There’s always new information coming out on eating and weight. Here’s recent evidence which indicates that sugar might very well might be addictive. Study Suggests Sugar May be Addictive, by Amanda Gardner. Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 (Health Day News) -- Science is verifying what many overeaters have suspected for a long time: sugar can be addictive. In fact, the sweetener seems to prompt the same chemical changes in the brain seen in people who abuse drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology's annual meeting, in Nashville.
The stages of addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, include bingeing, withdrawal and craving. For the new research, rats were denied food for 12 hours a day, then were given access to food and sugar (25 percent glucose and 10 percent sucrose, similar to a soft drink) for 12 hours a day, for three to four weeks. The bingeing released a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine each time in the part of the brain involved in reward, the nucleus accumbens. "It's been known that drugs of abuse release or increase the levels of dopamine in that part of the brain," Hoebel said. But it wasn't only the sugar that caused this effect, Hoebel explained -- it was the sugar combined with the alternating schedule of deprivation and largesse (emphasis mine). After three weeks, the rats showed signs of withdrawal similar to those seen when people stop smoking or drinking alcohol or using morphine.
The scientists next blocked the animals' brain endorphins and found withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, behavioral depression and a drop in dopamine levels. In other words, they confirmed a neurochemical link with the rats' behavior. But longer periods of abstinence didn't "cure” the rats. Instead, there were long-lasting effects with the animals: They ingested more sugar than before, as if they were craving the substance and, without sugar, they drank more alcohol. The researchers speculated that some of these brain changes may also occur in people with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, although more research needs to be done to confirm the effects in humans(emphasis mine). "Some say it's easy to lose weight -- you just have to shut your mouth, stop eating so much," Aronne said. "I tell them a good way to overcome global warming is if people made less carbon dioxide by breathing less. Obviously, that's absurd. You can't do it because you feel uncomfortable. "The same thing is true of eating," he added. "Fattening food has an impact on the regulating mechanism that breaks down your sense of fullness, makes you feel an urge to go back and get that blast of sugar and this creates the vicious cycle of weight gain that we're going through."
Food for thought, huh?
Normal Eating web site
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