"Weakly" addictive

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I wrote previously about a pair of podcasts that Kelly Brownell and Robert Lustig did back in April, but I wanted to take up another point Lustig raised.

He characterized processed sugar as mildly addictive, compared to cocaine and heroin as examples of highly addictive substances, and to tobacco as an example of a moderately addictive substance. That fits with my experience specifically (though I've never used heroin) and my observation generally. The point isn't whether they bring the same intensity, but whether they produce the phenomenon of craving in some people, and that the certainly do.

I liked Lustig's next point even more, that what refined sugar may lack in addiction potential, it makes up in ubiquity. Societally, we've curtailed access to the other substances because we've concluded that, collectively, we're better off that way.

We're probably years from doing that around refined sugar, but I do expect that time to come. No, I don't think you'll only be able to get it by prescription, but I do expect some forms of regulation to arise from the now-certain understanding we now have that refined sugar is unhealthful, especially in the manner and volume it is spoon-fed to us.


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