Is Sugar a Drug?

This household staple isn’t what exactly comes to mind when you’re thinking of harmful substances now is it? Well…be prepared for some sweet psycho-education that’ll rock your socks! 

Emerging research has unveiled that sugar and sweetness “can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs” (Ahmed, Guillem & Vandaele, 2013).  Ultimately, sugar operates on similar neuro-pathways and reward systems, and can also hijack the brain like those icky illicit substances! 

So is sugar a drug? The answer is not so simple. While sugar sure is palatable, not all of us will end up using it and abusing it.  Remember, each one of us has our own unique genetic pre-disposition and set of environmental circumstances.  For sugar addiction to take place, it is likely that one possesses this genetic pre-disposition and an environment that supports the over-consumption of sweets. 

As always, the Beacon is here to help if you feel that you might be struggling with sugar and/or food addiction.   Feel free to give us a call and connect with any inquiries!


The Beacon Team

Ahmed, SH, Guillem K,& Vandaele Y. (2013). Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 16,434-9.