What is Dessert Addiction and How to Fight it?
Updated: Oct 8
Desserts have always been considered the best part of the meal. They are just a perfect end to a great journey, but they aren’t that good for your health. Excessive intake of sugar in the form of desserts can lead to various health problems like obesity, heart dysfunction etc. Though this fact is widely known, most people still chose to keep the need for their sweet tooth above their health. This behaviour is the same as the behaviour displayed by drug addicts and alcoholics, who can’t stop their consumption even after being aware of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol respectively. Does this mean desserts are as addictive as drugs? We’ll explore this possibility and the relation of drugs and dopamine in the coming paragraphs.
What Causes Addiction?
Before diving into the possibility of desserts being addictive, you need to understand the mental process behind addiction. Addiction can have several causes like family history, underlying disease, mental imbalance etc. Other than these other motivating factors that can trigger addiction, it is commonly believed that dopamine is addictive. In reality, dopamine is a huge motivating factor for addiction and not the cause of addiction. There are various basic activities like shopping that releases dopamine and hence can be addictive. In conclusion, dopamine and addiction have a complex dynamic where one leads to another but is not the sole factor.
How can Desserts release Dopamine?
When desserts are consumed, the brain produces huge surges of dopamine. This behaviour of the brain can be reasoned by human history. In primitive times it was necessary to consume a lot of calories to survive. This behaviour made our bodies adaptive to food high in calories.
Though the times have changed and our bodies don’t require a lot of calories our brains haven’t caught up with that shift.
Hence, our brains still tend to perceive desserts as beneficial and release huge amounts of dopamine when we consume them.
Can we become addicted to Desserts?
Just like sex, cocaine and heroin, desserts also tend to release dopamine which can act as a motivator for addiction. In the long term, dopamine by desserts can mimic effects of addiction leading to obsessively cravings for sugar. Furthermore, withdrawal symptoms are also prevalent when diet control is started. This explains that addiction to dopamine released by desserts can eventually lead to addiction.
Can addiction to desserts be avoided?
Yes, unlike addiction to drugs, sugar addiction can be prevented by monitoring and limiting intake in the initial stages. When consumed in limited quantities from the initial stage long term effects can be avoided. Maybe this is the reason why our moms asked us to control our sugar intake as kids.
In conclusion, we would suggest that you monitor your intake of sugar to avoid any long term effect and not let the dopamine fool you. It will get easier with time and if it doesn’t you could always ask your mom to not let you have sweets anymore.