There are many ridiculous myths in nutrition.
The idea that losing weight is all about and willpower is one of the worst.
The truth is… sugar and highly processed junk foods can be addictive, just like drugs.
Not only are the behavioral symptoms the same, but the biology also happens to agree.
Here are 10 disturbing similarities between sugar, junk food and abusive drugs.
Our brains are hardwired to want to perform certain behaviors.
Mostly, these are behaviors that are important for our survival… such as eating.
We interpret this dopamine signal as “pleasure” and the programming in our brain changes to make us want to perform that behavior again.
This is one of the ways the brain evolved to help us navigate through our natural environment, motivating us to do things that helped our species survive.
This is actually a good thing… without dopamine, life would be miserable.
But the problem is that some modern things can function as they flood our brains with dopamine, way more than we were ever exposed to throughout evolution.
This can lead to these brain pathways being “hijacked” by the intense dopamine signal.
A great example of this is the drug cocaine… when people take it, it floods the brain with dopamine, and the brain changes its programming to want to take cocaine again, and again, and again
The dopamine pathways that are supposed to guide people towards survival have now been taken over by the new stimulus, which releases more dopamine and is a much stronger behavioral reinforcer than anything in the natural environment
But here’s where it gets really interesting… sugar and highly processed junk foods can have drugs of abuse
They also function as “superstimuli” – they flood the brain with much more dopamine than we would get by eating real food, like an apple or an
Numerous studies have shown this to be true. Junk foods and sugar flood the reward system with dopamine, particularly a brain area called the Nucleus accumbens,
which is strongly implicated in addiction
Sugar also has some effects on opioid pathways within the brain, the same system manipulated by drugs like heroin and morphine This is why highly processed, sugar-laden foods can make (some) people lose control over their consumption. They hijack the same brain pathways as drugs of abuse.