So many people on Facebook and in the real world keep mentioning sugar addiction, its drug like properties and the relief they feel when they kick the habit. It seems sugar is the new meth or tobacco yet unlike both those substances we actually need sugar to perform bodily functions.
Here's a little test for you, find some sugar. This admittedly may be a little hard if you've already erradicated it from your life, rule number one of addiction therapy must surely be, avoid triggers. Anyway, get yourself some sugar from somewhere, not donuts, not cake, just pure table sugar. Or to give it its proper name, sucrose. A disaccharide combination of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose.
Eat a spoonful, then see how much you feel like having another. You may eat a couple but you won't manage many. Whilst it isn't unpleasant, you wouldn't want much and you wouldn't want to do it often. Does that sound like an addictive substance? Does it sound like a drug in which you could become dependent upon, like crack cocaine or tobacco? The addictive aspect that people feel is so problamatic is what we should probably refer to as cravings.
Why would we be craving sweetness? I can't answer that yet, if someone wants to crowdfund me through a PhD I'd love to finally try and get some proof about our insatiable hunger. In the meantime here are a few of my theories;
- We are hungry, and it seems we're eating less than we have been previously recorded as eating. As sugar is our primary source of energy it would seem logical that we crave sweetness.
- Foods made with combinations of sugar, fat, and salt can be hard to resist and in turn make us crave more. The food industry knows this and employ people that understand the psychological and biological mechanisms that make us crave more of their foods. If you want more on this fascinating topic please have a look in my Amazon store (Diet Research Section) for a great book about food industry strategy.
To conclude, sugar isn't addictive, it is as essential as the air you breath. Food processed by industry to contain the right combination of sugars and fats makes you crave them, as does being on a diet, even an unintentional one. If you're going to claim a food is addictive, have some evidence and clarify exactly what the food is, not just generic terms.