Is Sugar Really as Addictive as Cocaine?

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Food cravings are natural and essential for survival – or at least they were, back when certain nutrients were hard to find: a long, long time ago. You can’t just blame civilization for the never-ending tsunami of metabolic disease consuming the United States, because industrial agriculture only arrived in the last century.  In response to a new health doctrine, the entire food market re-imagined itself with “fat free” varieties — most of which tasted like cardboard. The industry’s solution: dump in the sugar…lots and lots of sugar…a chronic, dose-dependent hepato-liver toxin.

Sugar is Addictive

It’s not just a play on words: sugar really is addictive. It rewires the brain to the same capacity as heroin or cocaine. Rats generally choose sugar-water over cocaine-water when presented with a choice. MRIs performed on human brains reveal the same preference. Both sugar and cocaine initiate a massive dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, which can lead to tolerance, dependence, and — if you quit cold-turkey — flu-like withdrawal symptoms: headache, bone pain, nausea.

In a sense, all humans are addicts; almost everyone craves – and abuses – the three main macronutrients: fat, salt, and sugar. Between 1977 and 2000, Americans have more than doubled their sugar intake. The introduction of refined sugars, which are depleted of any and all vitamins or minerals, have made lifeless, processed foods cheaper and cheaper. Even your average, normal-weight American eats more than three times as much as they should on a daily basis.

Dealing with Sugar Addiction

Junk food corporations blame two parties: overweight people – which represent a third of the whole US population – or their parents. (Because, after all, why shouldn’t children of negligent parents be protected?)

On some level, their argument is correct. Nobody is making us waddle into Checkers, Chipotle, or the cookie aisle several times per week; nor is junk food ever a necessary financial decision, despite how cheap all those “value meals” may seem. The problem with this logic comes through in the hypocrisy those industries exhibit. They obviously know their foods are addictive, that they trump the personal responsibility factor, because companies like Coca Cola exploit the paradigm however they can. Junk food advertisements are shoved down our throats relentlessly, wherever we go.

It goes even deeper than that. Next time you’re at the gas station, grab a can of Coke and check the nutrition label. You’ll see that it contains 15 percent of your daily sodium intake, 7 percent of your daily carbs, and for sugar…nothing.

It’s not missing because it’s unimportant. The opposite, actually. Corporations like Coca Cola don’t want us to know how severely we overindulge. They won’t allow it. In come the lobbyists, out go any unfavorable policies. Coke even took to funding a large scientific health study in 2015, a study on the possible correlation between obesity and soda pop. Spoiler-alert: no connection was found.

Ideally, congress should regulate big business, but when those companies represent such huge pieces of the economy, it doesn’t always pan out that way.

Get Free from Sugar

The good news is that we don’t have to rely on congress to make sure we’re educated. We can educate ourselves. With the technology we have nowadays, it’s easier than ever.

Get online and take a crash course on nutrition, because nutrition still matters for you. Do some research on the foods you keep in your home. You are what you eat, after all. Learn how to avoid “sneaky” sugars – sugars in yogurts, fruit juices, and non-sweet, savory things like buns and crackers. Download a nutrition app on your smartphone and start recording how much sugar you consume throughout your day. You might just realize that some big changes are in order.

Those “lucky” individuals who stay skinny no matter what they eat? They don’t just get a free pass. High-glycemic foods like pizza, chips, cookies, and ice cream cause hypertension, liver disease, diabetes, moodiness, attention problems, and depression. The weight factor, though important on a social level, is merely a byproduct, which may or may not happen. Even if you’re naturally thin, you should still watch what you eat, because nutrition still matters for you — even if you’re still young.

 

Have questions about nutrition or addiction?  We’re here to help.  Contact the experts at Hired Power today by calling our 24/7 Hotline 800-910-9299.