Sugar addiction has long been joked about. Most researchers, however, believed you could not get hooked on sweets and lose control over consuming them, as if they were drugs. Now studies compiled over the years are making some scientists revisit the idea. The results do not indicate that sugar is in the same category as addictive drugs like heroin, alcohol or nicotine. They do suggest that some brain actions and characteristics associated with the intake of sweets and drug addiction may overlap.
It’s one addiction that may be more deceptive as it won’t land you in court or an inpatient rehab.
Researchers studying bingeing and dependency in rats have found that when the animals ingest large amounts of sugar, their brains undergo changes similar to the changes in the brains of people who abuse illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Some people experience powerful cravings for sweets – internal messages telling them to eat sugar even though they know it’s bad for them. These people get strong urges to consume sweets, and these cravings border on addiction. When they eat sugar, just like when someone ingests cocaine, some people get that feeling of well-being, a rush that makes them feel good for a period of time. When the sweets are taken away, the people just don’t feel right.
Studies that focused on brain chemicals, known as opioids, provided some of the first clues that an overlap may exist between sweets and drugs. Some addictive drugs like heroin or morphine activate the opioid system to produce a pleasurable response that many believe helps fuel a longing for more drugs and is key to the addiction process. In one study, compounds that blocked the activity of opioids made animals less interested in eating meals, particularly sweetened versions. Researchers found similar results in tests of humans.
Just as not everyone has the tendency to become an alcoholic or a drug addict, so not everyone is hard wired to be a sugar-holic, the study reveals. And there is certainly effective treatment for a sweet addiction.
Source : wikiepedia