Sugar: America’s Most Abused Drug of Choice
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 03/15/2013 in Medical Marijuana Laws
Can Sugar Really Be Considered the First Gateway Drug?
A drug is defined as “any absorbed substance that changes or enhances any physical or psychological function in the body.” Sugar causes a euphoric effect that triggers the hypothalamus to release dopamine, the chemical that controls pleasure in the brain. Fructose (the molecule that makes sugar sweet) lights up reward the center in your brain called the nucleus accumbens on MRI; but after repeated exposure, the reward center lights up less and less, so you need more and more to achieve the same effect. Fructose has effects on the reward center similar to drugs of abuse.
In her book Potatoes Not Prozac, Kathleen DesMaisons outlined the concept of sugar addiction as a measurable physiological state caused by activation of opioid receptors in the brain and hypothesized that dependence on sugar followed the same track outlined for drugs of abuse. According to an article in the journal Neuroscience, research has proven that “under select dietary circumstances, sugar can have effects similar to a drug of abuse.” A Princeton University scientist concluded that sugar can be an addictive substance, wielding its power over the brains of lab animals in a manner similar to many drugs of abuse. The lab animals tested showed the four criteria of addiction; bingeing, withdrawal, craving, and sensitization.
Sugar addiction is real and it is linked to the leading cause of death in the United States; heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. The average American eats a third of a pound of sugar every day — 130 pounds a year. It doesn’t help that sugar is everywhere in foods. Most people are unaware of the quantities they are consuming.
Sugar is a depressant and, consumed in large amounts, it affects the opiate receptor sites in the central nervous system. In the same way that prescription pill addicts experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit using, sugar addicts can also experience withdrawal from their drug. There is no question that withdrawal from sugar can be as painful as withdrawal from pills.
If you always feel sick, moody, and depressed, the reasons may be your diet. Cut out the excess sugar. You may be a sugar addict without even knowing it. That is the power of the sugar drug and powerful lobby groups claiming processed sugar to be healthy.
If you want a resource on nutrition I recommend The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program or many other great books found on amazon.
After learning of the effects of sugar, do you agree or disagree that cannabis should be reclassified to a Schedule II substance so that it is permitted to be prescribed by licensed medical professionals?