Is sugar more addictive than drugs?

Refined sugar consists of between 99.4 and 99.7 per cent pure calories with no vitamins, minerals, fats or protein. It’s just carbohydrates that cause a boost to blood sugar, which quickly results in a sugar crash, making us want more.

On average, Australians consume 60 grams of table sugar each day.

Consumption of sugar is associated with depression, hyperactivity, ADHD, increased triglycerides, weight gain, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, higher cholesterol, stroke and some cancers.


A review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine claimed that refined sugar caused a similar result on the brain as cocaine. Sugar modifies your mood and creates a feeling of euphoria which is why sugar is sometimes compared to illicit drugs. Studies on animals have shown a correlation between the consumption of added sugars and the effects of drugs such as cravings, tolerance, withdrawal, reward, and bingeing. The study also suggests that sugar could act as a gateway to alcohol or other addictive substances.

Other scientists have been quick to rebuke this, saying that while sweet things can cause a habit, when people cut their sugar intake, it will not induce the same withdrawal effects as cocaine or other drugs.

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, reducing sugar consumption will cause a deficiency in dopamine in the brain, which can be relieved by eating more sugar. Long term consumption of sugar can cause a reduction in the amount of dopamine produced by the brain meaning larger and larger quantities of sugar are necessary to achieve the same effect.


There are varying definitions of addiction, most commonly it is the biochemical elements of a drug that causes physical changes to a person, make the substance almost impossible to resist. If you are worried that you’re addicted to sugar, just like someone might be addicted to drugs, don’t be – the same dependency simply will not occur.

There is nothing wrong with consuming sugar in moderation.