Not sure they needed to do brain scans to prove that seeing images of sugary treats makes us want them. Never-the-less the scientists did and they showed just how much we love our desserts and what power they hold over us.
According to Linda Carroll at MSNBC.com, the researchers had women look at images of sugary treats like cookies, cupcakes, and cake while being scanned. The brain scans showed that the regions of the brain that deal with hunger and reward lit up. This study had very similar findings as a previous study involving cocaine addicts. When the addicts were shown images of drug needles the same portion of the brain lit up. Wow, sugar and cocaine pack some serious power in our bodies. All of these findings were discussed at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. Read Full Post >
When it comes to being healthy, there are a lot of factors involved. Diet and fitness are just two of the key pieces that make up a healthy lifestyle, with finding a healthy balance between enjoying life and practicing healthy habits making up the third.
For some, that last, seemingly simple ingredient can be the most difficult to achieve as temptation to go overboard in extreme dieting and fitness routines can become too much to overpower, leaving some addicted to exercise or struggling with disordered eating.
Last year we found, and republished, an interesting graphic that pondered a curious question –which is worse, soda or marijuana? A side-by-side comparison of the two pits the processed against the natural, the legal versus the illegal. While we could debate the pros and cons of each all day long, to the pleasure center of the brain, they are one in the same.
A fascinating piece aired on CBS’ 60 Minutes tonight with the foremost researcher on addiction, Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2007, she was named by Time Magazine as one “of the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” Tonight’s Hooked: Why Bad Habits are Hard to Break explained the chemistry behind addiction and showed that whether it’s a hamburger or heroine, soda or marijuana, our brain sees them exactly the same – as triggers for a rush of dopamine.
Morley Safer reported and described Dr. Volkow as the woman who has “revolutionized how science and medicine view addiction: as a disease, not a character defect.” She told him that the “Just Say No” campaign is just “magic of thinking.”
“If it were that easy…there’d be no obesity,” or other physical signs of addiction. In other words, addiction stems from deep within the pleasure center of our brains, and all the willpower, support, and motivation in the world can’t always turn it off.
Please say the following out loud: “Hello my name is ________ (fill in your name), and I am an addict.”
Congratulations, you’ve done it! Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery. And you are a junkie to something far more deadly than drinking or even cigarettes.
Here are some clues:
It’s most common form is as a white powder.
In the 1300s it was recognized as a potent drug and handled under lock and key by apothecaries.
It’s original name, bestowed by the French, was crack.
You guessed it. Sugar. Sugar is the crack of the masses. I learned this from famous psychotherapist Julia Ross at the 2011 Nutrition Conference held by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sugar as a drug? Yes. And not just that, it is a high calorie drug. (A double whammy.) Read Full Post >
I have often joked that I am addicted to diet soda. I turn to the tasty beverage to get me through my work day and then have another one after work each day. It tastes good, has no calories, and gives me a little caffeine rush that I have come to depend on to get through my busy days. While diet soda isn’t healthy in the least, when I compare myself to Darren Jones, a 38-year man from the United Kingdom, I have nothing to worry about.
Jones drinks 42 liters of Diet Coke every week, and in an effort to help himself kick the habit, he wants to check himself into rehab. He spends £100 each week on his habit, and it is damaging both his own life and his relationship with his wife.
“I believe what I have is an actual addiction and I start to worry if I’m getting near the end of the bottle,” Jones said. “If I can’t get in touch with [my wife] Paula to get me some more I start to panic – it’s like a drug or alcohol addiction.”
Jones started drinking soda when he was 13-years old and worked in a local market. Since then, his habit has evolved into drinking the equivalent of 18 cans of soda every day for the past 10 years. He used to drink regular Coke but changed to diet when he started to gain weight.