Sugar is a Recreational Drug

I just finished a piece on cravings for the Sam’s Club newsletter that will be coming out in June, and here’s what I learned while doing the research for it: Sugar is a recreational drug. And now I’m going to prove it.

Pretty much everybody trained in medicine and related professions knows about the CAGE questionnaire. The CAGE questionnaire is a way to determine if someone may have a drinking problem. It’s not yes or no, all or nothing, but it is suggestive, and the more questions you answer as “yes,” the more likely it is that you have a problem with alcohol. This questionnaire has been validated thousands of times, and there is little or no question about its usefulness.

Here are the four simple questions that comprise the CAGE questionnaire:
.Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
.Have you ever felt angry at someone for suggesting you may be drinking too much?
.Have you ever felt guilty about how much you are drinking?
.Have you ever felt the need for a drink first thing in the morning (eyeopener) to help get you moving?

Feel free to ask yourself these questions, and then discuss your results with someone who cares about you if there were any “yes’s,” especially to more than one question. Lots of people drink alcohol, and the many who do so without issue generally answer with four “no’s.

Now let’s talk about sugar. If sugar is a recreational drug, then we should be able to apply these same questions to our intake of candy, sweet cereals, soda, muffins, cookies, cake, pie, and so forth. So let’s see what that looks like.

  1. Have you ever felt that you should cut down your sugar intake? If we’re really being honest with ourselves, then we’ll say this: who hasn’t?
  2. Have you ever felt angry at someone for suggesting you’re eating too much sugar? Like, has anyone ever asked if you were pregnant when you weren’t? Or has anyone ever commented on your weight? Or treated you unfairly because of it? Or intimated that you are overweight, or even said you were getting too fat!?!
  3. Have you ever felt guilty about how much sugar you’re eating? Have you ever taken one more cookie when no one was looking? Or hidden some candy for later?
  4. Have you ever felt like eating something sweet first thing in the morning to get your day started? The typical American breakfast (pancakes, waffles, breakfast “cereals,” muffins, breakfast bars, fruit juices) is packed with sugar.

I’m pretty sure the vast majority of America has a sugar addiction. That’s what I think. What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Sugar is a Recreational Drug

  1. Yep. If I have a savory meal I always think, now what small sweet thing can I have?

    When I have something sweet, I think one more or some more. Yep, I am addicted but I’m working to curb that problem due to type 2 diabetes, but not on meds for 18 months since first diagnosed. No weight problem, but definitely an “I-want-something-sweet” problem.



  2. I couldn’t agree more! I find it very difficult to have only one piece of cake, or one cookie….feel guilty after I do, and promise myself i will try harder! Ugh a vicious cycle!


  3. Guilty as charged. Ugh. How do we curb these cravings? I’ve heard over and over that sugar cravings are a sign you don’t have enough protein in your diet. Fact or fiction? Help.


    • Well, I’m not sure whether or not that is true. But it is probably true that not being hungry at all helps you pass up sweets sometimes, if you’re lucky. So one way to reduce hunger is by being well nourished, and protein certainly helps with that. Thank you for reading YHIOYP!


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