10 Myths About Sugar

People Can Easily Limit Sugar Intake
Chained to cupcakes? Sugar can be as addictive as drugs. Tijana87/iStock/Thinkstock

OK, we need to eat less sugar. No problem. We'll just stop eating dessert, eschew the doughnuts brought in by our colleague and pass on the Halloween candy. But -- argh! -- why is it so hard? Are we weak-willed babies or what? Sugar is actually an addictive substance. Animal studies show sugar consumption causes bingeing, withdrawal and craving. Regularly eating sugar also makes it easier to become addicted to another drug. When humans were studied, consuming fructose (a form of sugar) caused the brain's reward center to light up. However, much like a drug, over time the subjects needed to consume more and more fructose for the reward center to light up as brightly [source: Lustig].

Additional research shows sugar and sweetness can actually be more addictive, rewarding and attractive than drugs such as cocaine. Seems a bit preposterous, but a possible explanation, say scientists, is humankind's past evolutionary need to eat foods high in calories and sugar [source: Ahmed et al.].

Another problem: Sugar is added to more products than you might think – it's in ketchup, instant oatmeal and spaghetti sauce, for starters.