Sugary food can give you an unspeakable pleasure that can’t be described with words. In fact, according to research, sugar can provide a higher level of addiction than cocaine.
The majority of people know that glucose is a major source of energy for the body.
But what does your brain say? Is glucose an ideal source of energy for it.
Role of dopamine in sugary foods
“You are what you eat.” This is a phrase that gives the concept “If you want to live a healthy life, eat healthy food”. Obsessive-compulsive diets or diets that cause obesity can pose a threat to human health.
It is usually based on foods that are high in sugar and fat. Sugar or more precisely, glucose, is the body’s main source of energy.
In ancient times, our ancestors used fruits as staple food because they were readily available. Foods that are based on animal meat need to be hunted, so their consumption is not as frequent as fruits.
Fruits have high sugar content. This is why sweetness is a key indicator of whether or not the fruit is edible.
If the fruit is sour, then it is not suitable to eat as it may not yet be cooked or poisonous. To increase the probability of survival, the brain develops a reward system that promotes sugar intake as a source of energy.
This system is called the mesolimbic dopamine system. It secretes the hormone dopamine to increase the motivation of the individual to continue taking sugary foods.
Brain changes as a result of sugary foods
Looking at the functioning of the human brain today, the majority of scientists think that it is just like the functioning of the human brain.
We still have a tendency to consume sugary foods compared to others. Try changing your diet to a low-carb diet and high in fat or protein. You will experience symptoms of sugar withdrawal such as chills, headaches, emotional instability and craving for sweet foods.
Regular activation of the mesolimbic dopamine system causes brain adaptation to stimulation. This process is called neuroplasticity and if it involves eating sugars, we will start to feel uncomfortable when we consume the same amount of sugar.
To activate the system, we need to increase our sugar intake to get the same dopamine stimulation as before.
This is the beginning of the addiction process. Day after day, the amount of sugar needed to get the same stimulation increased.
But the use of the term “sugar addiction” has been a topic of debate among academics as we basically need foods containing glucose to survive.
Lack of ability to resist the temptation of sugary foods
It’s not easy to turn down an invitation to eat, especially if the food is sweet. This perception causes the early secretion of insulin to prepare the body to process sugars and thus increases one’s hunger.
However, your brain has a set of inhibitory neurons located in the prefrontal frontal lobe. This nerve allows you to make decisions and control your appetite. It stimulates the secretion of the hormone GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) which acts as a neurotransmitter.
But a study conducted by Amy C. Reichelt in 2015 found that high sugar intake could alter the nerves’ activity.
The rats were given sugars cannot control their behavior and make decisions as usual.
It lowers one’s ability to resist impulses that are considered bad like consuming too much sugar.
The findings of this study are in line with the study conducted in 2017. In the study, subjects who consumed high sugar and fat foods had a high level of craving even when they were not hungry.
This shows how often taking sugary foods can determine the individual’s level of addiction to sugary foods.
If you want to stop taking sugar, do so gradually. You will feel the effects of sugar withdrawal but it is temporary.
The situation is similar to those who began to adopt a low-carb diet. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming 5% daily sugar in 6 teaspoons.
Practicing a balanced diet and exercising regularly can improve the neuroplastic effects of the brain. If you feel the effects of sugar withdrawal are serious, consult your doctor for an examination and consultation.
13rd March 2020 12:01
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