The New York Times Science section last week carried an utterly unscientific essay on the “sugar habit,” heavy on anecdote and light on analysis, that used “addict” terms regarding sugar that tend to be reserved for illegal drugs like heroin. Hubert Herring writes: “Alcohol and drug addiction are starker threats, but with the dismayingly sharp rise in obesity and related maladies, sugar abuse is no joke… If I have a cookie, I want another, and another… For years, I tried. That’s the nature of this beast.”



While Herring leans on dubious theories that “sugar is a drug,” he says himself that he “had no withdrawal symptoms” when he cut down on sugar consumption. He reports that “many experts pooh-pooh the idea of sugar addiction,” citing Columbia University’s Dr. B. Timothy Walsh, who says it is “hard to conceive of an ‘addiction’ to a chemical that occurs naturally in all of us.”



The National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) has exposed the “use of misinformation about sugar” as “a favorite practice of food quacks.” NCAHF reports: “A recent look at the diets of Americans finds that there is little difference in the quality of diets among those eating more or less added sugars… Sugar is not inherently a dietary villain.”