in Guides & Advice

13 02 2022

Myth Busting Is Sugar As Addictive As Drugs? You’ve probably heard it several times before, lets look at the evidence and see if theres any weight behind it!

Whats the easiest way to figure this out?

The easiest way to put this one to bed is to ask yourself do you find yourself waiting for the shop to open in the morning to get your sugar fix? Then when you get it, go back again and again for a second and third hit? Perhaps even eat so much you vomit and then go back again once you’ve cleaned up your own puke?

The answer is No.

In contrast, it is not uncommon for drug addicts to beg, borrow and steal to get their next hit, A behaviour to date we do not see with those who are fond of sugar.

What do the studies say?

Indeed studies dating back to 1940 show that once you feed rodents sugar up to a certain point, they declined to consume anymore. Again, the opposite is seen with drug addicts, where cravings are not short-lived and persist even in the absence of drugs.

Where on earth does the comparison come from then?

Where the comparisons have likely come from is the desire or “craving” for a certain food. For example, let’s take the most craved food of all – chocolate. You will have likely heard someone say in your lifetime “I’m addicted to chocolate”. 

However, chocolate nowadays is easily accessed, from chocolate cookies to chocolate milkshakes to chocolate ladened coffees. As a result, when someone tries to restrain from eating it, it becomes difficult to do so because the environment has made it so easy to access it. 

So, when someone has told themselves they are “off chocolate” but the environment has “stayed on”, cravings persist because the environmental cues are still there. This is where people make comparisons to addiction but it’s not addiction, it’s someone showing addictive type qualities because of their environmental cues. That is not the same as drug addiction.

The Truth!

Sugar cravings shouldn’t be compared to drug addiction. While the research we have does not rule out the possibility of a link, it does show that the evidence for sugar addiction doesn’t support such a strong claim.

Sugar is a carbohydrate, if you’d like to know more about carbohydrates check this out!

Article by: Declan Doyle PhD Scholar & Combat Fuel Nutritional Expert.

Declan is a leading nutrition and health consultant and Combat Fuel’s go to nutritional expert. He has worked within elite performance environments both in sport and business for over 15 years. His clients range from world class combat athletes to your average Joe (or Jill) to large corporates. Outside of the ‘day job’, he still coaches people online and tutor’s newbie learners to be standout personal trainers. He continues to develop his knowledge and skills and is currently undertaking a PhD in elite performance. When he’s not lecturing, training, coaching or writing specific courses, you’ll find him dropping knowledge bombs over on all his socials below.

Become a PT with Declan (Discounted for military and blue light veterans)




Get coached by Declan