Why Do We Eat Sugar?

Well, it tastes good.

Most of us prefer sweet foods over bitter ones. Why? Because, in the course of evolution, the human brain learned that sweet things provide a healthy source of rapid energy. When our ancestors scavenged for berries, sour meant “not yet ripe.” Bitter, on the other hand, often meant “poisonous.”

Sweet not only tasted pleasurable, but it also provided a burst of blood sugar that led our brains to activate the release of dopamine. And this remains true.

Sugar causes your brain to release opioids and dopamine. This is similiar to the neurological reward response brought on by addictive drugs.

And research actually shows how sugar can be highly addicting.

You can find added sugars in most processed foods. This includes products that companies advertise as healthy, such as cereals, granola bars, crackers, and juices.

And it can be easy to miss on the ingredient label when there are at least 61 different names for sugar — ranging from cane juice to anhydrous dextrose.

Sugar is rampant in our food system. And eating too much of it is linked to many significant health concerns.

  • Consuming excessive sugar is associated with an increased risk of obesity and heart disease.
  • Sugar increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Studies indicate that added sugar increases risk for esophageal and breast cancer. And added fructose intake may increase risk of pancreatic and small intestine cancers.
  • Sugar increases risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a disorder in which excessive amounts of fat build up in your liver. Even drinking one sugar-sweetened beverage per day can increase your risk.

Refined sugar isn’t an essential part of the diet. It doesn’t contain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, or protein, nor does it have any benefit in the body.

It would do your health no harm (and probably a lot of good) if you never consumed a gram of refined sugar.