Can Sugar Be As Addictive As Cocaine?

Having a sweet tooth is not a bad thing, but it can be problematic if it becomes addictive. One of the questions remains as to whether sugar itself can be as addictive as cocaine. Learn more about what having a sugary treat can mean for the brain and body.

A Little Kick

Sugary treats can feel like a kick in the pants, like a rush that feels really good (for a short period of time). There are questions about whether this is as addictive as drugs like cocaine. Sugar definitely can rewire the brain in the same way drugs can. Lab rats were tested on sugar cravings by granting access to a constant supply for sucrose-fortified water for four weeks. The rats developed a tolerance for sweet water and needed more over time to feel satisfied. Once rats were ‘hooked’ on water with sugar, one group was given a drug used to treat nicotine addiction and the other group continued to drink the water mixture. Raters were given medication and able to walk away from sugar water feeder more easily than the control group.

Nucleus Accumbens

The brain area where effects of dopamine are pronounced is within the nucleus accumbens, considered the brain’s main reward circuit. Those who abuse sugar long-term cause natural production of dopamine in the brain to decline. People would consume more sugar to achieve the same effect, much like with drugs or alcohol.

Role of Diet

Diet and food intake is very important to physical well-being but also promotes a healthy mental sense of well-being. This helps the body’s ability to fight off infections and lets the body’s organs function properly. Foods high in a glycemic index like pizza, chips, cookies and ice cream may cause blood sugars to dramatically spike up. Various other issues can arise from too much bad food including liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity or even Alzheimer’s disease.

Part of a healthy diet includes incorporation of foods that are healthier overall including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Water
  • Blood pressure decrease
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved mood

Learning to eat healthier foods can contribute to lower sugar in the blood, which will produce less of a desire for more sugar. Overall this contributes to better health but also helps individuals focus on healthier habits in all areas of life.

Create a better pathway to health through diet and exercise. The benefits of living a sober lifestyle are ready to be yours if you take the first step to seek help. Call The Villa to find out how we can help you achieve the results you seek for addiction recovery.