Are Sodas Addictive?

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Soft drinks include caffeine as well as sugars. Addiction researchers note that even small amounts of caffeine make people feel more alert, energetic, and cheerful and can induce symptoms of dependence in susceptible individuals. In laboratory animals and in some people, caffeine and sugars independently encourage habitual daily use and induce symptoms of dependence and withdrawal. It remains an open question whether sugars and caffeine, alone or together, are addictive in the usual sense—inducing cravings, an inability to stop the craving, and intense discomfort when the craved substance is unavailable. Addictive or not, health advice to consume sodas only in moderation makes good sense. See addiction.