Is sugar really as addictive as cocaine and other drugs? Just how addictive is sugar? These questions have been buzzing for years.

In the 1960s, the idea of healthy food consumption was still novel. The understanding that fats affect our risk of heart disease was also new; public consciousness was not yet centered on the effects of fats and sugars on our bodies and overall health. Since the 1960s, however, numerous independent and peer-reviewed studies have concluded that sugar consumption is a substantial component when it comes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The sugar industry denies all such claims.

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[DIGEST: Scientific American, The Guardian, Newsweek]

With doctors around the country searching for treatment options for the more than one-third of Americans categorized as obese, new research suggests the answer might be hidden inside our bodies: the microbes living in our digestive systems. Bacterial cells outnumber human cells ten to one, with the largest and most diverse populations living in our mouths and large intestines.  Numerous studies have investigated the link between obesity and the diversity of bacteria residing in the gut, and while the research is still in early stages, scientists have been intrigued by their findings.

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