Processed Foods vs Cocaine: Which Is More Addictive?

2 Mins Read

Last week, Green Queen shared 10 reasons why readers should avoid sugar as much as possible in their diet. One of the reasons mentioned was that sugar follows the same pathways in our brains as heroin does. The shocking article Fatty Foods Addictive Like Cocaine in Growing Body of Scientific Research published on Bloomberg News a few days makes the same point, only with even more emphasis. This article is a must-read. Below, some of its worrying highlights: 

  • “sugary drinks and fatty foods can produce addictive behavior in animals”
  • “food companies may face the most drawn-out consumer safety battle since the anti-smoking movement”
  • “moderate obesity reduces life expectancy by two to four years, while severe obesity shortens life expectancy by as much as 10 years”
  • “consumption of large quantities of those processed foods may be changing the way the brain is wired”
  • “a career of overeating causes blunted reward receipt, and this is exactly what you see with chronic drug abuse”
  • “a 2007 French experiment stunned researchers when it showed that rats prefer water sweetened with saccharine or sugar to hits of cocaine “
It is hard to remember today that once upon a time, cigarette smoking was encouraged and celebrated. Today we encourage and celebrate sugary and fatty foods consumption. While it may seem that health topics are dominated the media, the fact is that companies like Coke, PepsiCo and Kraft continue to dominated the earnings headlines. These companies are successful due in part to massive advertising and marketing budgets; mostly, they exceed shareholder expectations because we the general public continue to vote with our wallets and put that CocaCola/Pepsi/Orea in our mouth. Food for thought?
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photo credit: ubiquity_zh via photopin cc


  • Sonalie Figueiras

    2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software. In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds.

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