Boston, MA

Scientists- Your brain reacts to sugar like cocaine: Putting Boston's sugar culture under a microscope

Probiotic Dan
Sweet confectionaries on displayPhoto byFilterGradeonUnsplash

Actually, this is not a new revelation. For the past two or three decades the scientific community has remained adamant by providing evidence that our brains respond to sugar the same way they would to cocaine and other addictive substances.

Researchers have enough evidence of the neurochemical effects of considerable sugar consumption, and their behavioral impacts. In fact, one group of scientists went as far as declaring that “Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward”.

So, what does this mean for Boston’s love affair with sugar?

Boston’s Has a Long History with Sugar

Boston, a city with a rich history and many different cultures, has long embraced a love affair with sugar. As noted by the Harvard Department of History, the city's love of sweets has been a fundamental part of its culinary identity since the 18th century, when it played a significant role in the American sugar trade.

Over time, sugar has braided its way into Bostonians' hearts and taste senses through legendary foods like the Boston cream pie and the famed Fenway Franks. Simply put, Boston is unapologetically in love with the sweet.

Does This Put Bostonians at Par with Drug Addicts?

First of all, research shows that eating sugar causes a flood of the pleasure neurotransmitter dopamine to be released by our brain's reward system. Basically, your brain will experience a similar dopamine rush when you use hard drugs. Hence, the comparison between sugar and cocaine.

Here is where American cities with a deep sugar culture such as Boston find themselves at crossroads. For one, the city cannot afford to keep ignoring the science community’s continued claims about sugar.

Striking the Balance

Therefore, even though the city wants to continue taking pride in its sugar-rich traditions, a growing "sugar-conscious" movement is emerging. The aim of this movement is to strike a balance between indulgence and health.

The first case of this movement came more than a decade ago when Mayor Menino banned “sugary drink sales on Boston City property”. Since then, this sugar conscious movement has continued to pursue diverse actions in regard to avoiding sugar as an addictive substance.

As Bostonians embrace innovative alternatives and awareness campaigns, it seems that the awareness of sugar as an addictive substance is already here. However, instead of obliterating the sugar culture, Boston is doing a good job of evolving it into a blend of cherished heritage and mindful choices for a sweeter, healthier future!

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