Is sugar really a drug ?
Well the legal answer is no .. But just because sugar is not classified as a drug by us , doesn’t mean it may be a potential addictive substance.
(Hint : Cocaine was legal back when it first came in and was even marketed as medicine once)
Once you understand what sugar does to your body and brain .. your might have a better answer to this question.
Before we get into the effects of sugar on our body .. we need to know .. what exactly is sugar.
What is sugar ?
Chemically speaking sugar is a broad term it’s a combination of carbon hydrogen and oxygen
The combinations of these make
- and a few more
You find these in your rice , potatoes (all these are basically classified as carbohydrates) ..
Basically anything in the chemical name that ends with OSE in it .. is some sort of sugar
And , YES ! Almost everything we have contains a lot of this.
Sugar is really a confusing part of our diet because sugar is not all bad ..
If you look at it , the favorite food for our brain is in the form of glucose and that’s a sugar..
That is why your brain rewards you when you consume sugar.
But , why are we not stopping .. why are we taking it more than we need ?
WHY do we love sugar so much ?
Its true that we LOOOOOVE <3 sugar .. even thought we clearly know sugar has been causing conditions like
- Heart problems ..
- list is long so i will just say etc ..
Well , the reason for that is our brains complex rewarding system.
Remember the happy feeling you had when uncle Barry gave you a pack of donuts ..
Every time you take a bite , you feel the need to take the second bite ..
Its your brain telling to take a bite after bite by rewarding you every time you took one.
YES ! Brain is the culprit … It keeps rewarding you to take in sugar as much as you can.
Our brain is releasing an interesting chemical called Dopamine every time you perform an action which brain thinks is benefiting you. (Even if that might not be true)
Dopamine release gives you the sensation of pleasure , more the dopamine .. more pleasure you will experience..
This is the same chemical which is released when you have sex or acquire success at something you were doing ..
Dopamine compells our brain to do the same action again , so that we would produce more dopamine ..
This system is the reason why humans as a species is still existing in this planet..
You see , during ancient times .. I mean when we were living in caves ..
We didn’t have a lot of food lying around like we have now.
Those caveman can’t go to the next supermarket and get a bag of potato chips to feed himself.
He had to go out and hunt for his food. There might be days where he will catch nothing and end up having to starve and there might be days where he will catch a big hunt .. At that time he have to feast upon the food he have
Because he dont know when the next hunt is going to provide him food… So stock up while you can.
Tens of thousands of years later wall and learn to cultivate their own food .. We even developed technologies to mass produce food (mainly sugar) on our own..
Sugar became readily available , Our advancement in agriculture was so fast , our caveman brains are yet to catch up with that change
Even though we have a lot of sugar supply our brains still don’t know that
Brain still thinks …
What if there is no food for tomorrow
What if I go into starvation?
I need to stock up while I can
So let me reward this human whenever he consumes sugar
This is why our brain is releasing Dopamine every time we consume sugar..
When dopamine is released from your brain , it signals brain to crave more of what triggered that dopamine release ..
In this case , thats consuming more sugar..
Now let’s come to the comparison is sugar really a drug
For that you need to know what drugs do to your brain
Drugs like cocaine normally when taken , in will produce a huge amount of dopamine in your brain which will give you the sense of pleasure and happiness.. (sound familiar ?)
We just realized , that’s exactly what sugar does.
So even though sugar is not really a drug “legally”
Its actions say something different
When we found out sugar to coffee and chocolate we added sugar to everything
We added it to rum , chocolate , tea , coffee , ketchup .. everywhere..
A normal chocolate bar has approximately 30 grams of sugar in various forms and that would be equal to the same calories you would get if you are consuming 3 medium Bananas
Not only does bananas make you feel fuller also contains zero sugar which means no health issues , but we would still go with the candy right ?
If you give a kid 3 bananas and a candy bar we all know what the kid is gonna go for
Heck we know what adults like us are gonna go for
Nutritionist suggest we only take 25 grams of sugar a day
but an average American consumes up to 200 grams of sugar a day. Tha’ts a lot of sugar. Like 30 kilogram of added sugar every year
Unlike the old days , now sugar is everywhere ..
It’s a new ketchup , it’s in your crackers , candy even in the fat free packaged scams you buy from super market.
So even if sugar is not considered as a drug legally we can definitely say it’s getting people hooked ..