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Researchers from Princeton University have, by using modern-day scientific equipment, documented that sugar affects brain function the same way cocaine and heroin do.

The study they conducted looked at the sugar’s effect on the brains of rats. The study results indicate that a sugar binge alters brain function and fuels the desire for more of the sweet stuff. The alteration to brain function worked pretty much like the brain functions when addicted to cocaine and heroin with all the psychological and physical symptoms of withdrawals when sugar was denied.

First the sugar high appears with the feel-good rush drug addicts crave. This happens because of the release or increase of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in a particular part of the brain associated with addictive behaviors. The increase in dopamine creates a feeling of happiness.

When chocolate is denied, the withdrawal blues occurs. The withdrawal symptoms range from chattering teeth, anxiety, and desire for isolation to refusal to participate in everyday activities. These symptoms of sugar deprivation mimic closely withdrawal symptoms of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs deprivation.

There are people who can enjoy a cocktail or a cigarette without developing an addiction and also enjoy cinnamon rolls for breakfast every day without craving sugar for the rest of the day. On the other hand, there are people who cannot.

For these people who researchers refer to as sugar-holics, there are treatments available to help them kick their desire for sweets.

Director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Weill Cornell Medical Center advises eating protein and vegetables in the mornings to minimize cravings for sweets that may otherwise interfere with the activities for the rest of the day.

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I wonder if "sugar addiction" is the reason why sweet (and fatty) food is most often called "comfort food" in the western world. It occurs to me that preference for sugary food is culturally imprinted early in life, and is linked to the more sugary food that westerners were brought up to eat. Most of my Asian friends and associates who were brought up to eat rice and noodles do not have a sweet tooth. They certainly look a lot slimmer compared to their more plump and robust western counterparts. So adopting a more Asian diet (consisting of more protein and vegetables for breakfast) early in life may be a way to beat adult obesity.
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You have a great point. No doubt in my mind that if we replace the sugery snacks with healthy proteins & veggies, the diabetes rate would plunge also.
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