July 10, 2013 @ 1:23 PM

by Cliff Smith

CookiesYou've probably heard this before, “Those cookies are addictive”.  A new study suggests that foods loaded with bad carbohydrates, like processed sugar, really are addictive.  Researchers found that foods high in sugar can produce the same responses in the brain as addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Dr. Mark Hyman, appearing on CBS This Morning, says that sugary foods like cupcakes, cookies, pies and candy trigger reward centers in the brain.  In the way that certain drugs light up
the addiction points in the brain, sugar does the exact same thing. 

A new groundbreaking Harvard study showed exactly how sugar lights up the addiction center of the brain.  They gave 12 overweight men a low sugar milkshake.  4 hours later, they measured the brain activity, blood sugar levels and hunger of these men.

►Watch the CBS interview with Dr. Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman on CBS

A few days after the low sugar milkshake, the Harvard researchers gave those same 12 men a high sugar milkshake. The shakes had exactly the same amount of calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates. They were made to taste exactly alike.  The big difference was in how much and how quickly the second shake spiked blood sugar.  The men did not know which milkshake they were getting, and while their taste buds could not detect the difference, their brains sure could.

After each milkshake, the men received a brain scan and blood tests for glucose and insulin.  The study revealed that, “Without exception, they all had the same response.  The high sugar or high glycemic index milkshake caused a spike in blood sugar and insulin and an increase in reported hunger and cravings four hours after the shake. This occurred even though each shake had exactly the same calories, sweetness, texture and nutrient content."

Writing in 5 Clues You Are Addicted to Sugar, Dr. Hyman reports, “This finding was not surprising and has been shown many times before.” However, the big breakthrough revealed that the high sugar shake lit up the addiction center in the brain, “…like a Christmas tree. This pattern occurred in every single participant and was statistically significant.”  

The other important part of this study showed that the high sugar milkshake caused the men to be hungrier and have more cravings than the low sugar milkshake.  Within 4 hours after consumption, the men had spikes in blood sugar, the brain’s addiction center was activated, and then came the big crash.  

One of the big problems with this addictive effect from sugar is that once it starts it’s hard to stop.  This is why we need to rethink how we let kids have access to sugary foods and drinks.  Dr. Hyman asks, “What if Kobe Bryant or LeBron James went on national television promoting the benefits of cocaine water to increase sports performance?”  The best approach is to eliminate these kinds of foods and drinks and only enjoy them as a rare treat rather than as a staple of the modern diet.

Calories aren’t the whole story

An important aspect of this study on the addictive effects of sugar notes that the kinds of calories people consume can make a big difference.  It’s not as much about the number of calories as it is about the quality of those calories.  Healthy calories come from vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds and beans while unhealthy calories are more likely to come from white flour, sugar and high starch foods.

How do you break the sugar addiction?

The way to break a sugar addiction is to consume the right things that satisfy hunger and cravings while balancing blood sugars.  Our whole food concentrate, NuPlus, has been mentioned in numerous books and articles as a great tool for relieving addictions.  The beneficial calories from NuPlus are instantly absorbed and put to use by the body for healthy regeneration of cells and tissues. 

►Read the Philosophy of Regeneration to turn your health around.

Read more:

Here’s the study:  Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men 

Low Carb Diet Tips - 5 Ways Sugar Addictions Ruin Health

Stevia - What Is Stevia and Why Do You  Need It?

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