You may be surprised to see sugar referred to as a drug.
Research has established that this drug has many negative effects on the brain and it has even been linked with criminal behaviour in several scientific studies. However, I am not talking about an illegal drug here. I am talking about refined sugar.
As we grow older, the definition of drugs, specifically recreational drugs, starts to get a little blurred out. It’s not black and white anymore, like a 2-page Archie’s panel advocating the complete abstinence from indulgence. You start to realise that a lot of the everyday things you’re putting into your body could be classified under the umbrella term ‘drugs’, and it’s only time and the onset of differing social pressures that have put us where we are today. Alcohol’s a drug, nicotine’s a drug, hell, even coffee’s a drug. It stimulates you, gets you charged up, and people tend to hate not having it around. See what I mean?
But the one substance that hasn’t really been on this particular radar is sugar, and it might be the most prevalent, all-pervasive drug of all.
As The Guardian, in a very enlightening long read pointed out, the consumption of sugar has no short-term ill effects, at least for most.
It’s been found that sugar brings out the same response in the ‘reward centre’ of the brain as alcohol, cocaine and heroin.
Ice-cream, chocolate and candy is depicted as a feel-good pick-me-up in pretty much all forms of popular culture.
Now I’m not trying to be preachy and saying it’s wrong, I’m just pointing out the facts, and they all seem to point to sugar and its various delicious avatars exhibiting clear signs of being a drug.
Unlike alcohol and other drugs, sugar has no extreme immediate unpleasant effects. It builds up over time and is noticed only years or decades later.
Back in 1965, George Oshawa, founder of the macrobiotic diet, wrote that, “Sugar is without question the number one murderer in the history of humanity – much more lethal than opium or radioactive atomic fall-out”.
And in the 7 April 2005 edition of the British Medical Journal, editor Imre Loefler wrote, “Sugar is as dangerous as tobacco and, in terms of world health, far more important. The campaign for the cessation of sugar consumption must not repeat the mistakes of the anti-tobacco crusade. It is not just a case of education, persuasion, and lawsuits – sugar should be classified as a hard drug, for it is addictive and harmful. Sugar production, trade, possession, and consumption should be legislated against internationally.”
Alcohol and other drugs can cause dizziness, flushing, heart palpitations and a world of unusual effects immediately. Compared to this, the negative effects of sugar are noticed decades later, making this one of the most insidious ‘drugs’ of the lot.