Many people claim they’re “chocoholics,” or they feel they have a sugar addiction because they have an insatiable sweet tooth. Do they lack discipline, or are they truly addicted to candy and desserts? Princeton researcher Dr. Bart Hoebel – in a paper presented at the American Psychological Society annual meeting – found rats that were fed a steady diet of sugar had altered brains that made them crave sweets. (Sugar causes the brain to release opioids and dopamine, which cause pleasure and arousal). This increased the size of brain receptors for these feel-good chemicals and made the brain dependent on sugar. Addicted rats deprived of sugar showed signs of withdrawal, such as teeth chattering, nervousness and shrieking. The rats binged on the sugar when it was restored to them. Taste, rather than calories, seems to trigger addiction, because rats could also get hooked on saccharin, an artificial sweetener. The scientists speculated that food itself might be addictive for some people, which could explain, at least in part, the obesity epidemic.
Inspire to Aspire,