Food Addiction and Stress Eating Mechanism Identified
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards,
By experimenting with mice that were bred to have no sweet taste1 ability, a direct link of food intake to pleasure has been identified for the first time. This mechanism is important because it links food acquisition directly to addictive or stress-related eating “solutions.”
The researchers found that sugar could activate the pleasure center in the brain even though the mice could not taste it. They demonstrated the activation of dopamine, which is the reward aspect of eating – an important survival mechanism. However, all addictive patterns use this same brain circuitry to stop the feeling of emotional pain or a tired head (uncomfortable head sensations).
A direct path to understanding why individuals eat in response to stress has been proven. What is new here is that individuals may eat anything in response to stress, simply to feel pleasure – even though the food does not taste good. Such an addictive reward system will lead to over consumption of calories, and then obesity. Obesity, in turn, causes more inflammation to the brain resulting in more “brain pain” and further eating to stop the feeling. It is a vicious circle.
It also explains why some people will eat junky food in excess even though it does not taste very good. The researchers were alarmed by the amount of high fructose corn syrup their non-sweet-tasting mice wanted to consume. Another reason why high fructose corn syrup should be banned from the food supply.
It is vital for any individual seeking to manage their weight to stay on top of cravings and not succumb to an undesirable consumption of excess calories. Products like Pine Nut Oil and LeptiSlim are two of my favorite supplements for this purpose.
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