Are you a sugar addict? Scientists say high fructose corn syrup is as addictive as cocaine – but you may not even know you’re eating it
Canadian researchers have found that high-fructose corn syrup can cause behavioral reactions in rats ‘similar to those produced by drugs of abuse, such as cocaine’.
Professor Francesco Leri of the University of Guelph, who carried out the research, said it suggested there was an addictive quality to foods that contain high levels of high-fructose corn syrup which could explain, at least partly, the current global obesity epidemic.
During the experiment, rats were fed foods containing varying levels of high-fructose corn syrup. They were then given access to a lever which controlled how much syrup they received. The more concentrated the syrup, the harder the rats worked to obtain it.
‘We have evidence in laboratory animals of a shared vulnerability to develop preferences for sweet foods and for cocaine,’ said Professor Leri, an addiction expert.
‘There is now convincing neurobiological and behavioural evidence indicating that addiction to food is possible.’