Scientists say: sugar acts on the brain in the same way as cocaine does
We are sure that you have already heard that sugar and sugar-containing products (cakes and chocolates) can be addictive. For sure, you read the version that sugar addiction could be compared with drug addiction – that’s how strong it becomes in the long run. But is this assumption true? Let’s see.
According to the Daily Mail, sugar is indeed capable of providing a strong effect on the brain, similar to the action of cocaine. This means that sugar can cause excessive cravings, block the control function in the brain and contribute to withdrawal symptoms, more commonly known as “withdrawals”.
Today, doctors are increasingly often discussing the need to control the amount of sugar, and especially – in the diet of children and adolescents. In developed countries, the average consumption of refined sugar is almost three times higher than normal value, which naturally leads to an increased risk of:
In a recent study, scientists from the Saint Luke Mid-America Heart Institute carried out extensive work on the compilation and subsequent analysis of data of all existing studies on sugar and drug addiction. Thus, they managed to conclude that refined sugar and opioid preparations cause a similar response from the reward system in the brain, releasing dopamine and other pleasure-promoting chemicals.
“Sugar consumption leads to the same side effects in the sense of influence on the brain as we get because of cocaine use. The most obvious of them is constant mood swings,” explains James DiNicolantonio, lead author of the study and author of The Salt Fix. The expert suggests that a similar response to sugar developed in ancient people who consumed fruits and honey to increase energy levels, yet failed to notice how these same products began causing addiction.
An interesting fact is that some experimenters in rats have shown that addiction to sugar in animals is even stronger than that to opioids. The researchers are sure that all the same is true for people. “Absence of dopamine in the brain during periods between consumption of sugar can lead to unexpected reactions, most common of which are depressive moods, apathy and irritability,” scientists add.
So what about adding one teaspoons of sugar to your coffee, instead of the usual three?