Is sugar addictive? does it make people fat? 
So perhaps carbs such as fruits, veggies and (gasp) oats, rice etc are OK, but what about sugar? Isn’t sugar the root cause of all evil? Does not Satan himself ride to work on a sugar-coated Cadillac? 
 
Let’s start with the sugar is additive argument. 
 
Firstly, we need to define addiction, in the broadest sense an addiction would be something to which you feel you have absolutely no control over, a behaviour driven by impulse which is having a detrimental effect on your life. Alcohol is addictive, nicotine is addictive, many drugs are addictive, and then there are the grey areas of addiction such as porn or gaming. 
 
But sugar? 
 
Try this experiment to see if you have a sugar addiction. 
 
Step One 
 
Go to a café with those tables that have a big sugar bowl in the middle with lots of sachets of sugar. Don’t worry you don’t have to order anything, people who run cafes don’t mind at all if you just sit down and do this experiment, they’re used to people doing it all the time. 
 
Step Two 
 
Tear open a sachet of sugar and eat it. 
 
Step Three 
 
Repeat step two, keep going, see how many sachets you can manage. 
 
Step Four 
 
Notice the following 
 
You won’t get through many of those sachets. 
You’ll soon be kicked out of the café and your defence that an internet good looking PT told you to do it will fall on deaf ears. 
You won’t feel sudden impulses to repeat this experiment, you won’t wake up in the middle of the night and go to the café wanting to score another hit of sugar and you won’t steal your brothers telly and pawn it to fund your sugar habit. 
Because…. 
 
Drumroll….. 
 
SUGAR IS NOT ADDICTIVE 
 
So, there are certainly some high sugar, salt, fat foods which can be hard for many people to feel as though they have control over. 
 
Most of us could gobble down 2000 calories from a box of chocolates (fat/ sugar/ salt) quicker than I could eat 2000 calories from broccoli (carbs/ fibre/ evil) 
 
So yeh, hyper-palatable foods might be a big obstacle to dieting, maintaining a healthy weight and health in general, but even with those caveats let’s consider the case of professor Twinkie.. 
Real name Mark Haub, this guy ate nothing but Twinkies, Doritos, Oreo cookies and sugary cereal, keeping his total calories to 1800 per day. In 10 weeks, he lost 27lbs and even improved his cholesterol and triglycerides (because weight loss itself improves these things) 
 
I’d like to think that’s enough to disprove the sugar is additive/ makes us fat theory, however for some people I think no amount of evidence will ever be enough. 
 
SUGAR IS ADDICTIVE/ MAKES US FAT 
 
But suppose I’m wrong? 
 
Suppose sugar is addictive and is the underlying cause of obesity, well good news, sugar intake is going down! 
 
Over the last fifty years sugar intake has declined by 22%, meanwhile obesity and diabetes rates have continued to rise. 
There has been a huge push to remove sugar from most of the products we buy in supermarkets, Schools no longer have vending machines for coke and chocolate bars and efforts have been made in places where people are unlikely to notice, such as many fast food places giving zero sugar soft drinks as standard. 
 
But hey, what if I’m still wrong, and I’m just being paid by big sugar to spread lies? 
 
Here is an interesting example of why high sugar isn’t as much of an issue as we’ve been led to believe, during the Cuban missile crisis of from 1989 to 1995 in which the Cuban economy collapsed, sugar intake rose to 28% of calorie intake. 
 
Did all that extra sugar cause a surge in obesity? 
 
Quite the opposite, with a struggling economy and a shortage of gasoline people had to walk and cycle more and obesity decreased by nearly half, only a small part of the population became underweight, indicating that this wasn’t a case of starvation, and then as soon as the crisis was over and the economy stabilised again and people resumed their previous diets and the obesity rate returned to normal. 
 
I’m conscious of not over labouring the point in these articles, so I’ll leave it there for now as far as sugar goes, in my next article I’ll discuss keto diets and if they are any better for weight loss. 
Tagged as: Nutrition
Share this post:

Leave a comment: 

Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings