Sugar somehow (as usual, follow the money) escapes discussion of the more addictive and destructive drugs in our society. Regardless of its historical role in the foundation of the African slave trade, its present role in our obesity epidemic, or the little value assigned its role in mood, behavior and productivity, it’s nevertheless earned its title as the ‘Opiate of the Masses’, seemingly the worlds drug of choice. When one seeks revelry or to escape sour times, when one looks to entertain or to drown out, sugar suffices for most. Diabetic or not, thin or morbidly obese, addict of another more readily demonized substance and the police officer who arrested him first both sat down at some point in their day for some sugar, more than likely more than their share.. and unless either addict or officer happen to be under the age of 10 their copious consumption may well never be known to an outsider (though their insides might well take notice). By the time most of us reach an age where drug use might come into question in our lives we’ve already had more sugar in our bodies than humans had throughout their entire life span just a thousand years earlier.
According to the article How Sugar Hijacks Your Brain And Makes You AddictedBy, Kris Gunnars, BSc from March, 2016, sugar acts exactly as many drugs of abuse (including all those of the most ill-repute) in its method of action in the brain; sugar produces a rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine, aka the body’s “feel good” chemical, which obviously makes the consumer “feel good”.. for a time, that is. Repeated consumption of sugar can quickly cause the brain to down-regulate the number of dopamine receptors as from what it can tell its flow of dopamine is already quite substantial. When external (or exogenous) sugar implementation ceases the now down-regulated receptors do not suddenly reverse their course. This now lacking internal (endogenous) dopamine can bring about a wealth of withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, the body is no longer receiving “feel good” information from either within nor without.
It is at this juncture, after the cessation of sugar consumption, that many of the same withdrawal symptoms, those common with other drugs that activate the release of dopamine in the “reward center” (or the nucleus accumbens) region of the brain, may begin to occur: depression, lethargy, anhedonia, malaise, sadness, morbidity, suicide and the like.
One might not know whether sugar is causing havoc in their system until sugar consumption cessation is attempted. With heart disease killing more than anything, and diabetes and suicide trailing not-too-far behind, sugar addiction is a serious problem. Sugar addiction has been a serious problem since the British Nobility tasted it and Spanish Nobility had African slaves brought by the boatload to the Americas with the sole purpose of growing it. Sugar now dominates our foodstuffs and can be found in one derivative or another in most anything at the grocers market. Sugar is one drug thats as American as, and a crucial ingredient in Apple Pie.