Sugar Proven to be Addictive


Sugar, that seemingly innocuous white granule you mix into everything from baked goods to coffee, may now be grouped in with other less benign substances as a sweetener with real potential for addiction. Some people may abuse sugar, have difficulty avoiding it even when there are negative consequences, and it has been shown that sugar creates changes in the brain similar to those experienced by drug users. If you have experienced three of the following seven symptoms, it may be a sign of a sugar addiction following the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder’s description of chemical dependence.

The first is increased tolerance, for example, needing several spoonfuls to sweeten your coffee instead of a sprinkle. Experiencing withdrawal, or negative feelings if you stop using sugar is second. Overuse, or consuming more than you should, is another signal. As a nation, the United States has drastically increased sugar consumption in the past century. In 1822, Americans consumed the equivalent of a twelve-ounce cola every five days. In present day, the same amount is consumed by the average American every seven hours. Loss of control, or the inability to stop using sugar as a sweetener may signal dependence. Exceptional effort to obtain, including going out of your way to pick up a doughnut on the way home, or waiting in a very long line for some chocolates could indicate a problem. Over-prioritizing sugar when you have other important tasks can be another sign, such as arriving late to work to find a danish on the way. Finally, ignoring negative consequences such as obesity and related diseases that can result from consuming too much sugar. We stop smoking because we know cigarettes cause cancer. Can we stop using sugar if we know it’s making us sick? If the answer is no, you may be grappling with an addiction.

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