According to a new research study, refined sugar is far more addictive than cocaine -- one of the most addictive and harmful substances currently known.
An astonishing 94 percent of rats who were allowed to choose mutually-exclusively between sugar water and cocaine, chose sugar. Even rats who were addicted to cocaine quickly switched their preference to sugar, once it was offered as a choice. The rats were also more willing to work for sugar than for cocaine.
The researchers speculate that the sweet receptors (two protein receptors located on the tongue), which evolved in ancestral times when the diet was very low in sugar, have not adapted to modern times’ high-sugar consumption.
Therefore, the abnormally high stimulation of these receptors by our sugar-rich diets generates excessive reward signals in the brain, which have the potential to override normal self-control mechanisms, and thus lead to addiction.
Additionally, their research found that there’s also a cross-tolerance and a cross-dependence between sugars and addictive drugs. As an example, animals with a long history of sugar consumption actually became tolerant (desensitized) to the analgesic effects of morphine.
PLoS ONE (Free Full-Text Article)
Refined sugar was almost nonexistent in the diet of most people until very recently. Today, the over-consumption of sugar not only contributes to, but drives the current obesity epidemic.
Reducing your sugar intake should be on the top of your list, regardless of whether you're currently overweight or not. Why? Because it's been proven over and over that sugar increases your insulin levels, which can lead to:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
- Premature aging, and more
In fact, because sugar is bad for your health in so many ways, I created an entire list outlining 100-Plus Ways in Which Sugar Can Damage Your Health!
Now having pointed out the dangers of sugar, does that mean you should never eat sugar? Certainly not. While it clearly tends to decrease your health, sugar in moderation is likely not going to cause any significant damage. What do I mean by moderation? Well, something on the order of five pounds a year. This is considerably less than the amount the average American consumes which is closer to 175 pounds per year.
Another better use of sugar is anytime you want to use artificial sweeteners. After researching this area for many years and writing a book, Sweet Deception, on the topic, I am absolutely convinced that sugar is a healthier and much safer option than using these poisons. However, ideally you would not use either, but if you have a choice between sugar and chemical options always go with the real deal.
Controlling your insulin levels is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your overall health, and avoiding sugar is essential to doing this.
Keep in mind that refined sugar is not the only culprit. Starch, in the form of grains and potatoes, should also be limited within your diet in order to lose weight and feel better. Following my nutrition plan is a simple way to automatically reduce your intake of grains and sugars.
Just as this study confirms, sugar is highly addictive. Fortunately, energy psychology tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be enormously helpful in kicking the sugar habit. You can use EFT to successfully treat a wide variety of emotional stresses, including the food cravings related to sugar.