Twitter RSS

Sugar is ‘the most dangerous drug of our time’ and should come with smoking-style health warnings, says Dutch health chief

Published on September 23, 2013,

Sugary foods and drinks should come with a smoking-style health warning, according to a leading Dutch health expert. This is from the UK’s Daily Mail… 

English: A bowl filled with sugar

English: A bowl filled with sugar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health service, said that sugar is ‘the most dangerous drug of our time’.

The health chief – from a city that has a famously liberal attitude to cannabis – added that sugar is a drug like alcohol and tobacco and that its use should be discouraged.

Writing on a public health website, he said that users should be made aware of the dangers.

He wrote: ‘This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of this time and is easy to obtain.’

He added: ‘Just as with smoking labels, soft drinks and sweet products should come with the warning that sugar is addictive and bad for the health.’

Mr Van der Velpen wrote that more and more people are becoming overweight and that this is increasing healthcare costs at a time when many governments are trying to save money.

He added that obesity could be tackled by encouraging people to take more exercise, but that changing people’s diets would be more effective.

He cites research which suggests that when people are eating fats and proteins they stop when they are full, but that when they are eating sugars they will keep eating until their stomachs hurt.

He believes this is because sugar is addictive and is ‘as hard to give up as smoking’.

As a result, he says sugar should be taxed in the same way alcohol and cigarettes are.

He also suggests that the amount of sugar that can be added to processed food should be regulated.

More at:  Sugar is ‘the most dangerous drug of our time’ and should come with smoking-style health warnings, says Dutch health chief

Video: Eric Clapton Says His Addictive Behaviour Started With Sugar

Published on August 6, 2013,

Interesting snippet from a 60 Minutes interview with Eric Clapton in which he says his pattern of addiction – which went on to drugs and alcohol – started with sugar when he was a child. With thanks to the excellent blog Ketopia for the spot…

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

It would be interesting to know if this is particular to Clapton or something that shows up in others as well.

See more from Ketopia here

Your Brain On Carbs: Study Suggests How Sugary, Starchy Foods May Lead to Addiction

Published on July 3, 2013,

A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the brain responds differently to some types of carbohydrates than others — and some sugary foods trigger the same reward mechanisms as drug and alcohol addiction. This is from the New York Daily Post…

Milk Shake

In the study, researchers observed the brain activity of 12 overweight or obese men

between the ages of 18 and 35 in the hours after they consumed milkshake meals. The milkshakes were identical in taste as well as calories, nutrients and carbohydrates, but one set of shakes was made with high-glycemic carbs, such as the kind found in white bread, white rice and processed sweets, that spike blood sugar more quickly. The other set contained low-glycemic carbs such as those found in whole wheat bread and brown rice that cause a more gradual rise in blood sugar.

Predictably, when subjects drank the high-glycemic shakes, their blood sugar levels rose more quickly, and several hours later had dipped lower than when they drank the low-glycemic version. They also reported feeling hungrier.

But researchers also noticed substantially more activity in the parts of the brain that regulate reward and craving, the same areas activated in addicts, four hours after the men drank the high-glycemic shakes.

Lead study author Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity research center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said the brain activity may suggest why some people get stuck in a cycle of reaching for — and overeating — sugary, starchy foods.

“Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive,” Ludwig said in a statement.

“Limiting high-glycemic index carbohydrates like white bread and potatoes could help obese individuals reduce cravings and control the urge to overeat.”

Eating too many high-glycemic foods isn’t good for anyone, but the bigger picture of whether a person can become addicted to food — or to specific type of food like high-glycemic carbs — is more complicated, said Dr. Lisa Young, RD, PhD, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University.

“I wouldn’t jump so fast to call it addiction, but it’s possible in a certain subset of people,” Young told the Daily News. “There are other factors you need to look at, at the same time. When some people eat a cookie they can’t stop, but other people can stop. You’re dealing with psychological behavior.”

More at:  Your brain on carbs: Study suggests how sugary, starchy foods may lead to addiction

© Low Carb Diet News