Sugar is one of the most controversial food items in recent years since the nutrition “experts” seem to have divided themselves into two camps – one is strongly anti-sugar saying it may be partly responsible for most chronic diseases and may be addictive, and the other is less anti-sugar, and generally report only the risks of tooth decay to health and say that it does not meet the criteria of a true addiction. See my previous post: Sugar Addiction: An Opinion.
Of course, the sugar and processed food industry is seriously involved and takes the side of the anti-tooth decay groups.
NOTE: When researchers gave human subjects sugar or fat solutions (they used canola oil.) alone and compared those to a saliva control, they concluded: “fat and sugar both produced strong reward effects in the brain.” as shown by a MRI brain scan. They reported “It has already been established that sugar ingestion would light up the areas of the brain that are collectively known as reward centers that generate pleasure, indicating possible addictive or narcotic properties.” So it was a surprise to find that fat could also produce the same results. Araujo and Rolls, “Representation in the Human Brain of Food Texture and Oral Fat”, Journal of Neuroscience 24 (2004): 3086-3093.
The following article presents the case for sugar addiction. It also begins to discuss the complexities of addiction and how the sugar industry gears its marketing to sell for profit with very little consideration for health. An interesting and informative book that should be read by all consumers is Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2010.