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Stuff About Sugar and Appetite

by Joan Kent

posted in Health and Fitness

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Here's some information about sugar and appetite that most people don't know. Of course, some of you may know it if you've been reading my articles!
Anyway, here's the info.
Sugar triggers beta-endorphin, usually called endorphins. Endorphins inhibit the part of the brain that causes satiety, the feeling that we've had enough food and don't need to eat more. That part of the brain is the VMH (vetromedial hypothalamus).
When we eat sugar, the satiety effect of the VMH is blocked by the endorphins that sugar triggers. 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, as mentioned in a previous post. They'll probably make you want more endorphin-triggering foods - which would be sugars or fats.
Either way, sugar is likely to change your food landscape.
Endorphins from sugar trigger another brain chemical, dopamine - just enough to make us want to eat more sugar. This is probably the best reason not to follow the common advice to eat a little bit of sugar when you crave it. (Terrible advice!)
Some people are more susceptible to this 'priming' effect than others. If it affects you, you may find yourself wanting more sugar after you've eaten just a little bit.
People joke about being chocoholics or sugar addicts, but people who are affected by sugar addiction know it isn't a joke. If you eat sugar often, you may find that you crave it when it's not around - or when some time has passed since you've had anything sugary. That craving could be a sign of withdrawal.
If you're also feeling a little (or a lot) cranky, it most likely is withdrawal. If so, you'll probably crave sugar and eat more of it. Your eating at those times could feel out of control.
Bottom Line
Sugar can impact appetite dramatically. As covered in a previous article, it can also increase fat in our diets. Think of all the sugary foods - such as ice cream or chocolate cake - that contain a lot of fat, along with sugar. 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 article.
About the Author: Sugar can impact health - diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, triglycerides, autism, and more. It can impact focus, depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. It can cause cravings that make us eat more sugar.
To learn more about these topics and others, I invite you to read my book, Stronger Than Sugar. It's available on Amazon at
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