Appetite's No Accident: Sugar Makes It Worse
By Joan Kent, PhD
Here's some information about sugar and appetite you may not know.
Sugar triggers endorphins (beta-endorphin). Endorphins inhibit the part of the brain that causes satiety – the feeling that we've had enough food and don't need more for a while. That part of the brain is the VMH.
When we eat sugar, sugar triggers endorphins that block the VMH. So we want more food at a given meal. Or we may want to eat again sooner than we normally would.
Endorphins can also change which foods we want. They're apt to make us want more endorphin-triggering foods. That means sugars or fats.
Either way, sugar can be expected to change your food landscape.
Endorphins from sugar trigger another brain chemical – dopamine – just enough to make us want more sugar. This is probably the best reason not to follow the common advice to eat a little sugar when you crave it. (Terrible advice!)
Some people are more susceptible to this 'priming' effect than others. If it affects you, you may want more sugar after you've eaten just a little bit. You may even lose control of your sugar consumption for a day or more.
People joke about being chocoholics or sugar addicts, but other people know it isn't a joke. If you eat sugar often, you may crave it when it's not around – or when some time has passed since you've had any. That could be a sign of withdrawal.
If you're also feeling kinda cranky, it most likely is withdrawal. If so, you'll probably crave sugar and eat more of it.
Sugar can impact our appetite dramatically. It can also increase fat in our diets. Think of all the sugary foods – ice cream, chocolate cake, donuts – that contain a lot of fat, as well. Those fats are typically not healthful ones, making a bad nutrition slam even worse.
By the way, alcohol can affect appetite in similar ways – and sometimes with even more impact than sugar. But that's a different post.
If you'd like to get away from sugar but feel stuck, I'd be happy to help. Just visit www.LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free Empowered Eating Consult. Find out how easy it can be to get back in control. You deserve it!