Food vs. Drugs
It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that students who attend school in the morning after eating a well balanced meal tend to show signs of being more alert, better focused and have more energy. If this is true, then a question is: how powerful is food? Wikipedia describes food as “any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals.” Many would not consider food to be a drug. A drug however is also a substance that can be consumed in order to affect the body and brain in a powerful way. As we explore the differences of each, it will be revealed to you that there are many similarities. The line that is drawn between food and drugs is that food is intended to provide nutrition whereas a drug is not.
Fast food has grown to be very popular in this country. Many rely on it as a source of food in their daily diets. This is not the kind of food that enhances one’s chances to live a long, healthy life. Most “fast foods” or “junk food” has the ability to fill one’s stomach. What that stomach is being filled with is what could be the matter of life or death. Food can affect a person’s ability to think clearly, make certain decisions and act accordingly. Did you ever think that something as simple as food could have such an affect on a person? The truth is that, many people put things in their mouths without even thinking much about it. You are hungry, therefore you eat. The physical affects are astounding. It is known that if you eat healthy, you feel better and also look better. This is why there are so many diet trends and workout regimens that are making millions in profit. This begs the question, what does it mean to eat healthy? The answer to this question can vary from person to person, depending on where they do their research. Most importantly, it is obvious that by eating certain foods, you will see a difference in how you think and feel.
Let us now take a look at what it means to be a drug. “A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function.” This definition was also from Wikipedia. It does not appear to be very specific, because a drug does not really have a precise definition. By this description, you can see that food could also be in this category. There are two types of drugs: prescriptive drugs and “street drugs.” Both can contain similar or the same ingredients, depending on the purpose. These substances are usually used or consumed in order to poses a specific affect. For example, a doctor may prescribe a certain pain medication to his patient who has just had surgery. The ingredients in this drug are intended to help relieve pain. Illegal drugs or “street drugs” on the other hand are ones not obtained from a medical professional and could have a detrimental affect when taken. From the definition above, it says, “alters normal bodily function.” This is an important piece to consider when comparing food to drugs. “Normal” is something that is different from person to person. When trying to decide what is normal function, the only one to compare to would be the person themselves. This definition looks to be more focused on illegal drugs than medical drugs, because when a person is taking a medical drug, most likely they are already not in their normal state of being.
Chocolate, coffee, tobacco are all food type substances that typically are not looked at as drugs. These substances are all mood altering, as well as physically altering foods. They can and have been thought of as being addicting. In almost all drugs both medical and illegal, addiction is a side affect. So, what makes these types of substances foods rather than drugs? Chocolate, although having similarities to a drug, can also be nutritious. The coco bean ingredient in dark chocolate, when eaten in small amounts has been tested to be good for you. An article found on webmd.com explains that coffee can also have benefits to your health. “A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are: less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia” as well as “have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes.” Most of the time, coffee is looked at as a negative substance in terms of health, due to the caffeine, even though so many of us enjoy at least one cup of coffee on a daily basis. This particular article states otherwise. Tobacco is a substance that is not intended to provide nutrients, therefore would be considered a drug. Tobacco is not proscriptive, nor is it illegal; therefore many individuals do not look at it as a drug. From most research done, tobacco, whether chewed or smoked does not provide any healthy benefits, therefore when looked at in light this determining factor, it is a drug, not a food.
In conclusion, there are many similarities, yet one main difference between food and drugs. The line that is drawn between food and drugs is that food is intended to provide nutrition whereas a drug is not. There are millions of foods that can provide small amounts of nutrition as well as foods that are completely nutritious. If a food type substance has any healthy benefits and nutritional value then it is considered a food; even if that nutritional value is small. If there is no positive benefit, yet shares the likeness to food because it alters the way you think or feel, it is considered a drug. It is important to know the difference and affects of each product you put into your body. Both food and drugs are powerful in the way they can enhance your brain and physical state. It can be confusing at first if you are swayed by the short term affect alone. The long term affect of how healthy your body is due to good foods you put into it and will be the reason your body can live to be the best it can be.
Osterweil, Neil. Coffee and Your Health. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-new-health-food. 29 Aug. 2011. Web. 25 Nov. 2011
Wikipedia. Food. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food. 8 Nov. 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2011
Wikipedia. Drug. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug. 11 Oct. 2011 Web. 24 Nov. 2011