Addicted to sugar? Sure, people joke about it all the time.
But then again, what is addiction?
A story on NPR today takes the topic seriously, as excerpted here: “Fresh research adds weight to the notion that certain foods (think empty carbs like bagels and sweet treats) can lead to more intense hunger and overeating. Fast-digesting carbohydrates can stimulate regions of the brain involved in cravings and addiction, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Prior studies have shown that highly desirable foods, perhaps a cheesecake or pie, can trigger pleasure centers in the brain. But what’s new about this research is that it shows that even when people are unaware of what they’re eating, the intake of fast-digesting carbs can activate parts of the brain associated with pleasure, reward and addiction.To evaluate this, Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity prevention center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and his colleagues conducted brain scans in 12 overweight men after they consumed two different kinds of test milkshakes.Both milkshakes had the same number of calories and similar ingredients, but one contained more fast-digesting carbs and the other was made of slower-digesting carbohydrates. The concept here is that so-called high-glycemic index foods such as sugar and highly processed breads move through the body faster than low-glycemic index foods such as fruit and whole grains. Continue reading “And now, carb addiction”