Sugar is now being proven to be up to eight times more addictive than cocaine. Some people experience powerful cravings for sweets – internal messages telling them to eat sugar even though they know it’s bad for them – says Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “These people get strong urges to consume sweets, and these cravings border on addiction,” he says. “When they eat sugar, just like when someone ingests cocaine, some people get that feeling of well-being, a rush that makes them feel good for a period of time. When the sweets are taken away, the people just don’t feel right.”
Researchers at Princeton University that have been studying bingeing and dependency in rats have found that when the animals ingest large amounts of sugar, their brains undergo changes similar to the changes in the brains of people who abuse illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin.
“Our evidence from an animal model suggests that bingeing on sugar can act in the brain in ways very similar to drugs of abuse,” says lead researcher and Princeton psychology professor Bart Hoebel.
In the studies, he explains, animals that drank large amounts of sugar water when hungry experienced behavioral changes, too, along with signs of withdrawal and even long-lasting effects that resemble cravings.
The Human Brain On Sugar
Researchers believe that sweet receptors in the human brain evolved at a time when our diets didn’t contain all that much sugar.
They have yet to adapt to our modern levels of sugar consumption.
As a result, those receptors get overloaded by processed foods and make the brain release abnormal amounts of endorphins – happy chemicals.
When a person attempts to cut off their sugar addiction, it can be tough.
Food manufacturers are smart. They know that’s how the brain works and so they cram their products to the brim with refined sugar for the sake of profit.
And the profits are huge – in the billions for companies like Coca Cola.
We’ve just scratched the surface here regarding the dangers of sugar and the effects it has on the body.
If you want to learn more about what doctors are referring to as the biggest epidemic in American history, have a look at this trailer for the movie Fed Up.