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Archive for November, 2008

I’ve long said that I am a sugar addict. The reason for so saying is my complete inability to eat intense sweets in moderation. I can let a little super sweet treat creep into my diet, and then, more creep in. And more and more. At a certain point, I start thinking obsessively about where my next sweet is coming from, and how long I have to wait before ingesting it. That’s when I know I’ve gone over the edge. Recently some research added  credence to my assertion of sugar addiction. As reported in Scientific American Mind, April/May 2008, graduate student Magalie Lenoir and colleagues at the University of Bordeaux in France compared the attraction of rats to IV administration of cocaine (the rats were experienced “users” in self-administration) and highly sweetened water. Overwhelmingly the rats chose the sweet beverage over cocaine! Neurological research has shown that drugs and food activate similar reward pathways in the brain, and other behavioral research has showen that rats can become dependent on sugar, “exhibiting typical symptoms of addiction, including craving and both behavior and neurochemical signs of withdrawal”. Rats like me! And maybe like you or someone you know? A caveat on the sweet-preference research is that rats might not addict to cocaine, but still…. I think they’re on the right track.

 

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