It’s 3pm, and all you can think about is that sugar-glazed doughnut and ice cold Java Chip frappucino. Your world starts spinning and you barely make it to the vending machine to settle for a candy bar and soda instead. You might joke about having a permanent sweet tooth, but deep down you know you’re in trouble.

It’s hard to associate sugar with the likes of meth and heroin, but the addiction is just as real. The only difference — to put it bluntly — is it kills you at at a slower rate. Scientists have found that consuming sugar stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as Class A drugs like cocaine and heroin. Not getting your fix usually leads to withdrawal symptoms and overwhelming cravings, and the weaning off process requires an actual detox program that’s just as frustrating to go through.

galaxy-donuts
It’s hard to resist these beautiful galaxy-themed doughnuts. (Image: Hedi Gh)

To back this seemingly ridiculous claim with some statistics, people who consumed between 10 to 25 percent of their calories from added sugar are almost three times more likely to die from heart problems than those who didn’t. Besides higher levels of bad cholesterol, sugar also causes inflammation, heart diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes and, sometimes, cancer. It also confuses fat-burning enzymes, encouraging fat storage. Sadly, your brain won’t be able to hear your stomach’s satiety signal over that sugar high, so you won’t know when to really stop.

Fortunately, there are several simple ways to cut your sugar intake — but you’re going to need discipline. A lot of our modern food supply has been infiltrated with sugar, including those marketed as health foods, so always be sure to read labels for an informed decision. If you’re wondering how you can get an easy head start into going sugar-free, here are 5 easy ways to reducing your daily sugar consumption.