Fake News: Sugar Is NOT 8 Times More Addictive Than Cocaine

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

A video/infographic on the Facebook page of David "Advocado" Wolfe claims that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine and quotes "Dr. Mark Hyman" as saying "And What's interesting is while cocaine and heroin activate only one spot for pleasure in the brain, sugar lights up the brain like a pinball machine."

The pinball machine quote is not even rendered accurately. On the website of Dr. Hyman (archived here) it is written like this:

And what's even more interesting is that while cocaine and heroin activate only one spot for pleasure in the brain, sugar lights up the brain like a pinball machine!

But what is more relevant the quote is pulled out of context since it is not even speaking about human brains. It occurs in the context of several paragraphs discussing a 2007 study that was done on rats which showed rats preferred getting sweetened water over cocaine injections when given the choice. But that study never claimed sugar was eight times as addictive as cocaine. It also didn't matter if the water was sweetened with actual sugar or with artificial sweeteners, it seems like it was the sweetness overall that influenced the preference of the rats in the experiment, not the presence of actual sugar.


We haven't been able to locate any other scientific evidence about the relative addictiveness of sugar vs. cocaine so we are going to go ahead and rate this claim false. Despite the total lack of evidence the video has been shared over 300,000 times which possibly proves that online nonsense can be quite addictive as well, although we'll wait for experiments on rats before jumping to conclusions on that.

  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion