A new study has shown a relation between sugar and addiction. This study, conducted at Princeton University, has found evidence of how sugar affects brain functions the same way as cocaine and heroin do. Bart Hoebel, Princeton psychology professor, conducted this research by examining how sugar effects the brains of rats. The researchers were able to find that a sugar binge alters brain function and fuels the desire for more sweets. These alterations closely resemble the functions of a brain addicted to cocaine or heroin. When sugar was denied, the same withdrawal psychological and physical symptoms were seen in the sugar deprived rats just like the cocaine and heroin deprived rats.A simple breakdown:
First, the rats experienced the sugar high. The same feel-good rush drug addicts crave (due to the release or increase in the neurotransmitter in the brain)
Next comes withdrawal. Anxiety, chattering teeth, desire for isolation, refusal to participate in everyday activities. (Symptoms of sugar deprivation closely mimic withdrawal symptoms people experience when drugs, tobacco, and alcohol are withheld.)
Some people are capable of consuming a sweet every now and then or even once a day without experiencing a deep craving for one the rest of the day (or for a few days). However, for many people, this is not the case. These “sugar-holics” can try a few of these tips to help curb their cravings.
- Try not to eat sweets first thing in the morning. People that do have a much harder time controlling their sweet tooth the rest of the day.
- Eating protein and vegetables in the mornings has shown to help to minimize cravings for sweets for the rest of the day.
- Minimize temptation, do not purchase candy, baked goods, or any other sweets when grocery shopping. If you don’t put them in your house, you’re less likely to eat them (because you will have to get back out of the comfort of your own home to buy it).
- If you can’t avoid temptation, purchase individually packaged candies. This way you know how much your taking in (you will see the wrappers, versus sticking your hand into an entire bag full).