Friday, August 9, 2013

Sugar is addictive

While the American Medical Association (AMA) moves to have obesity classified as a disease, thus paving the way for treatment via surgery, drugs and/or vaccination (!) the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition publishes a paper showing that refined carbohydrate foods (high glycemic, high sugar) stimulate the pleasure centre in the brain. 

According to the researchers “Compared with an iso-caloric low-GI meal, a high-glycemic index meal decreased plasma glucose, increased hunger, and selectively stimulated brain regions associated with reward and craving in the late postprandial period, which is a time with special significance to eating behavior at the next meal.”

The production of dopamine and opioid substances is akin to the way drugs such as cocaine work and just like the substances that we more commonly associate with addiction, so too refined carbohydrates are truly addictive. What’s more (but hardly surprising) those processed carbs act in exactly the same way as cocaine and heroin, producing tolerance and withdrawal. In other words, prolonged exposure requires more frequent and/or ever larger doses to satisfy the cravings! 

No wonder a staggering two thirds of Americans are now overweight and one in four is either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Add to that the fact that all those glucose-metabolism-impaired individuals are likely to experience a degree of cognitive decline and Professor Louise Dye’s contention that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb is a serious understatement.

Then the research showing that a maternal diet, high in fat and sugar is likely to increase the likelihood of offspring who abuse alcohol and drugs makes me more determined than ever to see Healthy Parents Healthy Baby education and program become readily accessible and widely available to all prospective parents.

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