Food & Eating / Nutrition & Health / August 15, 2013

There Is Such a Thing Food Addiction

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Not That You Needed Confirmation, but There Is Such a Thing as
Did you ever feel as if you were just addicted to certain foods? Well, there’s a good chance that it’s true. According to research from Boston Children’s Hospital appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, substance abuse and eating high-glycemic foods may trigger the same brain mechanism tied to addiction.

Researchers had 12 overweight men consume milkshake meals, the only difference being that one group consumed rapidly digested (high-glycemic index) carbohydrates, and the other group consumed slowly digested (low-glycemic index) carbohydrates.

The researchers then measured “blood glucose levels and hunger, while also using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe brain activity during the crucial four-hour period after a meal, which influences eating behavior at the next meal.”

The results? “After participants consumed the high-glycemic index milkshake, they experienced an initial surge in blood sugar levels, followed by a sharp crash four hours later. This decrease in blood glucose was associated with excessive hunger and intense activation of the nucleus accumbens, a critical brain region involved in addictive behaviors.”

The authors of the study suggest that limiting high-glycemic index carbohydrates like white bread and potatoes could reduce overall urges.

Tags:  diet food addiction healthy eatingd

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