I don’t know about you, but it bothers me a lot when the media makes assumptions about things that have no basis in truth. It also bothers me when big news doesn’t get the coverage it deserves.
That’s why the whole “bath salts killer zombie attack” really annoyed me when the story broke.
Officials were quick to condemn this new drug without any evidence that it was in any way linked to the attack.
Clearly, this was just a scare story. Of course, our face-eater tested negative for all drugs other than marijuana.
What if I were to tell you there is a substance which has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine, but can be found in all of our kitchens?
Not only that, but it is responsible for huge amounts of disease in our bodies?
Perhaps worst of all, this substance is one that we are actively encouraged to consume!
Well, you might be a little upset, right?
So am I.
Here are four reasons why sugar, particularly from soft drinks, is worse for you than bath salts. (Disclaimer: I’m NOT encouraging you to try bath salts. But I definitely am encouraging you to consume less sugar.)
1. Sweet Flavors Are More Rewarding Than Cocaine.
According to this study, 94% of rats preferred the sweetness of saccharin (an artificial sweetener) over the euphoria of cocaine.
This majority held even when sucrose, a sugar, replaced saccharin in the experiment. And it held even when the rats were already addicted to cocaine!
That’s right, rats who were fiending for their next fix of that nose candy were able to decide that they would rather have sweetened water than another dose of cocaine.
It’s not like cravings for carbohydrates are anything new.
And if this didn’t seem absurd enough already, high sugar intake has effects in the brain that mimic drugs of abuse! Excessive sugar intake altered dopamine and mu-opiod receptors in the brain.
None of this is to say bath salts aren’t addictive.
I’d be willing to bet they are.
But cocaine is considered one of the most addictive substances out there, and there is no evidence to say bath salts are more addictive than cocaine.
So unless we have a rock-paper-scissor situation going on here, it seems sugar is probably more addictive than bath salts.
2. Soft Drinks Will Rot Your Teeth.
Although many factors go into your oral health, a high frequency of sugar consumption is associated with an increase in dental caries.
You see, bacteria in your mouth are just as addicted to that sugar as you are. So they just love it when you guzzle that soda, because now they can use it to reproduce in your mouth, eating away at your teeth.
And all that microscopic love-making can cause cause quite a stink, too.
As of me writing this post, there is no evidence suggesting bath salt drugs harm your teeth.
To be fair, there is no evidence saying they clean your teeth either.
But I’m expecting to hear that bath salts clean your teeth, do your laundry, and make you more attractive any day now.
We do know that a drug that is chemically related to these bath salts, aka methamphetamine, can cause horrible, disgusting things to happen to your mouth (“meth-mouth”).
This happens to users who smoke their methamphetamine, but not those who consume it in other ways.
Most likely if you take your bath salts in a way not involving a crack pipe, you won’t ruin your mouth.
Soda is not so forgiving.
3. High Soft Drink Intake Will Make You Obese.
Or at least it will make you more likely to become obese. And get diabetes.
When you consume calories in liquid form, your body doesn’t even seem to register that you consumed anything, so you don’t get any less hungry.
The high sugar content in soft drinks leads to a spike in the production of insulin in your body.
Insulin helps remove the excess sugar from your blood and shuttle it into other cells, like muscle cells…or fat cells.
The thing is, your body starts getting accustomed to high levels of insulin in your blood from constant consumption of carbohydrates, and you become “insulin resistant”.
This is bad.
It means you need even more insulin to flush the sugar from your blood, and there is no way in hell you are going to be burning fat when you have loads of insulin floating around.
So how do bath salts compare?
Well, one of the very common side effects of their consumption is a decrease in appetite.
Hmm….are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Someone should be getting rich of the Bath Salt Diet. I’m just imagining it now. “Slim down quick with the face-eating zombie diet! We’ll show you how to lose 10 pounds in one week eating nothing but human faces!”
4. Soft Drinks Can Destroy Your Brain And Nervous System.
According to a new UCLA rat study, diets containing large quantities of fructose (found in large amounts in soda as high fructose corn syrup) can disrupt memory and learning.
It’s probably not as big of a deal if you get your fructose from fruit, because fruits contain protective antioxidants.
But the high fructose corn syrup in your Mountain Dew is just going to make you stupid, unless you mix in some fish oil for its omega-3’s that prevent the damage.
Sounds like a delicious combination.
If you are unfortunate enough, you might experience glucose neurotoxicity.
In other words, if you have high blood sugar too often or for too long, you’ll start causing some serious damage to your neurons.
“But this only happens to people with diabetes,” you might say.
And how do you think most people get diabetes?
But what about bath salts?
To be honest though, I do have a slight suspicion that rats given bath salts might do worse in a maze than rats given sugar.
I eagerly await research that compares the two.
I hope you realize that the comparison here was largely a joke.
I do not want to hear any stories about people reading this, buying a bunch of bath salts, and then running around naked, screaming, “HEY EVERYONE LOOK HOW HEALTHY I’M BEING!!”
I’m sure many of the drugs sold as bath salts are quite harmful to the body.
Much more research is needed to determine the extent of this.
But it does bother me that a substance that we understand so little gets so much negative attention while another substance with large bodies of evidence proving it’s harmful effects receives large government subsidies.
Take-away Point: Reduce your sugar intake, particularly through soft drinks.
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