Sugar addiction, a drug as addictive as heroin?
According to a study conducted by American researchers, sugar addiction follows the same pattern as drug addiction. Pleasure or addiction? Sugar is one of the most common foods today. 35 kg per year and per inhabitant, instead of 5 kg in 1850!
Nicotine, cocaine, heroin, cannabis… What if sugar had nothing to “envy” to all these drugs?
This is in any case what a study conducted by Dr. David Ludwig of the Boston Children’s Hospital and published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” tends to prove. This investigation explains that the food intake regulated by the brain’s pleasure centers containing dopamine. Beyond reward and haunting desire, this part of the brain also linked to substance abuse and addiction.
Now calls into question how certain foods can become addictive.
Furthermore, sugar is found everywhere: in bread, tomato sauce, ham…
In the USA, sugar has become more and more consumed:
from 5 kg per year and per inhabitant in 1850, we have now moved on to a consumption of 35 kg of sugar per year and per inhabitant.
But can we really consider sugar as a drug?
According to the WHO, in a 2004 report, there is “no food dependency or addiction. paul Lecerf, a nutrition specialist, states that we can simply speak of attraction to sugar.
Yet we have to admit that sweet products sometimes get us addicted…” Sweet foods, like fatty foods, are the ones we find the most attractive because they are the most energetic and therefore the most useful for survival,” says Lecerf, “In our time, even without choosing sweet foods,
we find added sugar everywhere: in bread, tomato sauce, ham, etc.,” says Serge Edward, director of research at the CNRS in New York, who admits that “it contributes to our excessive consumption of sugar and our appetite for sweetness.
Rats become even more addicted to sugar than to cocaine
9 million diabetics and more than 25.5 million obese people in the United States.
What if, rather than being a drug, sugar simply consumed because it provides pleasure? Today, sugar is a great source of satisfaction, generating pleasure from birth, like a reflex. In infants, this pleasure even associated with a powerful analgesic state, which reminds them of their months in the womb. Sugar activates the dopaminergic neurons in the mesencephalon, a part of the brain, which results, among other things, in an increase of dopamine in our brain. The same effect as that provided by drugs, but less intense and less long-lasting.
Dr. Ludwig wants to believe that his study will prove that sugar acts like a drug and would therefore like to fight obesity effectively:
“These findings suggest that limiting carbohydrates with a high glycemic index.
white bread or potatoes could help obese people to reduce and control their urge to eat large quantities,” says Dr. Ludwig. Today, there are 9 million diabetics in the U.S. and more than 25.5 million obese people.