Tobacco vs. Sugar - Which Poses the Greater Health Risk?

The Parallels of Tobacco and Sugar – Which is more Deadly?

Cigarettes: 

Initially, people didn’t know that cigarettes were bad for their health. Because people didn’t feel pain or sickness after smoking just a few cigarettes, no one suspected tobacco of inflicting any hazardous effects on the body and so it took years for doctors to associate cigarettes with bad lungs and cancer. In fact, people loved cigarettes because they made them calm and relieved stress, and many doctors promoted their use for these reasons. What?! Years later cigarette smokers have faced the harmful truths of smoking, and they are now forced to deal with multiple health problems. Sadly, even with undisputed data and statistics proving the ills of tobacco, many are unable to quit because of the addictive nature of nicotine. This substance stimulates dopamine in the brain which stimulates pleasurable sensations that induce a vicious cycle of cravings.

Sugar:

It may come in the innocent form of Little Debby cakes and gummy bears, but this sweet substance can be every bit as poisonous as smoking cigarettes. Sugar is everywhere and is nearly impossible to avoid. Even if you try to avoid the obvious foods such as candy, chocolate, cake and brownies, you will still find hidden sugars in our regular foods such as smoothies, yogurt, bread, and ketchup. Our society has unknowingly let this sweet killer take over our lives. A study done by the University of Florida shows that sugar can be as addictive as nicotine and cocaine. Just like cigarettes, the more our bodies consume sugar the more we crave it. Every day we crave sugar and are consuming more than we need, on average adults are eating twice the recommended daily amount.

Deadliest?

Now let’s examine which is the more notorious killer of the two. Cigarettes are linked to lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and myriad other conditions. Using world-wide figures the deaths from cigarettes number about 5 million per year. Sugar can lead to obesity which causes 17 million deaths per year. Sugar is also responsible for other diseases such as, heart disease and diabetes. Using just conservative data figures, sugar is most likely responsible for three times more deaths than cigarettes. Sugar is a true silent killer, and like cigarettes we can’t shake the sugar because the harmful effects are not immediately observable, unless diabetes or another blood sugar condition is present. Today our society has realized the harmful effects of cigarettes, but we have yet to realize the harmful effects of sugar. We see ourselves making the same mistake with sugar as we did with cigarettes. Can we stop this killer before it’s too late?

This article originally appeared on the Lakanto Blog on Feb. 8, 2017.