Kids On Sugar Linked To Future Alcohol Addiction
Sugar-holism is not so different than alcoholism. They have more in common than you think. In fact many people who can’t handle sugar cravings, later in life develop similar attraction to alcohol. No wonder why 1 in 5 people in Ireland have drinking problems, as it was highlighted by media in recent years.
“Our evidence from an animal model suggests that bingeing on sugar can act in the brain in ways very similar to drugs of abuse,” [said] lead researcher Bart Hoebel, a professor of psychology at Princeton University
“Drinking large amounts of sugar water (sweetened drinks) when hungry can cause behavioral changes and even neurochemical changes in the brain which resemble changes that are produced when animals or people take substances of abuse. These animals show signs of withdrawal and even long-lasting effects that might resemble craving,” . . .
A “sugar addiction” may even act as a “gateway” to later abuse of drugs such as alcohol . . .
For the new research, rats were denied food for 12 hours a day, then were given access to food and sugar (25 percent glucose and 10 percent sucrose, similar to a soft drink) for 12 hours a day, for three to four weeks.
The bingeing released a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine each time in the part of the brain involved in reward, the nucleus accumbens. “It’s been known that drugs of abuse release or increase the levels of dopamine in that part of the brain” .
But it wasn’t only the sugar that caused this effect, – it was the sugar combined with the alternating schedule of deprivation and largesse. After three weeks, the rats showed signs of withdrawal similar to those seen when people stop smoking or drinking alcohol or using morphine.
The scientists next blocked the animals’ brain endorphins and found withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, behavioral depression and a drop in dopamine levels. In other words, they confirmed a neurochemical link with the rats’ behavior.
But longer periods of abstinence didn’t “cure” the rats. Instead, there were long-lasting effects with the animals: They ingested more sugar than before, as if they were craving the substance and, without sugar, they drank more alcohol.
P.S.: We are also aware that the same receptors in the brain, which are involved in sugar addiction, are also involved in heroin or cocaine addiction. Did you know this?!
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