Sugar addiction is for real: New study reveals it is like being hooked on cocaine

If you can't resist that extra spoonful of sugar in your morning tea, then this one's for you. A new research has revealed that sugar addiction is much like addiction to any other drug, said a report in The TelegraphAccording to the study from Queensland University of Technology(QUT), withdrawal symptoms of chronic sugar consumption are similar to going cold turkey from drugs.

Further, the study said that excessive consumption of sugar releases dopamine, or the happy hormone, much like cocaine, tobacco and morphine,  reported The Independent.

Excessive consumption of sugar releases dopamine in our brains. Getty Images

Excessive consumption of sugar releases dopamine in our brains. Getty Images

The Telegraph report further states that the same medicines, like varenicline, used to treat nicotine addiction could be used to treat sugar addiction. Professor and neuroscientist Selena Bartlett from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation was quoted in The Telegraph saying "The latest World Health Organisation figures tell us 1.9 billion people worldwide are overweight, with 600 million considered obese."

She further added that there is a direct link between consuming copious amounts of sugar and weight gain and that after a certain point, intake of sugar can have the opposite effect on your brain (reduction in dopamine levels, that is) and you may start consuming more to feel the same way again, according to The Telegraph.

If you're thinking of switching over to artificial sweeteners, think again. According to Bartlett's colleague Masroor Shariff, the effects of artificial sweeteners are similar to that of table sugar, leaving us to reconsider our relationship with sweetened food per say.

The Independent report quotes another study from 2014 which stated that sugar addiction is less of a biochemical dependency and more of a psychological one, much like gambling.

In 2015 however, Dr James DiNicolantonio after having published a review looking into the dangers of sugar had said that even during animal testing, rats hooked onto cocaine switch to sugar as soon as it is introduced.


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Updated Date: Apr 13, 2016 21:24:24 IST

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