The title question is almost like asking someone would they rather die by a gun or a knife. Both not good.
This post will make the argument that sugar is the deadliest substance available. It is based on accessibility, quantity, cost and addictiveness.
Accessibility- Sugar is everywhere and available to everyone no matter age or socioeconomic status. Children can walk into any store an buy things with sugar in it. Sugar is not prejudice and is available whether you live in depressed neighborhoods or in a wealthy community. In fact, it is probably more available in the depressed communities because of convenient stores and quick stops. The scary part is that is is open season for any age. If my 1 year old knew how to talk she could buy a candy bar.
Quantity- Sugar is in most everything whether you know it or not. Things that you think may be healthy have sugar in it. Breads, natural peanut butter and salad dressings all have some derivative of sugar in its many forms. Then you have the more obvious foods that need not to be mentioned.
Cost- Sugar is cheap. If you went to the store and just wanted to buy a pound of sugar it is only a couple bucks. If you wanted a quick sugar fix candy bars and soda are very cheap at less then a dollar a serving.
Addictiveness- I saved this for last because this is the most eye opening of them all. There was a medical study done that studied the brain’s reaction to sugar and cocaine. It was identical! Yes that’s right our body reacts the same way to sugar as it does cocaine.
Check it out here: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7403942n
The real scary part is that you take all the above, accessibility, quantity and cost and add in the addictiveness on the body and you have a absolute recipe for disaster. Think of all the ways we use sugar in our social life. Birthdays, holidays, desserts for eating well, etc. We use it as a reward. It is like putting crack on the table with a candle and singing happy birthday. Well maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.
Moreover, it gets worse over time because we desensitize ourselves. Sorry dad, but we were out to dinner a month ago when they were in town and we both ordered iced tea. We both reached for the sugar but them he grabbed another one. I said to him, “really another one? I thought you only used one.” he said I started with one then went to one and a half and then I just figured to use the rest. I like it sweet. That is the perfect example of how we get more and more desensitized overtime with it. Not many people I know can have just one piece of Halloween candy, which is a whole other story centering candy as the theme.
Let’s make one thing clear before I conclude, anyone who knows me knows I love the sweets and have a sweet tooth. I am not the guy that is eating wheat grass all day long. I love my desserts. I am just like most of all of you reading this. I am writing this in hopes that you look at the foods in your house and really sift through the junk and even check out what you think is healthy and make sure it does not have any derivates of sugar in it. That way if you do splurge it is not daily. It is once in a while and you keep the sugar to a minimum. I like to use the 5 gram rule. If it has more than 5 grams of sugar per serving it is no good.