Truths About Sugar Addiction

Disaster is not an understatement when we are discussing the impact that sugar, obesity, and sugar addiction has on our country.

More importantly, we cannot underestimate the impact it is GOING to have on our country.  If the projections are correct, 95% of our country will be obese in twenty years.  Disaster, calamity, catastrophe… yikes!

The scene from the movie ‘Fed Up’ as it relates to this discussion of sugar addiction that stuck with me this time (I have seen it a multitude of times) was when a teenage boy struggling with compulsive overeating and metabolic syndrome pointed out how if he were an alcoholic his home would not be full of booze, and that being surrounded by sugary and processed food makes it seemingly impossible not to eat it.  Not only did I relate to this as a helping professional in this field, but I relate to it as the struggling 15-year-old I once was who couldn’t find her own help.

His statement is overwhelming and true, and a statement to our world as a whole.  If this teenager was abusing cocaine or alcohol, it’s true that his home wouldn’t even have cough syrup in it and the environment would be much more supporting of his recovery.

So here’s the data that is compelling me to write about this (if only I had a mountaintop from which to scream it):

Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine. Read it again: EIGHT TIMES MORE ADDICTIVE THAN COCAINE. Sorry for yelling, but that’s some serious data!

Highly processed food or SUGAR has been tested and proven to be exactly the same as any other highly addictive drug.  The pleasure centers in the brain react in the same way when snorting a line of cocaine as they do when eating a food high in sugar.  So why is the common discourse in the field of eating disorders and medicine touting the notion of moderation and personal responsibility? It’s INSANE!

Why do we as a society see food addiction a funny side joke?  We see gorging on big meals and having cookie swapping parties and jokingly referring to ourselves as chocoholics as past times and punchlines. Why are there people still talking about eating organic peanut butter cups and agave sweetened gummy bears on Halloween, or just having a small sliver of the birthday cake as solutions to this raging epidemic? Is this the same approach taken in the fields of substance addiction?  Are we saying it’s okay to snort 2 lines of cocaine on your birthday, or have a little sip of alcohol to celebrate if you are struggling with constantly abusing it? If the data on sugar and drugs is apples to apples, why isn’t the response to it’s abuse the same too?  Am I the only one outraged?

Take notice – when out with friends or family, when celebrating a birthday, when standing in line with a stranger at a coffeeshop – keep your ears open for lines like, “Hahaha, I’m a chocoholic.” The scary and disturbing news is: that is NOT funny and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just because this addiction has sugar in the name does not mean it is sweet.

In fact, there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING sweet or funny about addiction. This is the first generation of children that are forecast to live shorter lives than their parents, and that is SAD. An addict will always protect their substance, and as a society of addicts we are doing a great job protecting our sugar — all the way to the gates of death. If we accept the truth about sugar, then what we are saying is, you can’t in good faith serve cupcakes at your kid’s birthday party.  And there is something very un-American about that.  It’s a real dilemma. Start the conversation – let us know what you think.

Molly and The Beacon Family