Sugar, Alcohol, And Loneliness in Your Brain
The brain is the most important organ in our body. It is responsible for everything that makes us human — thinking, feeling, memories, and it controls and coordinates our survival as an organism. Because of its vast complexity, it is no surprise that scientists are continuously trying to learn new things about the brain.
Here are recent findings you should know about concerning the brain.
1. Sugar is The New Cocaine And it Alters Brain Chemistry After Only 12 Days
The brain uses more energy than any other organ in the human body and glucose is its primary source of fuel. But what happens when you exposed the brain to an excessive amount of sugar in your diet?
For a long time, scientists have debated whether sugar is addictive but a recent study has now confirmed that excess sugar in foods produces drug-like effects in the reward center of the brain. And this can manifest as quickly as 12 days.
The research was carried out using a particular species of pigs known as Göttingen minipigs. For 1 hour each day for 12 straight days, the pigs had access to the sugar solution. Before and after the 12-day sugar intervention, researchers used a PET imaging technique that measured dopamine and opioid activity. They also scanned five of the pigs’ brains after their first sugar intake.
The reason researchers focused on the dopamine and opioid systems is that both play key roles in the brain’s pleasure-seeking behavior and addiction.
One of the researchers, Michael Winterdahl, explains:
“After just 12 days of sugar intake, we could see major changes in the brain’s dopamine and opioid systems. In fact, the opioid system, which is that part of the brain’s chemistry that is associated with well-being and pleasure, was already activated after the very first intake.”
This research may have been performed on animals, but scientists describe sugar remains the most consumed addictive substance around the world.