Friday, January 8, 2010

Is Sugar Addictive?


"IS SUGAR ADDICTIVE?" is the title of Marion Nestle's blog post dated January 7, 2010, on her wonderful, most informative blog, Food Politics.

Either way you flip it, both sides of the coin are extremely interesting here:

Say there is such a thing as sugar addiction (I know most of you reading this believe there is, and that is why you are here). What is going to happen to the multitudes of people with this addiction?! How are food suppliers/manufacturer's/FDA/USDA going to respond, not to mention nutritionists, dietitians, naturopath doctors and M.D.'s? Not only do we have a national eating disorder (preoccupation with food, food used as entertainment, overeating, etc.) but a possible national sugar addiction?

What is at stake? Health, money and politics, in my opinion.

  1. HEALTH: Being addicted to a non-nutritive substance related to diabetes, heart disease, overweight, and other health issues. What are the national and individual implications?
  2. MONEY: The trade-off for food suppliers to supply us with food is to make money. When we buy food at the grocery store we are surrounded by obvious junk foods/beverages but also foods with "hidden" sugars, like salt, pepper, bread, sauce, etc. With every purchase of food we are casting a vote in the system of supply and demand. Though in some cases the supply creates the demand, for the most part suppliers follow demand trends. Because we love our goodies so much and continue to buy them, we are putting money in the pockets of those who are creating the goodies.
  3. POLITICS: Ever heard of the Snack Food Association? (I can't help myself from picking on them). In part, they: "Serve as the voice for the snack food industry before government," among other things.
By chance the book is closed on the issue and it is concluded by experts that there is no such thing as sugar addiction. What do we call it, then, when someone (like myself, back in the days of sugar consumption) obsesses all day about where to get sugar, and then eats it in unnatural proportions to fulfill the "sweet tooth"?

Whether there will ever be a clinical term coined for sugar addiction, there exists a problem. I had it, and I see it, hear about it and read about it every day.

If you have the time, jump over to Food Politics to read the post and the very interesting comments that follow. "Mason" put it best: "So is sugar physically and chemically addictive, or is that dependence purely psychological? I don’t think it matters. Either way, we’re so addicted to our lifestyles and our rabid-overconsumption that arguing the point seems trival. Who cares if the lights don’t work when the plane is crashing?"


kilax said...

Thanks for linking to Nestle's site! I didn't know she had one but love her books.

While they can't prove that it actually is addictive... we all know we can't stop eating it, like Mason said. Maybe we will see changes towards this in the future. Maybe.

Sandi Delia said...

I've been lurking here for a few months, but this post brings me out of hiding.

I had to get to the place of not caring what the medical community says about sugar being addictive or not. My experience - which no one can argue with or take away - is that one bite of sugar is too much and a thousands bites are not enough.

The effect of sugar on me is I get anxious, depressed, easily irritated and somewhat paranoid. I have never once thought about sneaking or lying about eating a cup of brown rice in the same way I do when I eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Thanks for the work you do on your blog!

JamiK said...

I found your blog just a few weeks ago when I decided to write about my own decision to give up sugar. I am thoroughly inspired by your experience. Thank you!


Leslie said...

I'd like to share an experience that I once had with sugar. I went to visit relatives out of state and I was left home alone most of the time. They did not have much food around the house. What they did have was boxes of oranges. I ate soooooo many oranges it was ridiculous. (I did eat some other foods though) They were perfect, ripe, juicy and sweet. I felt different and by the end of the week I lost a bit of weight. I don't know how much but my waist had definitely gone down. I didn't weigh too much to begin with though. More energy levels. I used to eat quite a bit of candy. But when I got back home I really didn't have anymore cravings, it was quite amazing. But then I gradually got sucked back into a more "western diet." though now I eat more organic and stuff ^^ I'm still looking to eliminate more meat and sugar from my diet.