Should Sugar Be Regulated Like A Drug?

Should Sugar Be Regulated Like A Drug?

Some days all you need is a cool coco-cola or a whole pint of chocolate ice cream. Sure it would satisfy your temporary cravings but what’s going to happen if you keep consuming those things every day? Well, it’s obvious that you’ll either end up with diabetes or obesity. that’s no bizarre news, what bizarre is that researchers are comparing sugar to drugs! Sounds crazy right? But if you listen for a little longer, it might start to make sense.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have said that sugar and sweeteners, whether natural or artificial are just as addictive as other drugs and should be regulated as if they were alcohol. 

Let’s move on to what addiction is.

Sugar is linked to addictive behavior on the basis that opioids and dopamine are released. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a part of a something called the “reward circuit”. An addiction is developed when a particular behavior causes the release of dopamine. Sequentially, you feel a very enjoyable “high”. With most drugs, this behavior is repeated to feel that high continuously but the only way to do so is to repeat this behavior with gradually increasing amounts. What I have just described is substance abuse. 

Consider watching this video to know more about what happens when you stop eating sugar….

Like other drugs, sugar also activated our opiate receptors which affect the reward center. This leads to compulsive behavior, even after knowing that this behavior brings about only negative outcomes. Similar to drugs, our brains can develop tolerance toward sugar too, which is what makes sugar so similar to drugs.

Let’s assume sugar is a drug, then the weird thing could be that humans, as a nation are addicted to sugar. The American Heart Association mentioned in research that soft drinks have caused 180,000 deaths worldwide per year. Sodas clearly have sugar in them, but sugar is hidden in so many processed foods that it’s hard to know what doesn’t contain added sugar.

Natural sugar is still somewhat better than added sugar or processed sugar. Glucose is easily digested and metabolized by cells but fructose, that’s a whole another mess. It’s metabolized mostly by the liver which can cause fatty liver disease and other illnesses that lead to obesity or diabetes. Added sugar is richer in fructose and goes directly to the liver, damaging it more than natural sugar. 

It’s not entirely our fault that we can’t get enough of this sugary goodness. Cereals and other such foods are presented in vibrant colored boxes alongside eye-catching cartons to make popular amounts of children. Food sciences have found a way to make food more appealing to us by using advertisements and other forms of media. 

When it comes to children, parents should educate themselves on nutrition and a good diet so that their kids understand the complexity of a nation-wide addiction. Nowadays there are alternatives for almost everything, so filling your pantry with food disguised as sugar cubes would be foolish.

Saying that the government should regulate sugar like other drugs would be a little extreme as no matter how many comparisons you make, sugar is not actually a drug. Drugs aren’t necessary for survival, on the other hand, glucose, which is the simplest form of sugar, is very essential to our functioning. 

Everyone has a right to choose what they eat and when they eat it. Life would be pretty boring without donuts and lattes. The right to control an issue like this is to educate others about the dangers of sugar so that when a decision is made, no one is to blame but themselves. If there is a better and healthier way to live, one should do it, more matter how hard it may be.

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!


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