Sugar Addiction is Real

Sugar addictionNovember 25th, 2009 –There is more to your sweet tooth than simply enjoying the taste of sugary foods. You can become high on sugar, and eventually addicted.

Recreational drugs and simple carbohydrates like those found in sugary comfort foods are both involved in the reward mechanisms of the mesolimbic dopamine system and the nucleus accumbens (a collection of neurons in the brain involved in reward and pleasure). (1) Stimulation of dopamine and the reward/pleasure center in the brain lead to cravings and feelings of addiction. Once youíre hooked, regular or non-sugary foods donít have the same dopamine response, and thus leave you feeling unsatisfied. (1)

With frequent, repeated exposure to sugar, feelings of satiety decrease, meaning it takes more sugary food and a longer period of time for you to feel satisfied. (2)

Like drugs, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it, and the more it takes for you to feel satisfied (3). It ís a vicious cycle, and something to think about the next time you find yourself staring down a pint of Ben & Jerryís.

References –

1. Deficits of mesolimbic dopamine neurotransmission in rat dietary obesity.
Geiger BM, et al.
Neuroscience. 2009 Apr 10;159(4):1193-9. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

2. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell.
Rada P, et la.
Neuroscience. 2005;134(3):737-44

3. Accumbens dopamine-acetylcholine balance in approach and avoidance
Bartley G Hoebel, et al.
Current Opinion in Pharmacology Volume 7, Issue 6, December 2007, Pages 617-627

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