Devouring a Boston cream donut and hoovering a fresh line off the naked ass of your fun-time buddy are both as decadent as they are self-destructive — but which one is worse for you?

Let’s get one thing straight before we start: both cocaine and sugar will gladly off you by heart-death. Neither is really "safe."

Out of the roughly 2.6 million deaths a year, heart disease is the number one killer. According to the CDC, about 610,000 people die of cardiovascular disease every year in the states, and about 735,000 unlucky Americans will have a heart attack.

That means there’s a 1 in 4 chance your shitty heart will kill you.

That also means — to answer the question of whether sugar or cocaine is worse — we really have to ask which is worse for your heart.


Cocaine is a vasoconstrictor, which just means that it makes your heart pump really fast and narrows your blood vessels. Picture putting a knot in a garden hose and then opening the pressure valve all the way and you’ve got an idea of what we’re talking about.

The extra vascular stress can actually cause micro-lacerations on your heart muscles, which of course grow more severe over time, eventually turning into scar tissue when you get older. The less-flexible scar tissue makes your heart have work harder to pump blood, which any trained medical professional will tell you is a recipe for heart attack.

Cocaine also increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which is when the walls of your arteries begin to get thick and hard, due to a lack of oxygenated passing through them. It’s rumored that’s how Whitney Houston died.

Perhaps it’s no wonder then a few years ago, researchers named coke “the perfect heart attack drug” when they found regular users had a 30-35 percent increase in aortic stiffening and higher blood pressure, as well as an 18 percent greater thickness of the heart’s left ­ventricle wall.

Together, these symptoms can be deadly … but just how deadly? There isn’t a ton of data on deaths attributed solely to cocaine use out there (cocaine is often mixed with alcohol or opioids so it can be hard to determine which did the damage); one statistic from the National Institute of Health places it at 8,000 deaths from cocaine alone in 2015, a 1.6 fold increase from 2010. Aside from that, there isn’t really much data on non-celebrity cocaine-related deaths, but let’s just say it's certainly not doing your heart any favors by doing the best Wolf of Wall Street impression on the weekends.

After all, a 1 in 4 chance is worse then your odds playing Russian Roulette. Any way you can take more bullets out of the gun is a win.

But we’re not here to be a Florence Nightingale. We don’t want to harsh your buzz. We just want to know — is sugar worse? Quite possibly.


The World Health Organization recently advised for every man, woman and child halve their sugar intake because it’s slowly killing all of us. Soft drinks alone kill almost 200,000 people in a year … way more than cocaine.

Sugar of course,leads to obesity, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, sugar-mediated obesity can also give you type 2 diabetes and even causes some cancers.  As cancer is the #2 killer in the United States, right under heart disease, that should be enough to kick cocaine right of the podium.

Last year, weight-loss expert Dr. Sally Norton actually compared sugar to crack cocaine while speaking about the level of addiction and “high” we get from consuming sugar — and how similar it is to crack. Worse, the fatter sugar makes us, the more we crave sugar, and the less satiated we feel from its effects. Just like with drugs, we need more … except drugs (typically) don’t make you bulbous.

One documentary released last year also asserted that sugar is toxic due to its it’s role in fatty liver disease, and that the increase in consumption of sugar since the 1950s could be attributed to today’s heart disease epidemic.

But perhaps the most dangerous realization about sugar’s relative danger compared to cocaine is the fact that you can choose to do cocaine. You can’t always choose not to have sugar. The stuff is so insidiously ingrained into our diet that even if we try our hardest to avoid it, there’s a good chance we’re still ingesting way more of it than we should.

So, if you want to keep your casual weekend coke habit, it might be a good idea to lower your odds of fucking your heart in the ass by cutting out sugar when and where you can, because you just … can’t … avoid it.

All this makes it a bit ironic that cocaine is an illegal narcotic, no? Meanwhile, sugar, which is infinitely more dangerous for you, and is in fucking everything.

At the same time, we’re all going to bite it eventually, and everything fun we do is basically ruining us for old age, so you might as well live a little until then. We're not saying partake irresponsibly in either, just know that having a donut every day is probably just as bad, if not worse than a weekend flight.

[originally published November 16, 2018]