Sugar has been found to produce more symptoms than is required to be considered an addictive substance in animal studies. Animal data has shown significant overlap between the consumption of added sugars and drug-like effects.
These effects include bingeing, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, cross-sensitization, cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward, and opioid effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that both adults and children keep their intake of sugar to less than 10% of daily calories. In other words, people should consume no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar daily. It’s therefore important to be aware of where sugar can be found in your diet so that you can subsequently reduce it.
Here are some tips to cut sugar consumption in your diet:
- Read food labels – Learn other names for sugar such as corn syrup, molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, dextrose, and malt sugar. Fruits, milk, and plain yogurt contain natural sugar. Food and beverages like soda and coffee often include sugar as well.
- Investigate the sugar content of your favorite food – Lessen the amount of added sugar in your food. Look out for sweeteners.
- Buy and eat fewer processed foods – Consume more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Experiment with new recipes.
- Change your environment – If you have easy access to candy, consider trading it in for fruit. Shake things up and avoid places where you can be tempted with sugar in food.
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