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sweet treats

How Our Brains Respond to Sugar and Why We Love Candies

Sugar high. Sugar rush. Sugar spike. Sugar low. You’ve no doubt heard these expressions that define how our brain feels when we’ve eaten excessive amounts of sweet delights, whether you’re devouring doughnuts, chowing down on chocolate or sucking on moreish Haribo sweets.

But get this. Your brain needs it, as sugar is, in fact, its main source of power. Your noggins runs on glucose – it drives your cells, including your neurons (brain cells). We’re adaptively wired to love sweets, as they’re an excellent energy source.

If your glucose levels drop, you experience brain fog, forget where you put your smartphone, get your words mixed up, and seek a place to curl up for a nap.

In this post, we’ll look at how the brain responds to sugar, how this response affects our health and behaviour, and explore the reasons why we love candies.

What happens to your brain when you eat sugar

Once sugar hits your tongue, it triggers specific taste buds that deliver a message to your brain, as well as the cerebral cortex. That message stimulates your brain’s reward system, and then your feel-good brain chemical (dopamine) is let loose, reinforcing the behaviour. And that’s why you want to eat more and more (because who wouldn’t?).

When you consume something new and delicious, your brain releases dopamine. This is an evolutionary advantage, encouraging you to pay attention to new and different flavours in case they make you feel nauseous.

When you eat new food and don’t experience nausea, usually the dopamine response disappears the next time. Essentially, you only release dopamine if you eat a new food. That said, sugar is a whole different story. In a way, it's similar to what happens with drug abuse in which dopamine is let loose each time it’s eaten.

It’ll always feel rewarding whenever you eat sugar, as the level of dopamine doesn’t balance out like it does when you consume nutritious foods. In other words, sugar works a little like a drug in your body, which explains why you sometimes get addicted to sweet foods.

Why we love candy so much

Candy represents pleasure

For others, candy is a way to mark happy times in your life. If something extraordinary happens, like graduating from university or being promoted at work, you might want to celebrate the happy news by eating your favourite sweet treat. And this is why sweets are typically given as gifts, as they work as a tangible reminder that the recipient is valued and treasured.

You can enjoy candy anytime, anywhere

Unlike other food types, you don't have to appreciate candy at a certain time or place. Whether you’re comforting yourself or celebrating, candy is the ultimate treat for every special event.

And because it comes in a plethora of sizes, candy slips effortlessly into your pocket, making it an easily accessible treat that raises your spirits whenever you need it. Whatever mood you’re in, candy never fails when it comes to scrumptiousness or joyfulness, which is why people love it so much.

Not every meal includes candy as a component

You don’t usually consume candy for breakfast, lunch or dinner day-to-day. Instead, you save these delectable delights to relish when you need a pick-me-up or fancy forking out on something special that doesn’t happen much. In doing so, sweet treats feel like an even better reward, as you know you’ll only permit yourself this extravagance very rarely.

Candy serves as a delightful comfort food

A lot of folks find comfort in consuming candy. It’s a special treat to enjoy, whatever the occasion. As such, sweets feel like a fabulous reward rather than just another food item. If you’re feeling down, you might eat a piece of your favourite candy to cheer up a little.

Others take pleasure in trying new candy, as they don’t know what it’ll taste like. They’re delighted with the taste, as it’s a flavour they didn’t expect, or perhaps the contours and colours look different from the ones they’re used to seeing. The surprise factor makes candy a thrilling treat for anyone who loves trialling new things without setting foot out of the home.

Candy is fun for the whole family

Most people devour candy because it tastes delicious. It’s fun. It’s vibrantly coloured. It looks like it’s meant to be relished – take our bulk sweet jars as an example! When someone eats a sweet treat, they’re prone to smiling and enjoying themselves. And this is why a lot of people celebrate special occasions with sweets rather than something more serious.

Other people consider candy as an entertaining activity for the whole family to do together. Perhaps you want to go to the cinema, share some sweets at Halloween with tiny trick-or-treaters or just fancy a quiet night in. Whatever the case, bringing people together through sweets is easy and enjoyable.

Some families bond together by concocting confectionery foods from scratch. Loads of cooking programmes feature episodes devoted to sweet creations – there are even entire cookbooks dedicated to the topic.

Candy’s everywhere

Arguably one of the main reasons we love candy is because it’s available everywhere. Let's face it. You've enjoyed candy in one form or another at least once in your lifetime. You can get it anywhere, from petrol stations and supermarkets to local shops and online confectionery stores like ours.

What’s more, when a holiday like Easter, Christmas or Halloween rolls around, you can buy it then – there are so many opportunities! It’s universally accessible and reasonably priced, making it an affordable snack for anyone on a budget. With a whole raft of candy options, anyone can find a sweet snack they love that doesn’t break the bank.

The bottom line

As you can see, there are numerous reasons why we adore candy. No matter where you are or who you’re with, candy is a treat to be savoured by anyone. And let’s be honest, it’s totally scrumptious. So, if you’re feeling blue or want to celebrate a special moment, grab a piece of your much-loved candy and enjoy the moment.

So, go ahead and treat yourself to something from our high-quality confectionery. Whether you're in the mood for classic favourites or something new and exciting, our Appleton Sweets confectionery range has you covered.