it’s essential to enjoy it in moderation and opt for healthier snacks whenever possible. Your body and brain will thank you for it!


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