Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fatty Foods and Sugar Addictive Like Cocaine

An article at Bloomberg.com reports:

"Cupcakes may be addictive, just like cocaine.

A growing body of medical research at leading universities and government laboratories suggests that processed foods and sugary drinks made by the likes of PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) aren’t simply unhealthy. They can hijack the brain in ways that resemble addictions to cocaine, nicotine and other drugs.

“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”
"Lab studies have found sugary drinks and fatty foods can produce addictive behavior in animals. Brain scans of obese people and compulsive eaters, meanwhile, reveal disturbances in brain reward circuits similar to those experienced by drug abusers."
To repeat, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse believes that  "The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it."  Read more here.

It seems science has discovered a few new things about how food affects us since the early 20th century when German scientists believed, incorrectly, that insulin made people fat.

Read Stephan Guyenet's series about food reward starting here.

4 comments:

FredT said...

"It seems science has discovered a few new things about how food affects us since the early 20th century when German scientists believed, incorrectly, that insulin made people fat."

I think you are missing leading on two items.
1. Insulin is the hormone that control glucose and fat and allows us to eat again, before we have burned the last intake of food.
2. There is more than one system involved; hence there can be more than one cause of obesity, likely addiction, plus reward plus internal starvation aka insulin resistance plus chemical induced craving plus mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Any one is sufficient to cause obesity in an individual.

Don said...

FredT,

1. I suggest you read James Krieger's series on insulin, if you still believe that insulin controls glucose and fat. You can get to the series by clicking on the word/link "incorrectly" in the sentence you quoted from my blog.

2. Few medical researchers believe that insulin resistance can cause obesity; on the contrary insulin resistance is probably a result of an excess accumulation of fatty acids in the mitochondria.

3. You separated addiction and reward, but addiction results from a substance's effect on reward centers of the brain.

Daniel said...

"...on the contrary insulin resistance is probably a result of an excess accumulation of fatty acids in the mitochondria."

That is very interesting. Do you think this is an acute or cumulative effect? I.e. insulin resistance from a single high fat meal, vs. long time high-fat eating? Although I suppose the real damage done would be from the latter?



I'm a recovering 2-year carbophobe- I was convinced every time I ate even a modest amount of starchy carbs I would get bad acne spots (which it did). But I am now beginning to see my extremely high fat intakes were destroying my body's gluco-regulation, hence the horrible reactions.

Over the last couple weeks I have been slashing the fat in my diet and allowing myself to eat more potatoes/sweets and even some properly prepared aduki and pinto beans cooked with kombu, still plenty of protein, a couple eggs/day. And strangely enough, my skin looks fantastic (even been eating a bit of low fat organic yogurt which used to be a death sentence). I have zero issues with weight BTW.

Don said...

Daniel,

I think it is both acute and of course chronic.

Very interesting experience you have in process.