When the expose and documentary Food Inc. was released in 2009 it raised controversy over the use of genetically modified organisms in food production. In the last 7 years, there has been a global movement banning the likes of GMO conglomerates Monsanto from production. Legislations have passed demanding that labeling regulations include highlighting foods as genetically modified. The documentary inspired growth in the movement for organics and local eating. Essentially, it changed a worldwide view on food.
Today, the world’s eyes are fixing on another hidden ingredient: sugar. Soon, regulation will be passing in multiple countries to include “added sugar” on nutrition labels. Until now, sugar has just been listed as sugar, without any law stating that extra sugar needs to be listed.
Just the last few years have seen multiple documentaries about the sugar industry and a hidden conspiracy for getting people addicted to food:
- The Truth About Sugar
- Fed Up
- Sugar Coated
- The Secrets of Sugar
- That Sugar Film
- The Bitter Truth About Sugar
- Sugar Blues
Books like Pure, White, and Deadly have outlined how addictive and prevalent sugar is in a daily diet. Scientific research has consistently proven that sugar acts similarly to cocaine in the brain. Watch any child eat a sugary treat and witness the roller coaster ride of a “sugar high”. After erratic and hyperactive behavior, a child crashes, usually into tears of exhaustion. Essentially, the aftermath of consuming sugar is sugar withdrawals. Children experience headaches, nausea and extreme irritability after a sugar high. Most similarly to addiction, children also experience instantaneous cravings for more sugar. Pull any child away from their favorite cereals, candy bars, or sweet treat and witness behavior similar to a heroin addict who cannot locate their next dose of dope.
Simply regarding sugar as an addiction is not sufficient to remedying the problematic nature of how addictive sugar is. New research suggests treating sugar addiction like any other addiction. One treatment proposition: nicotine treatment. Champix, or, Chantix, are the brand names for varenicline, a supplement used to treat nicotine addiction. By stimulating a small amount of production in the body’s natural nicotine receptors, varenicline reduces cravings for nicotine. It also reduces cravings for sugar.
Like any addiction, simple abstinence is not enough. Sugar is everywhere, even hidden in everyday foods like chicken broth. Finding alternative methods of treatment for sugar addiction can mean giving people with food addictions greater toolboxes for recovery.