Is sugar addicting?
We’ve all heard it. Sugar is addicting. You need to cut out sugar from your diet or you’ll never lose weight. But what is the basis for this claim? Is there anything to back this up? A new study says otherwise! Let’s dive in.
Claims about sugar addiction are based mostly on a few animal studies. But no such study has been done on humans. Therefore, Markus et al looked at sugar consumption using a sample of nearly 1500 people in their study entitled Eating dependence and weight gain; no human evidence for a ‘sugar-addiction’ model of overweight. They looked at the consumption of foods containing mostly sugar and determined whether the result of consuming these foods met criteria for substance addiction or not. They also looked at whether this would lead to weight-gain or a depressed mood. Some participants in the study did in fact meet the addiction criteria; however, this was not a result of eating sugary foods. Rather, this happened when eating a combination of high fat/savory or high fat/sweet foods. Only a very minor percentage (5%) experienced “food addiction” with foods composed of mainly sugars. The same was true for weight gain.
So what does this study tell us? That it is the combination of high fats and high carbs/sugars that lead to increased palatability of food and thus “addiction.” This consequently leads to over-consumption of these foods and ultimately weight gain due to the higher amount of calories in these foods.
Remember calories are king!! Sugar itself is not addicting. You don’t see people pouring pure cane sugar into their throats! So stop demonizing poor sugar and be more cognizant of combinations of high fat/sugar as these are the foods that will more likely keep you wanting more.