Addictive Quality of Foods Enriched With Refined Sugars

An interesting and increasingly discussed question is whether certain foods and/or macronutrients (carbohydrates) are addictive. Paralleling the increased rise of obesity since the 1970's is the increased use of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and increased amounts of refined sugars in our foods, so whether this occurrence is an association or a cause is the subject of heated debate. 1Nhat research studies have found about 'food addiction' suggests that there are specific reward centers in the brains of individuals who are obese that respond differently to refined sugar carbohydrates. Functional MRI studies show these neuron centers of dopamine and opioid receptors are stimulated more intensely by seeing high carbohydrate snack foods and need larger amounts of carbohydrates to be tuned off and then are only turned off more slowly. This suggests some individuals have an increased specific desire, a craving, for carbohydrates in the form of refined sugar to quench not only a want but a need. Food companies are well aware of this fact and make snack foods so 'addictively good' some individuals are unable to resist their siren like call. Whether these facts cause obesity is far from clear, but if carbohydrates foods are not addictive, then perhaps they are 'addictive-like'.

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