By AMY TAINTOR
With pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn and caramel apples around the corner, it’s the perfect time to look at sugar in a way that most of us haven’t before.
We frequently hear that sugar can cause cancer, liver disease and diabetes. So why don’t we just stop consuming it?
The answer: it’s addictive.
According to an article on foodandnutrition.org, written by Monica Reinagel, sugar has a virtually similar affect on the brain as cocaine.
When consuming sugar, it stimulates the same part of the brain that cocaine does and causes a flood of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates our “feel good” neurons, which creates a “high.”
At Princeton University, two Ph.D. students performed an experiment using rats and their reaction to sugar. Almost all rats preferred the sugar water instead of regular water. Once the rats with sweet water were given plain water, they experienced withdrawals. Withdrawal is a common symptom of a chemical addiction.
In American culture, sugar is everywhere. The recommended daily dose of sugar is 6 teaspoons for women, and 9 teaspoons for men. However, according to sugarscience.org, the average U.S citizen’s sugar intake is 19.5 teaspoons per day. That’s equivalent to 66 pounds of added sugar every year for those individuals.
The more we consume, the more we need. So, when you’re standing in line at Starbucks next time, ask yourself if you really need that pumpkin spice latte, which has 50 grams of sugar in itself.
Yeah, I think I’ll pass on that.