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Is sugar as addictive as cocaine?

Lauri Andler

A study out of the University of Queensland of Technology in Australia recently found that your brain on sugar resembles your brain on cocaine

Tobacco, cocaine, morphine and sugar when consumed all trigger and elevate dopamine, or happy hormones, in the brain. When the brain gets accustomed to these higher levels of dopamine it craves more, leading to increased consumption of the substance. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar for adult women and 35 grams for adult men per day. The average US citizen consumes 120 grams of sugar daily


Clearly, the addictive nature of sugar is contributing to such high amounts.

Too much sugar can cause a lot of health problems. A definitive run down of problems includes: cavities and tooth decay, insatiable hunger, weight gain, insulin resistance that leads to eventual diabetes, obesity, liver failure, pancreatic cancer, kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, addiction, poor brain function—dementia and cognitive decline—nutritional deficiencies, and breast cancer in young women.

For a substance that causes horrific health consequences why is food, especially packaged and fast food, so laden with the stuff? 

A photo posted by @king_bradley1828 on

Where’s the sugar:

You’d be surprised. Hidden sugars lurk in a lot of foods. Even so called health foods are full of the stuff! For example, Yoplait, original 99% fat free Blackberry Harvest yogurt has as much sugar as 2 ½ Krispy Kreme, glazed donuts! Your favorite sweet coffee drink might have the equivalent of six Krispy Kreme’s! 


A photo posted by Clement C. (@cementcan) on

Surprisingly, people who follow a low fat diet might be consuming more sugar that they full fat consuming friends.

The lesson here is to start reading the nutrition labels beyond the calorie and fat content. Good fat is not bad for you,  too much sugar is always dangerous.

Worried that you might be a sugar addict? Don’t worry, you can gradually wean yourself sugar to get back to normal levels. The best way to break a sugar addiction now is going cold turkey.

When so many foods are packed with added sugar, it can be hard to stay under the daily recommended limit. However, if you’re diligent about reading nutrition labels and avoiding foods saturated with sugar, then you’ll be able to consume a healthy amount.