The Reclassification of Sugar as a Drug

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Lyle, Marie-Hélène
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Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal
Sugar is traditionally classified as a food “used to improve the palatability of many foods” (ISMA, 2005). As such, it is the “cheapest instant source of energy” (ISMA, 2005) containing no nutritional value. Recent research, however, has proven that “under select dietary circumstances, sugar can have effects similar to a drug of abuse”(Rada, Avena & Hoebel, 2005). There are other health risks as well: as Hunt (1999, p. 18) argues, “The average American consumes his weight in sugar every year (152 pounds),” leading to complications such as cavities, mood swings, and weight gain, or to more serious complications such as diabetes. 1 As a result, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the powerful negative affects sugar may have on the physiology and psychology of consumers. In this paper, I will argue that sugar in fact has many drug-like properties that need to be taken into consideration when classifying this substance purely as a food in order to understand the benefits and dangers of sugar to our minds and bodies.
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Lyle, Marie-Hélène (2006). The Reclassification of Sugar as a Drug. Undergraduate Research Journal, 1(1).