Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review

  title={Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review},
  author={James J. DiNicolantonio and James H. O’Keefe and William L. Wilson},
  journal={British Journal of Sports Medicine},
  pages={910 - 913}
In animal studies, sugar has been found to produce more symptoms than is required to be considered an addictive substance. Animal data has shown significant overlap between the consumption of added sugars and drug-like effects, including bingeing, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, cross-sensitisation, cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward and opioid effects. Sugar addiction seems to be dependence to the natural endogenous opioids that get released upon sugar intake. In both animals and humans… 

Sugars and Sweet Taste: Addictive or Rewarding?

A focused narrative review of literature related to the reward value of sweet taste which suggests that reward value can be confounded with the construct of “addictive potential” and questions the applicability of the addiction construct to human over-eating behaviors.

Pure, white and deadly: sugar addiction and the cultivation of urgency

ABSTRACT Sugar is supplanting fat as public health enemy number one and is increasingly described in terms of addiction, particularly in relation to obesity. Drawing on newspaper reporting of sugar

A High-Sugar Diet Consumption, Metabolism and Health Impacts with a Focus on the Development of Substance Use Disorder: A Narrative Review

How HSD enhances impulsive behaviour, stress, anxiety and depression is presented, as well as how added sugar in foods and the impacts of glucose and fructose on the development of substance use disorder (SUD) and on the behavioural predictors of drugs abuse are presented.

Net gain and loss: influence of natural rewards and drugs of abuse on perineuronal nets

Light is shed on the complex way perineuronal nets are regulated by natural rewards and drugs and a need for future studies to delineate the molecular mechanisms that underlie the modification and maintenance of PNNs following exposure to rewarding stimuli is highlighted.

The Western diet: a blind spot of eating disorder research?—a narrative review and recommendations for treatment and research

A paradigm shift is needed in the conceptual framework by which the vulnerability to, and maintenance of, different eating disorders may be understood, by integrating recent knowledge of the individual metabolic responses to modern highly processed foods into existing psychological models.

Finding the Sweet Spot: Measurement, Modification, and Application of Sweet Hedonics in Humans

Understanding how to measure the appeal of sweetness and how to modify it are key to effecting dietary change for health, and further exploration of current hypothesized approaches to moderate sugar intake is warranted.

The role of sugar-sweetened beverages in the global epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases

An update on the evidence linking SSBs to obesity, cardiometabolic outcomes and related cancers, as well as methods to grade the strength of nutritional research are provided, considering the evidence, potential mechanisms and policy actions to reduce the global intake of SSBs.

Varied levels of fructose consumption induce physiological, cognitive, and mitochondrial alterations in aged female rats

These findings largely stem from the outcomes of studies on cognition, both in humans and rats, assessing the extent to which fructose consumption alters cognitive flexibility.



Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit

Overall, this research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive.

Sugars: hedonic aspects, neuroregulation, and energy balance.

How sugars interact with regulatory neurochemicals in the brain to affect both energy intake and energy expenditure is discussed and the relation between sweet taste and drug reward is investigated, although the relevance to humans is unclear.

Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Modulators Reduce Sugar Intake

It is reported that varenicline, an FDA-approved nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) partial agonist that modulates dopamine in the mesolimbic reward pathway of the brain, significantly reduces sucrose consumption, especially in a long-term consumption paradigm.

Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence.

Repeated, excessive intake of sugar created a state in which an opioid antagonist caused behavioral and neurochemical signs of opioid withdrawal, suggesting that the rats had become sugar-dependent.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Is it time to Reappraise the Role of Sugar Consumption?

The hypothesis that the chronic effects of excessive sugar intake may lead to alterations in mesolimbic dopamine signaling, which could contribute to the symptoms associated with ADHD is revisited.

Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward

It is clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals.

Can food be addictive? Public health and policy implications.

Although there exist important differences between foods and addictive drugs, ignoring analogous neural and behavioral effects of foods and drugs of abuse may result in increased food-related disease and associated social and economic burdens.

Sugar and fat: cravings and aversions.

  • S. Yanovski
  • Psychology, Medicine
    The Journal of nutrition
  • 2003
There is some evidence that sweet, high fat foods are preferred by women with binge-eating disorders and that those preferences are mediated by the endogenous opioid system.