Sugar addiction

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Sugar addiction[dubious ] is the term for the relationship between sugar and the various aspects of food addiction including: "bingeing, withdrawal, craving and cross-sensitization". Some scientists assert that consumption of sweets or sugar could[weasel words] have a heroin addiction like effect.[1][non-primary source needed]


A 1987 study showed sugar acted as an analgesic drug whose effects could be blocked by a morphine blocker.[2] In her 1998 book, author Kathleen DesMaisons outlined the concept of sugar addiction as a measurable [3][page needed][unreliable medical source]

In 2002 research at Princeton began showing the neurochemical effects of sugar, noting that sugar might[weasel words] serve as a gateway drug for other drugs.[1][non-primary source needed] The research group fed chow to the rats as well as a 25% sugar solution similar to the sugar concentration of soft drinks. After one month the rats became "dependent" on the sugar solution, ate less chow and increased their intake of the sugary drink to 200%.[4] The sugar industry asserts that similar effects have been reported for rats given solutions that tasted sweet, but contained no calories.[citation needed] However, some scientists say that caloric value may not be the issue. Researchers say that sugar and the taste of sweet is said to stimulate the brain by activating beta endorphin receptor sites, the same chemicals activated in the brain by the ingestion of heroin and morphine.[5]

In 2003, a report commissioned by two U.N. agencies at the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization was compiled by a panel of 30 international experts. It recommended that sugar not account for more than 10% of a person's diet.[6] However, the U.S. Sugar Association asserted that other evidence indicates that a quarter of our food and drink intake can safely consist of sugar.[citation needed]

Finally, a 2008 study noted that sugar affects opioids and dopamine in the brain, and thus might[weasel words] be expected to have addictive potential. It referenced" bingeing, withdrawal, craving and cross-sensitization", and gave each of them operational definitions in order to demonstrate behaviorally that sugar bingeing is a reinforcer. These behaviors were said to be related to neurochemical changes in the brain that also occur during addiction to drugs. Neural adaptations included changes in dopamine and opioid receptor binding, enkephalin mRNA expression and dopamine and acetylcholine release in the nucleus accumbens.[1][7][8][non-primary medical source needed]

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  1. ^ a b c Avena, Nicole M.; Rada, Pedro and Hoebel, Bartley G. "Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake". Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2008;32(1):20-39. Epub 2007 May 18.
  2. ^ Blass, E., E. Fitzgerald, and P. Kehoe, Interactions between sucrose, pain and isolation distress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 1987. 26(3): p. 483-9.
  3. ^ DesMaisons, Kathleen (1998). Potatoes Not Prozac. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1-4165-5615-X. 
  4. ^ Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter.New York:OCT 2002. Vol.20, Iss. 8; Pg.1,3 pgs. [1]
  5. ^ Yamamoto, Takashi (May 2003). "Brain mechanisms of sweetness and palatability of sugars". Nutrition Reviews 61 (Supplement S5): S5–S9. PMID 12828186. 
  6. ^ World Health Organization, 3 March 2003, WHO/FAO release independent Expert Report on diet and chronic disease. Accessed 2012-08-02.
  7. ^ MacPherson, Kitta “Sugar can be addictive, Princeton scientist says”. News at Princeton, Current Stories, 10 December 2008.
  8. ^ Cox, David “Students: just say no to sugar”. Theguardian - News - Education- Students - Blogging students, 18 March 2013.

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