There are always those naysayers who insist that sugar — or any type of food, for that matter — isn’t truly addictive. And, therefore, obesity can’t be the byproduct of an addictive behavior either.
It’s time for those naysayers to change their tune, because an ever-growing mountain of evidence suggests otherwise. It shows that sugar does in fact rewire the brain — and not in a good way…
These studies have shown that eating too much sugar destroys vital brain connections involved in the exercise of willpower. And that it actually uses the very same pathways as tobacco, alcohol, and other addictive drugs to keep you hooked.
This is no surprise when you think about it. Our brains use up half of the sugar we eat (whether it’s table sugar or from carbs and fruit). That’s why cravings often hit around 3 or 4 pm during the post-lunch slump.
When your brain gets hungry, it activates the mesolimbic dopamine pathway — a reward system responsible for the “feel-good” sensation you get from certain activities. This floods your brain with dopamine, which pulls you to the nearest candy bar or cookie. And once you give in, you’re rewarded with a shot of pleasure chemicals — ensuring that whatever poison you picked tastes a lot more amazing than it really is.
The trouble is that, just like any activity that uses these reward pathways, you’ll eventually need more to get the same “high.” So feeding this irresistible temptation only sets you on a path to metabolic disaster.
And when I say sugar is irresistible, I’m not even being especially hyperbolic. Sure, we all like to think we can control our cravings with willpower. And you can — but it’s a bigger and more complicated challenge than most people think.
Here’s why: High-sugar diets reduce the inhibitions of neurons in your brain’s pre-frontal cortex. That’s the part of your brain that makes decisions — so it’s not hard to imagine the effect this might have on behavior and impulse control. In theory, at least, it renders you virtually powerless against temptation — a vicious and self-perpetuating cycle.
If these aren’t the hallmarks of addiction, I don’t know what is. So it should come as no surprise to hear that Australian researchers have identified the exact circuits to which alcohol and nicotine bind. And they found that sugar influences these circuits and changes the brain in the exact same way.
In fact, their experiments showed that mice who received medication for nicotine addiction stopped eating as much sugar, too.
If that’s not bad enough, studies also suggest that excess sugar intake can lead to dramatic cognitive decline. Research shows that the inflammation it triggers attacks the hippocampus — your brain’s memory hub. And that it impedes the release of neurochemicals key to memory formation.
Granted, these studies — a lot of them — used rodents as subjects. And you know my reservations about that. But if even half of these findings are applicable to humans, it’s clear that excessive sugar consumption is changing us at a very fundamental — and dangerous — level.
Given the evidence, we can’t really afford not to follow up on these leads. Unfortunately, though, we’ll probably have to convince some generous billionaire to join the cause and foot the bill for some more extensive human research.
Because so far, the only thing either industry or government have been good for is making us sick and fat by enabling our national sugar addiction. And then blaming private citizens for the resulting diabesity epidemic, instead of assuming their half of the responsibility.
I’ll say it again since no one else wants to: Sugar kills. It kills your willpower. It kills your waistline. It kills your brain. It kills you. And while it may not be your fault that you’re hooked, you are the only one who can break the cycle once and for all.
It’s not easy, but it’s simple — and I’m living proof that it can be done. In fact, I devoted an entire feature to the subject (“The sinister truth behind America’s obesity crisis”) just a few years back in the January 2014 issue of my newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. Where I outlined my complete protocol for getting this monkey off your back once and for all.
Subscribers have access to that issue, and everything else I’ve written, in my archives. So if you haven’t signed up yet, there’s no day like today to get on board.