Sugar 'has same effect on the brain as cocaine'


There are very few people who can resist the temptation of sugar.

But not only is sugar’s ubiquity making it difficult to cut down – it’s also addictive, according to a recent study.

Scientists are claiming that sugar can be just as addictive as illegal drugs such as cocaine – with all the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that come with them. They say it should be considered a 'gateway drug'.

The study states:

Animal data has shown significant overlap between the consumption of added sugars and drug-like effects, including bingeing, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, cross-sensitisation, cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward, and opioid effects.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, states that sugar could act as a gateway to alcohol and other addictive substances, and that sugar, like cocaine and opium, is refined from plants to yield pure white crystals – a process the researchers say 'significantly adds to its addictive properties'.

They write:

Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar

Although, you might not need to bin your chocolate stash just yet. Other scientists have called the research 'absurd'.

Tom Sanders, emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, told the Guardiancomparing sugar’s addictive properties to that of hard drugs is 'absurd'.

He said:

While it is true that a liking for sweet things can be habit-forming it is not addictive like opiates or cocaine. Individuals do not get withdrawal symptoms when they cut sugar intake.

More: Sugary drinks and meat are a fat-making combo, according to science

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