Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine?

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine?

Many people claim to struggle with a precarious sweet tooth that’s never satisfied. Because of the satisfying effects of sugar, it’s often claimed to be an addictive substance. But is sugar more addictive than cocaine? Our luxury drug and alcohol rehab in South Florida has the answers. 

Sugar vs Cocaine

Sugar is a sweet-tasting carbohydrate that is naturally produced in plants. Different types of sugar include sucrose, lactose, glucose, and fructose. Although sugar tastes good, it isn’t great for you. Sugar is bad because it can cause weight gain, contribute to diabetes, lacks nutritional value, causes cavities, and contributes to heart disease. Refined sugar is almost completely made up of pure calories and lacks nutritional value like minerals, proteins, or fats. Unfortunately, sugar is also addictive. Its sweet taste and energy-boosting effects make it a highly desirable substance. But the question remains – is sugar more addictive than cocaine?

Drug-Like Side Effects

Sugar is as addictive as cocaine because it produces similar effects. A phenomenon called “the bliss point,” which was discovered by Howard Moskowitz, refers to the perfect combination of salt, sugar, and fat that would cause an ultimate sensation of pleasure in the human brain. Similar to how cocaine affects the brain, a certain amount of sugar can activate the bliss point, increasing sensitivity to taste and triggering an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. This area of the brain plays a role in the reward system by targeting dopamine and serotonin.1 Both sugar and cocaine produce feelings of euphoria and increased energy. 

While this may be a reason why sugar is more addictive than cocaine, cocaine addiction is a chronic disease that usually requires professional treatment. At Seaside Palm Beach, we specialize in treating substance abuse and offer a luxury residential rehab that separates patients from any triggers in order to help them in their recovery.

No Aversion Signal

An aversion signal is basically a safety mechanism in our brain that tells us when we’re eating too much salt. Interestingly, we don’t have an aversion signal that tells us to stop eating sugar. This is another reason why sugar is more addictive than cocaine. While cocaine and sugar both cause the same effects by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, sugar is present in a lot more things that we consume on a regular basis, meaning that it may be the most commonly abused addictive substance in the world.

Similar Withdrawal Symptoms

Because sugar affects dopamine levels in the brain, a person who suddenly stops eating sugar may experience withdrawal symptoms. Similar to cocaine withdrawal symptoms, a person attempting to quit sugar cold turkey may experience side effects like: 

  • Depression 
  • Problems sleeping
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Fatigue 
  • Cravings 
  • Anxiety

Although sugar can be considered more addictive than cocaine, it isn’t a chronic disease. A drug or alcohol addiction is considered a chronic disease because it permanently affects the brain’s chemical makeup, making it difficult for that person to never desire that substance again. While sugar cravings are intense, it can be easier to quit sugar than it is to quit abusing cocaine. 

Drug addiction can be difficult to recover from without professional help. Patients that choose our Florida rehab facility usually begin their treatment in our luxury detox program. Our medically monitored detox is led by medical personnel trained to manage withdrawal symptoms and any other possible complications that may occur. 

If you or someone you know has developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol, call us today at 561-677-9374 for more information about our various addiction treatment services



NCBI – The Nucleus Accumbens: Mechanisms of Addiction across Drug Classes Reflect the Importance of Glutamate Homeostasis


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Coffee and Cocaine

Is Cocaine Really On U.S. Money?

Rising Cocaine Overdose Deaths in the U.S.

The Effects of Cocaine on the Heart

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