Sugar Addiction

Today’s high levels of sugar consumption are dangerous, and sugar has much in common with addictive drugs, according to a New York Times article by James DiNicolantonio and Sean Lucan.

Today added sugar is everywhere, used in approximately 75 percent of packaged foods purchased in the United States. The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day. If you consider that the added sugar in a single can of soda might be more than most people would have consumed in an entire year, just a few hundred years ago, you get a sense of how dramatically our environment has changed. The sweet craving that once offered a survival advantage now works against us.

In animal studies, animals experience sugar like a drug and can become sugar-addicted. One study has shown that if given the choice, rats will choose sugar over cocaine in lab settings because the reward is greater; the “high” is more pleasurable.

Sugar is added to foods by an industry whose goal is to engineer products to be as irresistible and addictive as possible.

– James DiNicolantonio and Sean Lucan,
Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive., New York Times, 12/23/2014