Is sugar really addictive?

The first thing I have taught all of you is to steer clear of white refined sugars. Bartley Hoebel, PhD at Princeton University recently conducted a study to see if excessive sugar causes the same physical addiction as cocaine or heroin. In his experiment, Hoebel and colleagues placed rats on a pattern of bingeing by withholding food for 12 hours, then giving them nutritionally balanced food plus sugar water. The animals gradually increased their daily sugar intake until it doubled, consuming most of it in the first hour it was available. When the researchers suddenly removed the sugar portion of the rats' diet, the animals exhibited teeth chattering, a common sign of withdrawal. "The implication," said Hoebel, "is that some animals, and some people, can become overly dependent on sweet food, particularly if they periodically stop eating and then binge."


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