Close this search box.

Why Are Sweet Foods so Addictive? The Science of Desserts, Explained

We have the answers you were looking for! Science in The World presents you: reasons why sweet foods are so addictive!

Sweet foods are one of life’s great pleasures. Both children and adults love sugary foods, whether it’s soda, fruit, chocolate, cake, or ice cream. Food companies know these things, and they don’t shy away from coming up with different delicious treats that aren’t exactly healthy.

The sad thing is that sweet foods are addictive, and you can find sugar in almost every food available in supermarkets, including bread, ketchup, breakfast cereals, yogurt, fruit snacks, and even foods that are supposed to be healthy, like granola bars and protein bars.

Kids learn as early as kindergarten that sweet foods belong at the top of the food pyramid, meaning that they should be consumed in tiny portions. However, we all know that sugary treats are best eaten in moderation because they’re addictive and can affect your teeth, the quality of your skin, your energy levels, and also your weight, but do we respect this recommendation?

We decided to gather more information and know for sure why sweet foods are so addictive. We’ve talked to different nutritionists and specialists to discover more, and we want to share everything we know with you! So if you want to know why your body’s always craving sugary treats, this is the article for you!

sweet foods
Photo by beats1 from

Sweet foods ask for more sweet foods (dopamine release)

When you indulge in sugary foods, your body reacts with insulin secretion, meaning that your blood sugar levels are going down. After a while, your body falls into reactive hypoglycemia and needs more sugar to go back to normal, meaning that you’ll be more tempted to eat something sweet.

Long story short, the more sugar you eat, the more you’ll want to eat. Scientists stated that sugar might be just as addictive as cocaine, and it’s a substance that releases dopamine and opioids. They wanted to know more about this topic, and they analyzed 4 components of sugar addiction: craving, binging, cross-sensitization, and binging. We’ll talk more about them in the next paragraphs.

Sweet foods and hormones

One of the reasons why sweet foods are so addictive is that when sugar enters your body, it releases dopamine, which is known as the happy hormone, meaning that you’ll feel good when you eat something sweet.

Sugar has an addictive nature in itself because it tricks your brain into thinking that you need more and more of it to have energy or feel good. However, your health can be at risk because overindulging in sugary treats could lead to severe health issues, such as diabetes and obesity.

Scientists also discovered that people who suffer from stress, anxiety, and low moods are more likely to develop a sugar addiction. Just like we’ve previously said, the simple explanation for this is dopamine release.

Just imagine that you’re sad and stressed at work, and sweet foods make you feel better. So you eat and eat and eat until you discover that you have a sugar addiction.

Besides that, throughout the years, experts have noticed that people who suffer from constant tiredness are more tempted to grab sugary food as a snack to boost their mood. Sweet foods, like chocolate, for instance, release endorphins, which then combine with other chemicals you already have in your body, resulting in a surge of energy.

Once an individual mentally connects sweet foods with receiving a quick energy boost, they’re more likely to become dependent on sugar. They might also go to sugar to balance out their mood swings, irritability, and other health conditions. When someone reaches this point, they might lose control of their habits, meaning that sugar addiction has already developed.

sweet foods
Photo by fizkes from

Gut disorder

Another reason why too many sweet foods can become addictive is that you might have a gut disorder. Helicobacter pylori, for instance, is a bacteria that loves it when its host eats sugar.

If you experience frequent bloating, gas, loss of appetite, frequent burping, stomach pain that gets even worse if you have an empty stomach or nausea, you should go to your doctor for an exam because there might be bacteria inside your body.

Each time you eat pasta, cake, bread, pizza, or other foods that are flour-based and in large quantities, you might notice that your stomach swells and you feel bloated. Generally speaking, when you already have a lot of carbs, you might also be tempted to eat some sweet foods.

As you can guess, the more carbs and sugar you eat, the more your body will crave them because they trick the brain into thinking that you feel good and need more of them. This can easily become a vicious cycle that will be hard to break unless you start soon.

Keep your sugary food intake to a minimum and mainly focus on healthy and nutritious foods, like fruits and veggies, and complex carbs for an extra energy boost, like whole grains.

So how can we explain this sugar addiction?

Now that you know how sugar addiction can affect your body and what the main factors are that can trigger it, we should talk about why we’re so prone to this problem because it’s something that affects the entire world, not just the United States. With that being said, why are sweet foods so commonplace?

One of the main reasons sugar can be so addictive for many of us is that it is the main ingredient in plenty of foods on the market. Researchers discovered that the fast food market grew economically, but it also made the portion sizes bigger. As you can guess, when the portion size is bigger, the amount of calories grows, and the same thing happens with sugar.

Another thing that they noticed during their research on different fast food restaurants is that plenty of meals, from a cheeseburger to a Chipotle burrito bowl, contain a large amount of sugar.

So the problem isn’t just you eating chocolate, ice cream, or cake; the bad thing is that the majority of foods you buy from fast food restaurants or even canned food purchased from the grocery store contain sugar, even if they’re not technically sweet foods.

Even if you try to cook healthy and delicious meals at home, it’s still difficult to completely avoid sugar. For starters, scientists discovered that foods that contain added sugar are more budget-friendly than others, and that’s because grains and sugar food groups were more affordable per calorie than fruits and veggies.

Pay close attention when you go grocery shopping, because roughly all of the processed foods that seem appealing on the shelves contain high amounts of added sugar. Of course, the reason this ingredient is added is that it preserves food, such as jelly and jam, and tastes good, and it even balances the acidity of items that contain vinegar and tomatoes, such as BBQ sauce and ketchup.

Be mindful of your diet and the things you put on your plate because these sweet foods, whether they’re desserts or foods that contain a lot of added sugar, are everywhere. If you think that you have a sugar addiction and you want to be healthier, stronger, and not controlled by the sweet taste of the white or brown magical ingredient, here’s a fantastic book for you to check out!

If you want to read another fantastic article from Science in The World, here’s one that you’ll enjoy: These 7 Things Increase Your Risk of Dementia… and You Can’t Control Them


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts