I recently saw a commercial for drug and alcohol abuse. It was not only for a rehab program, but it also stated the dangers that go along with the addiction, including what it can do to your body. This left me wondering: where are the warnings about sugar? This may seem farfetched, but hear me out.

Sugar is one of the most abused and addictive drugs in this country. It is eight times more addictive than cocaine, and the average American consumes 75 pounds of sugar a year. A recent study suggests that our brains react to sugar the same way they do to drugs, such as cocaine.

There’s a simple solution, right? Just stop eating candy, cookies, and other sweets. Addiction kicked. Wrong. Food manufacturers put it in everything! Most of the sugar we consume is hidden in processed foods and sweetened drinks.  As a matter of fact, 35 percent of the sugar consumed by Americans is from beverages. Many of us have no clue how prevalent sugar is in our diets. It is hidden in diet drinks, crackers, salad dressing, breads and cereals, ketchup, frozen cocktails, sports and energy drinks, and so much more.

Scientific Findings

Obviously, excess sugar isn’t good for us. So, the food industry developed an alternative: artificial sweeteners. But did you know, they can be more addictive than regular sugar? This is like advising a drug addict to select another drug of choice, instead of sticking with what they’re currently addicted to.

In a recent study, artificial sweeteners were given to mice. These sweeteners, found in diet sodas, changed the micro biome inside the intestine of the mouse so drastically that it became diabetic.

Artificial sugars are processed, for the most part, in the intestines, as opposed to the stomach. To further demonstrate the impact of these sugars on the body, the mice were divided into three groups. They were fed the same foods, except some consumed raw sugar. Some consumed no sugar at all. The third group was given artificial sugar. Almost immediately the mice being given the artificial sugar began to develop high blood sugar, in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma, similar to diabetes; and their physical activity demonstrated a sense of fatigue and disorientation. However, the other two groups experienced no change.

Politics and the Food Industry

Again, these are ingredients that you may not even know you’re consuming. The good news in all of this is that the FDA is fighting to get an “added sugar content” onto food labels. This would be outstanding news and a move in the right direction, if the food manufacturing industry would allow it to happen. Instead of embracing this healthy change, companies are bombarding the FDA with letters as to why this should not take place.

One plea from the American Beverage Association stated, “If there is to be an added sugar label, it must be measured in grams and not teaspoons, because teaspoons may carry an unfair negative connotation that undermines the factual nature of nutrition information.”  So, what they’re saying here is that because people understand what a teaspoon is, they may find it alarming to see how much sugar they are consuming.

Whether you believe artificial sweeteners and sugar are bad for you or not, you should at least have the right to know when they are being added to your food. I cannot reiterate enough, read the food labels before you consume the food. Avoid processed foods, juices, sodas, etc.

For more tips on healthy eating and avoiding sugars in excessive quantities, we recommend taking a look at our previous blogs Sugar is Not Only Making you Fat, It’s Killing You, Your Guide to a Healthier Lifestyle, Trying to Get Healthy, but Not Sure Where to Start?, and 6 Things You Should Never Have for Breakfast.


About Integrated Health Solutions

Dr. Charbel Harb is a licensed chiropractic physician and the Medical Director of Integrated Health Solutions. Our core belief is that each patient who walks through the doors is a person, not just a medical record or chart. Our greatest pleasure is bringing joy to our patients and helping them to fully embrace life, allowing them to enjoy each day: active, healthy and pain free.