Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Are you a sucker for sweets and soda? Learn to break free.

Jan 3, 2003 -- There's no denying that we Americans love our sugary treats. Former President Ronald Reagan had to have jellybeans on his desk at all times. Vending machines in schools, offices, and almost everywhere else feed our desire to eat sweets throughout the day. With sales of sodas, candy, and other sweets soaring, it's clear that, as a nation, we are virtually addicted to sugar in all its glorious forms.

While sugar is not literally addicting, scientists long ago proved that people are born with a preference for sweets. This innate desire does not disappear as we grow older. Some people find it impossible to leave the dinner table without dessert; others can't fathom a day without chocolate. Many women blame hormonal surges for the sweets cravings they get around the same time each month.

The results of this sugar "addiction" are not always so sweet. Sugar and other sweeteners add calories with few other nutrients and have no doubt helped contribute to our near-epidemic of obesity. (Of course, sugar is not alone in promoting obesity -- a lack of exercise and excessive calories from many other sources share the blame.)

Cavities and Calories

Sugar has been blamed for everything from diabetes, tooth decay, obesity, and heart disease to disruptive behavior in the classroom. But sugar by itself will not cause any of these conditions -- except cavities.

"Sweets can definitely increase the risk of [cavities] when the sweetened substances pool around the teeth or sticky sweets adhere to the surface of the tooth," says Atlanta dentist James Sylvan, DDS.

Aside from that, a comprehensive review of scientific research, published in the journal Nutrition Research in 1997, showed that sugar is not a direct cause of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or hyperactivity. A more recent government report concurs that sugar is not by itself linked to any of those conditions. However, too many calories, in any form, can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

The Blood-Sugar Roller Coaster

Changes in our behavior are often attributed to changes in our blood sugar levels. When you consume a meal made up of simple, refined carbohydrates -- like a doughnut or a soft drink -- the result is a spike in blood sugar. Your body responds to this spike by secreting large amounts of insulin to normalize your blood sugar level.

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...